Scoliosis can occur in any part of the spine, and different names are used to describe curves in different locations. If scoliosis specifically affects the upper spine, this is called thoracic scoliosis; if it affects the lower part of the spine, it is called lumbar scoliosis.
In today’s blog post, we’re specifically going to talk about lumbar scoliosis and how it can be treated.
About lumbar scoliosis
Lumbar scoliosis is often idiopathic, but it can also be linked to neuromuscular conditions. Some people are even born with lumbar scoliosis (see congenital scoliosis).
This type of scoliosis is characterised by the appearance of a C-shaped (or reverse C-shaped) curve in the lower section of the patient’s spine. In extreme cases, lumbar scoliosis can materialise in combination with thoracic scoliosis to form an S-shaped (or reverse S-shaped) curve with the thoracic curve going in one direction, and the lumbar curve going in the opposite direction.
Visual symptoms of lumbar scoliosis include:
- Uneven waist
- Hips, shoulders and/or rib cage different heights
- Body leaning to one side
How can lumbar scoliosis be treated?
The best treatment for lumbar scoliosis depends on a number of factors, from the age and overall health of the patient to the severity of the spinal curve. If the patient is experiencing any pain or inflammation, the doctor may prescribe ibuprofen or another type of pain relief medication to reduce this discomfort. In other cases, the doctor may recommend that you undergo a course of corticosteroid injections in the spine to reduce inflammation; these injections are performed under an X-ray, but the patient can receive this treatment no more than 4 times in a 6-12 month period.
In cases where the curve is progressing (continuing to worsen) and there is a risk that it will impact the general health and wellbeing of the patient, it may be recommended that the patient undergoes spinal fusion – a surgical procedure that involves the insertion of rods and screws into the spine. Like most surgical procedures, there are a few side effects and risks associated with this treatment method, and this does put some patients off.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we offer a non-surgical treatment programme that consists of a combination of spinal exercises and techniques from around the world, ensuring that all aspects of the patient’s condition are treated. We call this the ScolioGold method.
If you or a loved one suffer from any form of scoliosis, please contact Scoliosis SOS today to arrange an initial consultation or simply find out more about our treatment courses.
Lumbar scoliosis refers to the sideways curving of the lower back, known as the lumbar area of the spine. While this form of curvature can be linked with congenital scoliosis at birth, and may also occur as a result of a neuromuscular condition in adulthood, it is most commonly identified in patients with idiopathic scoliosis.
Lumbar scoliosis can be visually identified using an X-ray or Adam’s forward-bend test, and is characterised by the distinctive ‘C’ shaped curve in the lower section of the spine and the apex of the curve has to be one of the lumbar vertebra. It differs from thoracolumbar scoliosis, which is when a single curve spans between the bottom few vertebrae of the thoracic spine and the top few vertebrae of the lumbar spine and the apex of a thoracolumbar curve has to be at either T12 (twelfth thoracic vertebra) or L1 (first lumbar vertebra). A lumbar scoliosis can occur in combination with a thoracic scoliosis to form an ‘S’ shaped curve, with the thoracic curve going in one direction (left or right) and the lumbar curve going in the other (right or left).
In most cases, symptoms of lumbar scoliosis will be distinguished during early to mid childhood, although in cases of adult degenerative scoliosis, it can also be linked with a number of corresponding conditions, including lumbar spinal stenosis and osteoporosis.
Some visual symptoms of lumbar scoliosis include:
- Uneven shoulders
- Unusually raised hips
- Uneven rib cage alignment
- Uneven waist
- Body leaning to one side
How is Lumbar Scoliosis Treated?
The recommended treatment for lumbar scoliosis may vary depending on a variety of factors, from the age and health of the patient, to the severity of the spinal curve, and its long-term implications. For those who experience pain and inflammation as a result of lumbar scoliosis, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may be prescribed, in an attempt to reduce discomfort for the patient. In other cases, doctors may recommend a course of corticosteroid injections into the spine, which are performed under X-ray, and can be received no more than four times in a 6-12 month period.
In the most severe cases, where the curvature is seen as being likely to progress, and may impact the patient’s overall health and wellbeing, a doctor will often recommend that the patient undergoes a corrective surgical procedure. This is known as spinal fusion surgery, and involves the insertion of rods and screws into the backbones, which prevents the spine from curving.
Are There Viable Alternatives to Drugs and Surgery for Lumbar Scoliosis?
An increasingly popular method for treating scoliosis, is the use of physical therapy and exercises, which is the treatment approach that we employ here at Scoliosis SOS
. Performing a variety of movements, a physical therapist will work to correct the existing spinal curve and strengthen the patient’s back muscles, for continued maintenance and progress. Those who enrol on our ScolioGold programme
, will receive a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to their condition, with an at-home exercise routine to complete once they have concluded their treatment.
For more information about how we can treat patients with lumbar scoliosis, please feel free to get in touch today! You can contact the Scoliosis SOS team by calling 0207 488 4428, or by filling in our contact form.