Degenerative Scoliosis in Middle-Aged Patients

Dr. Sandro LaRocca MD of New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C.

Scoliosis is characterized by an S- or C-shaped curve in the spine. This disease affects many older adults, as age-related spinal degeneration can cause disc compression and tilting. Luckily, scoliosis is easy to diagnose and carries many treatment options for patients of New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. Here, we take a closer look at symptoms to watch out for and explain what to do if you notice them in yourself or a loved one.

Identifying the Signs and Symptoms

Degenerative scoliosis normally develops after adults reach the age of 50, resulting from their spines wearing out after years of use. It is also referred to as adult-onset scoliosis or simply adult scoliosis. The signs and symptoms of this condition vary with age and are associated with coexisting spinal conditions including spinal stenosis, radiculopathy, and spondylolisthesis.

Signs and symptoms often include one or more of the following:

  • A bump on the lower back
  • Back pain
  • Leg pain, weakness, or numbness
  • Difficulty standing straight
  • Moderate to severe discomfort upon standing
  • Fatigue and shortness of breath

When left untreated, patients may also experience increased mobility impairments and discomfort. In addition, they may be at a greater risk for additional back problems, as well as heart and lung damage.

Pursuing Your Treatment Options

If you or a middle-aged loved one is currently experiencing scoliosis symptoms, there are a few key paths you can pursue to alleviate them, including:

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

These medications can help reduce inflammation along the spine, decreasing pain while you receive physical therapy or another treatment modality.


Certain steroidal injections can block pain signals from reaching patients’ brains. This option is often used in conjunction with physical therapy or other forms of treatment.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be effective treatment for treatment of pain and disability associated with degenerative scoliosis.  It can help patients strengthen and stabilize their spines to prevent scoliosis symptoms from worsening or returning. Physical therapists often employ specialized exercise and stretching routines along with pain reduction techniques to deliver therapy that’s personalized and targeted.


For those with severe scoliosis, or pain and dysfunction not alleviated with conservative options such as physical therapy and injections, doctors often recommend surgery. Surgery may consist of a laminectomy and/or a spinal fusion  During a spinal fusion, two vertebrae are joined together with screws, bone grafts, and stabilizing rods.  A laminectomy consists of unroofing the bony elements of the spine to eliminate pressure on the underlying nerves.

Find Relief Today

Degenerative scoliosis is a serious disease and should never be ignored. Fortunately, Dr. LaRocca of New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C., delivers expert treatment to residents of Lawrenceville, Toms River, Mount Laurel, North Brunswick, and beyond. As a board-certified surgeon with fellowship training in complex spinal reconstruction, Dr. LaRocca can provide relief from scoliosis symptoms and keep the condition from worsening. To learn more, contact us at 609-896-0020 to schedule an appointment today.

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*New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. offers surgical treatments for a variety of spinal and neck conditions, and does not treat or consult on hip, leg, ankle, knee, or non-spinal conditions.

*New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. does not provide personalized consulting or advice over phone or email. All interaction must be done via appointment at one of our 4 main offices listed below.

*We are located in New Jersey, USA and do not provide medical advice via email or phone. We do not accept Medicare or Medicaid, however we do participate with commercial insurance as an out of network provider.

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