Scoliosis in Adults:
Degenerative and Idiopathic Causes & Treatments


Dr. Aatif Siddiqui


January 12, 2023

Chronic pain and limited function are two common signs of scoliosis in adults. You may have chronic back, neck, or hip pain and not realize it’s caused by degenerative scoliosis. It turns out that patients with adult scoliosis are much more prevalent than we thought.

Research Finds that Degenerative Scoliosis (Spine Curves) is Very Common

Idiopathic scoliosis, which means an abnormal curvature with an unknown cause, peaks in adolescence while kids are growing. The condition can advance rapidly during puberty. It’s a myth that scoliosis doesn’t progress in your adult years. Scoliosis progression is milder after your spine is developed — 1 to 3 degrees a year — yet that progression can add up over a couple of decades. All too often, this pattern leads to invasive treatment options like a brace, injections, or surgical treatment in an effort to reduce pain and discomfort while increasing their quality of life. 

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If you don’t have adolescent scoliosis, you may still be one of many adult scoliosis patients suffering from degenerative or de novo spinal curve. A 2005 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine says 68 percent of people older than 60 years old show signs of degenerative scoliosis. These results are startling because the physical therapy community previously thought only about 30 percent of adults experience adulthood curvature of the spine. Even 30 percent is much higher than the 3-5 percent of adolescents who get the condition. Get tips for living your best life with scoliosis

Most MD’s only consider scoliosis as a spinal deformity. Unfortunately, many adults living with scoliosis experience many symptoms of adult scoliosis related to the condition.

  • Chronic back pain from arthritis
  • Shortness of breath
  • Limited range of motion
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Poor self/body image
  • Pelvis or Leg pain

How is adult scoliosis diagnosed?

Many degenerative scoliosis cases are discovered during routine check x-rays or the result of a back pain diagnosis. Some adult patients with scoliosis have known since their original diagnosis by a MD as teenagers. But, it comes as a shock to many adults in their late 50’s or 60’s to learn they have a spine curvature. Options for adult scoliosis are often limited to bracing, injections, or spinal fusion surgery with metal rods. Physical therapist may attempt conservative treatment with spinal decompression to reduce the severity of stenosis involving the spinal cord. Unfortunately, spine surgery may still be necessary in rare cases.

The secrets to aging well with scoliosis

There is no “fountain of youth”, but there are tips and tricks you can use to live your best life with scoliosis.

Stay active and focus on core strength with the adult Scoliosis BootCamp program

Scoliosis Bootcamp

To learn more about how to treat the whole scoliosis condition and not only the curve, connect with our passionate providers at ScoliSMART. To explore a non-brace/ non-surgical treatment for your child’s scoliosis problem, you may schedule a no-cost Zoom or phone consultation with a ScoliSMART doctor. Please get in touch with us today!

Declining Bone Density Causes Adult Scoliosis

Declining bone density is a major factor in adult scoliosis. It’s essential that you find out why your bone density is decreasing if you have scoliosis. Menopause can lead to bone mineral loss which causes the spine to deteriorate rapidly. Bone density loss isn’t only a women’s issue, though. It may start earlier in women because of menopause, but studies show that by age 70, you lose bone density at the same rate regardless of gender. Millions of men have osteoporosis. 

This loss of bone density combined with poor postural habits creates scoliosis curvature. Often in areas of more compression. Maintaining good bone density is directly related to keeping good hormone balance. You may also need nutrient therapies to maintain healthy bone density levels.  

As we age, bone density decreases. This is particularly noticeable in scoliosis patients. It can lead to further progression of scoliosis, which can result in chronic pain and decreased mobility. 

The all-natural bone health supplement “STRENGTH” works to build up lost bone matrix and strengthen the bone. It is a vital part of a comprehensive treatment approach to scoliosis correction. Some patients even use this product before spinal surgeries to help ensure a proper bone graft.

  • Note, as we get older stomachs produce less stomach acid. This condition, called hypochlorhydria, prevents the absorption of many needed bone density nutrients. Vitamin C on a daily basis is also recommended to increase absorption.

Maintaining normal hormone balance before, during, and after menopause

Many idiopathic scoliosis patients are unaware of the link between: hormone balance, bone health, and degenerative scoliosis. Hormone levels begin to decline as we get older. But, maintaining normal progesterone to estrogen balance is an important part of good bone health. Loss of this hormone balance and bone health has a direct effect on adult scoliosis worsening. 

 Non-drug nutrient therapies are highly effective for maintaining or re-balancing hormone levels. Often guided by saliva based scoliosis hormone testing. This approach has the added benefits of reducing the hot flashes and other symptoms related to menopause as well.

Scoliosis genetic variants affect you at every stage of life.

ScoliSMART’s research has identified 28 genetic deficiencies correlated with idiopathic scoliosis. These genetic defects are likely the cause of the scoliosis condition. They also affect scoliosis patients through every stage of their lives. DNA testing can identify which specific genetic variants a patient has and provide the exact nutrient therapy recommendations to reduce the negative effects. 

Often, without this critical information, efforts to improve hormone balance and bone health are less effective.

Staying active as you age

Every doctor in the world recommends adults remain active as they grow older to avoid surgical procedures and complications. This is also true of adults living with scoliosis. Low impact activities that improve core stability through physical therapy are most ideal. Thousands of older adults with scoliosis have found using the ScoliSMART Activity Suit does both! The activity suit for scoliosis uses the normal walking motion to create a de-rotation effect on the scoliosis curvature. Adults with scoliosis find pain relief by wearing the ScoliSMART Activity Suit as little as 20 minutes per day while on a daily stroll. If you are walking, it is working! Its like an “at home, do-it-yourself” scoliosis treatment program.

Online consultation scheduling is available!

Don’t know where to start?  Click Here to Take our FREE “ScoliQuiz.”  (No x-ray required)

ScoliSMART Clinics is committed to treating the WHOLE scoliosis condition, not only the curve. Genetic & clinical testing with targeted nutrient therapies, expert in-office treatment programs, and the world’s only ScoliSMART Activity Suit provides patients of all ages with the most comprehensive, most effective, and least invasive treatment options available worldwide.