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How Does Scoliosis Affect You Long Term?

Whether you have a scoliosis diagnosis or you’re researching the topic for your child who’s been diagnosed, it’s normal to wonder how scoliosis affects you in the long term. 

Below, Dr. John Regan and the team here at Spine Group Beverly Hills answer that question in more detail. 

Does scoliosis affect you in the long term?

Scoliosis refers to abnormal curves in your spine. Curves can be defined as mild, moderate, or severe, and unfortunately, the curve can worsen over time. Scoliosis can affect you in the long term, but the biggest risk for long-term effects is from untreated scoliosis. 

Untreated scoliosis that continues to progress can lead to: 

Muscle imbalances

Scoliosis often results in muscle imbalances as your spine deviates from its natural alignment. This imbalance can lead to uneven pressure on muscles, causing fatigue, discomfort, and potential long-term issues.

For example, scoliosis can make your shoulders uneven, which then makes it hard to carry a purse or wear a backpack if the straps always slide down. To compensate, you may tilt your shoulders, which can put more pressure on your neck and shoulders. 

Joint wear and tear

More extreme curvatures may contribute to uneven wear and tear on your joints. Over time, this can lead to degenerative changes, and potentially cause back pain and limit your mobility.

Respiratory issues

Severe cases of scoliosis can affect your lung function by restricting the space available for your lungs to expand fully. Long-term, this may lead to reduced lung volume and chest wall muscle inefficiency. All of this can affect your breathing and cause shallow breathing and trouble taking deep breaths.

Self-esteem issues

Scoliosis can influence body image and self-esteem, especially during adolescence when children and teens are more sensitive to body image issues. Poor self-esteem can have many long-term effects, including an increased risk of anxiety and depression

Challenges to daily activities

Long-term scoliosis may present challenges in daily activities. Simple tasks, such as sitting for extended periods or engaging in physical activities, might require adjustments to accommodate the curvature of your spine. You may find that sitting at a desk (either for work or for school) isn’t easy without any accommodations. 

The importance of early intervention on long-term effects

Addressing scoliosis early on helps prevent further progression of the curve in your spine. Regular monitoring here at Spine Group Beverly Hills and appropriate interventions, such as bracing or physical therapy, can help you manage the condition and minimize its impact over time.

Dr. Regan may suggest minimally invasive surgery in severe cases to correct your curvature, alleviate associated symptoms, and help reduce the severity of these long-term effects. 

Understanding the available treatment options and working closely with Dr. Regan can significantly impact long-term outcomes. Specifically, Dr. Regan uses the coflex® device to eliminate spinal movement and prevent the curve from worsening.

Are you concerned about your spine?

If you have scoliosis, or suspect that you have it, don’t wait for back pain to get worse. Swift treatment helps you reduce your risk of serious long-term complications. To explore your potential bracing and/or surgical treatment options in Beverly Hills, California, give us a call at 424-238-3281. You can also use our online scheduling tool to get started.

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