- the website for adults with spinal deformity
The website for adults with spinal deformity
Scoliosis is a 3-D deformity of the spine and in adults can cause considerable problems. It can either be carried over from childhood or develop de novo as a result of degenerative changes in the spine leading to deformity. Adult de novo scoliosis is increasingly prevalent in an ageing population, developing in the 6th decade of life and probably affecting more than 30% of patients over 70 years.
Childhood scoliosis that progresses into adulthood because of inadequate or no treatment is not necessarily a benign condition and may lead to many significant problems with pain both in the back or lower limbs. This can be disabling as early as the 4th decade of life. Besides pain the cosmetic impact should not be underestimated in the young adult, whereas in the elderly - where de novo degenerative scoliosis predominates, cosmesis is less important. In the older population, spinal deformity may cause nerve compression leading to severe leg pain as well as back pain. The sources of pain are multi-factorial but a failure to recognise deformity associated with nerve compression may lead to poor results of treatment or even lead to further problems as a result of treatment and therefore recognition is mandatory.