Degenerative Scoliosis and Elders: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Posted: 6/8/2016 8:01 AM by Interim HealthCare
Degenerative scoliosis, also known as adult scoliosis, occurs when there is a side-to-side curve of the spine, which creates a “C” shape. It is located in the lumbar spine and commonly occurs among those adults who are over the age of 65. This condition can be painful for many seniors, making it a challenge to go about their day as they usually would. In these cases, hiring an elder care aid would be the best solution. These caregivers would be able to assist your loved one with everyday chores and tasks that have become too painful to do themselves.

If you fear your loved one may have degenerative scoliosis, here is some information on the condition to take into consideration.

This condition occurs when the facet joints gradually begin to deteriorate. The pressure of these deteriorating joints causes the spine to be straight. However, a gradual shift will take place, shifting the spine in order to curve on one side.

Pain may be present in some people due to the deteriorated facet joints. Other symptoms that may occur include:
  • Gradual pain. Back pain may start off as very mild and gradually get worse. It is often made worse through an activity.
  • Pain is worse in the morning and at night. As soon as the elder wakes up, the pain may be at its worse, but will feel better as he begins to walk around. That relief is often short-lived because the pain comes back later in the day.
  • Prefers to sit instead of stand or walk. The senior may feel the most pressure on their facet joints when standing. The stress and weight is released from the joints when in a sitting position.
  • Pain in one or both legs when standing or walking. The lumbar spinal canal may become constricted when the facet joints become enlarged. Standing or walking causes the blood to become enlarged around the nerve root. The result is pain in the legs. Sitting will allow the senior to have some relief from the pain.
Degenerative scoliosis can be an extremely painful situation and is most common among the older population. In order to give your loved one the assistance and companionship they need, a senior care provider may be necessary.

Fortunately, there are a wide range of treatment options available to elders with this condition, such as:
  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist will provide a program that will help stretch and strengthen the joints, soft tissue, and the muscles.
  • Chiropractic manipulation. Manipulation can be done to the spine to keep the facet joints mobile and decrease the amount of pain your loved one is feeling.
  • Medications. Some prescription medications will offer pain relief and will treat the inflammation surrounding your joints. Discuss these options with your doctor.
  • Surgery. Some patients may qualify for surgery if the pain is severe in the legs.
If any of this information sounds similar to something an elderly loved one of yours is going through, set up a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible to help treat their painful degenerative scoliosis symptoms.

If you or someone you love is in need of elder care please contact Interim HealthCare today!