- back pain, nerve pain, imbalance, loss of independence, cosmetic, psychological, lifelstyle

Spinal deformity can be painful - especially in the adult. Pain can come from the spine itself or from nerve compression. Deformity is usually worse on sitting or standing as gravity acts on the spine. Nerve pain can be very severe and failure of a clinician to recognise the presence of co-existent deformity before opertaing on the spine for nerve compression may lead to inferior outcomes.

One aim of the spine is to position the head above the pelvis. In adult deformity, this may be compromised (imbalance) but  the body tries to compensate using the pelvis and lower limbs. The loss of the usual side-on contour of the spine (sagittal imbalance) is particularly problematic in adult deformity. In the more elderly patients any or a combination of these symptoms may leed to a critical loss of independence. In the younger adult this may have other implications regarding employment and family life.

The good news is that in many, with appropriate expertise and decision making, there is a treatment that can help and improve quality of life.