Scoliosis is characterized by an abnormal ‘C’ or ‘S’ shaped curve that forms in the spine, causing negative side effects due to spinal deformities that affect other parts of the skeleton and organs. While it usually develops during the growth spurt before puberty, adults can also experience scoliosis of two different types.
The first type progresses from puberty, causing negative symptoms in adulthood. The other type is degenerative scoliosis, which is a condition that occurs due to spine damage from aging. Studies suggest that up to 5 percent of the population has the condition, but the majority of those who suffer go undiagnosed and untreated. Here are some of the signs that your back pain may signal something serious.
Because the spine anatomy has been displaced, it is very likely that part of the spine is putting pressure on the nerve endings. This will cause a sharp, shooting pain down the leg that is coupled with a tingling numbness or weakness in the legs and feet. Nerve pain can also be observable, as many who suffer from it will often have a slight drag in one of their feet while walking.
Many signs of scoliosis are visible on the body, which is one of the most effective ways to detect it. The most common clues of abnormal spine rotation include other parts of the body being pushed in odd directions. For example, many scoliosis patients will have what looks like a bump on the back due to one rib being higher than the other. More symptoms include uneven hips, one protruding shoulder blade, an off-centered head, one shorter leg, and a tilt to one side.
Clothes don’t fit right
Sometimes you may not notice a change in posture on your own body, but you may see the effects of asymmetry in the way that your clothes fit. For example, because the shoulders or hips are uneven, you may notice that a sleeve or a pant leg is too long on one side. Similarly, watch out for a chronically uneven neckline or hemline. If you notice your clothes are consistently ill-fitting, check your body for any signs of abnormal posture.
Because the curve in the spine causes the ribs to rotate, this displacement—no matter how small—puts pressure on the lungs. This pressure will restrict the breathing, causing constant and noticeable shortness of breath. The breathing problems are most noticeable when attempting to sleep and/or exercise.
If you have ever noticed any sudden bony bumps on the joints of your spine, you may have bone spurs. Bone spurs form as hard bumps of bone at the end of the joints. People who have adult scoliosis often will experience bone spurs due to the damage to their spine, where the body tries to repair the injured area by adding extra bone to it. These bone spurs can also contribute to more back pain and cramping.
If you recognize any of these symptoms along with the back pain you have been experiencing, you may be at risk for scoliosis and should contact a health professional. However, even if you do suspect that you may have scoliosis, don’t freak out just yet. Most people who are diagnosed do not require surgery; doctors can provide medication, physical therapy and braces to relieve the symptoms effectively.