Scoliosis Treatment in Fort Worth, TX
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the spine. All spines have a natural curve, however, patients with scoliosis have excessive spinal curving. Usually, scoliosis develops during the growth spurt before puberty, between the ages of 9 and 15. Additionally, some cases of scoliosis are present at birth or due to underlying neuromuscular conditions. The majority of cases are due to unknown causes.
What Are the Symptoms Of Scoliosis?
Patients with mild cases of scoliosis have no symptoms apart from the irregularity of their appearance. If the curve of the spine worsens, however, treatment will become necessary. When the spine twists, patients may experience:
- Low back pain
- Extreme fatigue after sitting or standing
- Difficulty breathing (in severe cases)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we strongly recommend that you seek treatment for scoliosis in Fort Worth.
How Is Scoliosis Diagnosed?
When diagnosing scoliosis in Fort Worth our staff at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders will perform a physical examination of the back, shoulders, waist, and hips. This includes taking a spinal curve measurement, using a device called a scoliometer. In addition, patients suspected of having scoliosis typically undergo neurological examinations to evaluate muscle strength, reflexes, and areas of numbness.
After those initial examinations, our staff will also administer imaging tests to determine the severity of the problem and to rule out other possible reasons for the curvature of the spine, such as tumors. Diagnostic imaging tests may include CT, MRI and bone scans.
Can Scoliosis Get Worse with Age?
Scoliosis is generally considered to be a progressive condition. Studies suggest that it does worsen with age, though there is no predicting how quickly that may happen. Because studies also indicate that physical growth is a trigger for scoliosis progression, doctors tend to monitor young patients closely.
What Are the Types Of Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is not just labeled as one type of condition, it affects the entirety of the spine in different ways. The types of Scoliosis include:
Abnormal development of vertebra, present at birth. Sometimes the vertebra fails to form normally, leading to an abnormal curvature of the spine.
This is the most well-known type that presents most often in adolescence. Both girls and boys can develop idiopathic scoliosis which is hereditary.
The results of underlying neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy, myelodysplasia, muscular dystrophy, polio, spinal cord injury, etc.
Adult-onset form that occurs secondary to the development of degeneration of the spine and its joints. This is most common after the age of 50.
How is Scoliosis Treated?
Treatment options for scoliosis are based on age, gender, location, and severity of the curve. It is important to discuss treatment options with our staff before deciding which treatment, if any, may be best for you. Initial scoliosis treatment includes monitoring the curvature closely and, if necessary, wearing a brace. This does not cure scoliosis, but it may impede the further progression of the curve.
Once patients have reached maturity, and their bones have stopped growing, there is little risk of the scoliosis worsening. Our staff can assess this growth by the onset of puberty and bone growth tests. Adults may benefit from scoliosis management such as physical therapy or medication. Typically, surgery is not an option unless patients are suffering from a significantly limited physical function. Most patients with scoliosis, even in severe cases, are able to lead normal, productive lives after successful treatment.
What Can Happen if Scoliosis Goes Untreated?
Treatment becomes necessary when the spinal curvature exceeds a certain measurement. A curvature of 50 degrees or more is considered severe. The accentuated curve can cause physical discomfort, limited activity, and spinal rotation. If the spine rotates, there is a risk of heart problems and decreased lung capacity. In addition to the long-term health and emotional consequences that occur, scoliosis can also cause spinal structures to degrade more quickly. Patients are at risk of spondylosis, an arthritic condition in which the spinal joints become inflamed and cartilage wears down. Spondiylosis can result in painful bone spurs.
How is Scoliosis Treated Surgically?
After trying other treatment options, more serious cases of scoliosis may require surgical intervention. In most cases, spinal fusion surgery is performed to treat scoliosis. Spinal fusion is a surgical option that connects two or more vertebrae with bone grafts or artificial materials.
During spinal fusion for scoliosis, metal rods are installed to stabilize the area until the bones grow together. Although such surgery is normally done after the patient has finished growing, when the scoliosis is progressing at a dangerous rate, an adjustable rod may be inserted. This allows the rod to be lengthened every 6 months and accommodate the child’s growth.
The DFW Center provides scoliosis surgery in Dallas and the nearby areas.
Is Scoliosis Preventable?
According to studies, the only instance in which scoliosis may be preventable is the instance of adult scoliosis related to osteoporosis. There is a lot of discussion around the prevention of adolescent scoliosis via limited physical burden, such as carrying heavy backpacks. However, scoliosis is more of a structural problem than a mechanical problem. This means that a person does not typically “acquire” scoliosis from their daily habits. Knowing this, doctors seek to prevent the worsening of spinal curvature through the earliest possible intervention.
What Activities Should You Avoid if You have Scoliosis?
If you have scoliosis, the way that you exercise will be and must be different than the average person. Your body requires corrective exercise, not simply those that burn calories and build muscle tone. Exercises that could overuse one side of your body or involve repeated hyperextension of one or both sides of the body can exacerbate your symptoms. If you have scoliosis, your exercise and general engagement in physical activity should be approved by your attending physician, meaning the physician who is actively treating your spinal curvature.
Generally speaking, people with scoliosis may be advised to avoid activities that repetitively stress one side of the body. Examples include tennis, golf, and blowing. Repetitive shocks to the spine should also be avoided. Activities that could elicit this action include horseback riding and long-distance running. If you have scoliosis, your doctor may approve jogging or running short distances. This may depend on the degree of your spinal curvature.
Having scoliosis should not prevent you from engaging in any and all physical activities. Your doctor can help you determine the level of and type of activity that is ideal for you.
At-Home Treatments for Scoliosis?
The “best way” to treat or manage scoliosis depends on the degree of spinal curvature that you have. Home remedies are devised to manage mild to moderate symptoms of disease or medical condition. For example, if your spinal curvature causes discomfort such as soreness or muscle cramps, you might apply a warm compress to the affected area to soothe muscle tightness. Keep in mind that there is no home treatment that has been proven to correct scoliosis.
Will Scoliosis Impact My Weight?
Having scoliosis may affect your weight. This is due to several influencing factors, such as:
- Physical asymmetries such as the torso leaning more toward one direction.
- Muscular imbalance.
- Interruptions to your digestive processes.
Why Choose Dr. Jason C. Tinley For Scoliosis Treatment?
If you have scoliosis, you’re seeking care that will help you engage in life to the fullest! This is the goal of all of our treatment processes. Dr. Tinley is well-educated and also committed to treating you as an individual. And this is the foundational aspect of reclaiming your quality of life. Scoliosis does not affect every person in the same way. Dr. Tinley takes care to understand how scoliosis affects each of his patients. From there, he can devise the ideal plan of treatment to improve quality of life.
“I injured myself in June of 2020 and unfortunately, did not immediately go to Dr. Tinley. While my first surgeon fixed the pain, he did not fix the problem. I count my blessings every day that I found Dr. Tinley, his PA-C David, his nurse Amy and the rest of his staff. Dr. Tinley took the time to evaluate my case properly and provided open, honest and direct communication. He went above and beyond in his role as a surgeon in so many ways. I am so grateful that I met Dr. Tinley.
PA-C David cared about me as an individual. He eased my uncertainty in a very uncertain time and he was able to get me to crack a smile. Amy is probably the most patient individual I have ever met. I must have called DFW Center for Spinal Disorders countless times needing certain paperwork for my employer, or in pain, or rescheduling and she always was pleasant to talk to.
The staff at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders are top notch. They make you feel welcome and keep everything running smoothly. I cannot say enough good things about Dr Tinley and his staff at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders. Truly a remarkable group of individuals. Do not hesitate to reach out to them.” -JC
What is Recovery from Scoliosis Surgery Like?
Surgical recovery is a gradual process that, fortunately, gets increasingly better after the first few weeks.
During the first 14 days or so, the patient relies heavily on others for basic care and daily tasks. Prescription pain medication may be needed for a few weeks, which can cause drowsiness. Rest is vital to healing, so sleeping more than usual is absolutely acceptable. Around 14 days after surgery, the first post-op visit takes place. The patient will discuss how their recovery has been and any challenges they have encountered. The doctor examines the incisions and back and outlines a plan to follow until the next appointment. At this point, some patients may be cleared to return to school or a very light desk job. The patient may begin to wean off of prescription medication in favor of a milder pain reliever like acetaminophen.
X-rays may be taken about 6 weeks after surgery to evaluate the fusion process. At this point, the patient will likely still tire quickly and may feel more generally fatigued than normal. However, the doctor may clear additional activities, such as going out with friends for short periods. If fully transitioned off narcotic pain medication, the patient may return to driving.
Between 6 and 12 months post-op, x-rays are taken to measure the degree of fusion that has occurred. Fusion could be complete as early as 6 months but can take longer. This is normal and depends on the patient’s unique physiology. When full fusion is reached, all activity restrictions are lifted. It can be beneficial to discuss the safety of high-impact activities with the doctor before trying them.
Will My Surgery Results be Permanent?
Scoliosis surgery has a very high success rate, reaching approximately 70% curve correction. Treatment results in bones fusing together in a straighter pattern, so results are permanent.
How to Care for Your Spine After Scoliosis Treatment
Patients can expect to do all of the things they did before their surgery once the spine has fused successfully. The primary recommendation for spinal care is to maintain good posture. Sitting and standing properly allows the joints to position themselves in their natural neutral positions. Imbalance pulls on the muscles around the spine, creating tension that could lead to pain. Good posture is not about preventing a return of the curvature; it’s all about comfort.
Schedule Your Scoliosis Consultation in Fort Worth
If you are experiencing symptoms of scoliosis, contact DFW Center for Spinal Disorders for diagnosis and treatment of your spinal condition. To schedule your consultation, please call or request an appointment through our secure online form. Our spine center in Fort Worth is conveniently located for patients in Dallas, Arlington, Mansfield, Burleson, and the surrounding areas.