After years of scoliosis treatment, 16-year-old Rachel Rabkin Peachman’s curves had stabilized and her spine had fully grown. At 45 degrees, she had narrowly escaped surgery. Her doctor told her she was done.
But she wasn’t.
“I’ve discovered in the years since that scoliosis is not something you endure and outgrow, like pimples and puberty. Now, at the ripe age of 38, I find myself with a 55-degree upper curve, a 33-degree lower curve, consistent pain — and no standard treatment to follow.”
She is not the only adult scoliosis patient left in pain. As many as 6 million adults live with scoliosis in the United States alone, whether idiopathic or developed during adulthood (and that is a conservative estimate). Nearly three in four experience pain as a result, while 23 percent describe their pain levels as horrible, excruciating, or distressing.
“A misshapen body is the least serious consequence of scoliosis,” says Jane Brody, who was diagnosed with scoliosis after her son pointed out that one hip was higher than the other. “It can result in disabling pain in the buttocks, back or legs, and neuropathy, a disruption of feeling and function when a spinal nerve is compressed between vertebrae.”
Many feel let down by conventional treatments. As the majority of doctors continue to adhere to outdated treatment methods, painkillers and surgery are often presented as the only options. But that isn’t the case. Better treatments, guided by emerging research, are helping adult scoliosis patients achieve significant pain reduction without resorting to drugs or surgery.
Types of Adult Scoliosis Pain
Scoliosis usually isn’t painful, particularly in childhood. Even when patients do experience pain, it is often not caused by the curve itself but by secondary issues, such as spinal degeneration. Adults with idiopathic scoliosis tend to have more symptoms than teens because the degeneration in their discs and joints causes spinal sac and nerve openings to narrow.
There are several types of adult scoliosis pain, including:
As patients with adult scoliosis age, they often develop arthritis in the spine, known as spondylosis. It is especially common in those whose condition has gone untreated. “The joints become inflamed, the cartilage that cushions the disks may thin, and bone spurs may develop,” says the New York Times. “If the disk degenerates or the curvature progresses to the point that the spinal vertebrae begin pressing on the nerves, pain can be very severe.”
Symptoms of joint inflammation include:
- Activity-related pain that gradually gets worse
- Intense pain first thing in the morning, as well as later in the day
- Pain in the legs when standing or walking
This type of back pain stems from abnormal stress on the muscles surrounding the spine. Poor posture is often the culprit. Many patients with scoliosis lean forward a lot, either because their spine has lost its natural curve or in the attempt to relieve pressure on affected nerves.
Symptoms of mechanical pain include:
- Low back pain and stiffness
- Numbness, cramping, and shooting pain in the legs
- Fatigue from strain on lower back and leg muscles
Adult scoliosis pain can also arise when nerves become compressed.
“A combination of the degeneration of the spine and scoliosis deformity may cause pressure on nerves and possibly even the entire spinal cord.”
This can lead to symptoms in the lower extremities, such as:
- Loss of coordination
3 Strategies for Scoliosis Pain Management
Adults with spinal curves have far more options for scoliosis pain management than many realize.
In fact, the most effective treatment plans tackle the problem from multiple angles.
Our doctors recommend the following ScoliSMART treatments for adults with scoliosis pain:
Exercise is the key to any scoliosis pain management plan. Strengthening core muscles is essential for improving posture and preventing further degeneration. Stretching helps combat stiffness and maintain flexibility. Work with your doctor to develop an exercise program that is customized to fit your needs.
Stretches, Exercises & Yoga to Relieve Adult Scoliosis Pain
Herbal Pain Relief
Working out may sound impossible to an adult living with scoliosis pain, but taking the right dietary supplements can help ease the symptoms, making exercise less difficult. For example, four in 10 patients with scoliosis experience long-lasting pain relief when taking curcumin. Our ScoliPAIN plus supplement provides 6-8 hours of pain relief with time-released curcumin.
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Another option that works for some patients is CBD oil.
ScoliSMART™ Activity Suit
The ScoliSMART™ Activity Suit is a completely non-invasive treatment option for adult scoliosis that doesn’t just relieve symptoms – it corrects the underlying problem of spinal curvature.
Whether you are performing specific scoliosis exercises or simply going about your daily activities, wearing the ScoliSMART™ Activity Suit helps improve communication between the brain and muscles surrounding the spine, naturally correcting postural imbalances. Scientific research has found that eight in 10 adults who wear the suit for 4-6 hours a day enjoy significant pain relief — not to mention a 6-degree curve reduction.
The Time to Act Is Now
If you have spent years helplessly watching your curves — and pain levels — get worse, there is still hope. Surgery and painkillers are not your only options!