Scoliosis and Kyphosis are spinal conditions that can cause back pain and spinal problems. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. Kyphosis is a forward rounding or curvature of the spine. While they primarily develop during the adolescent years, it is possible to develop them during adulthood. Generally, both conditions can lead to serious deformation of the back if left untreated. These conditions can also leave an individual predisposed to other health problems and back issues. If your Scoliosis or Kyphosis limits your ability to work, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits from your disability insurance agency. However, in order to secure these benefits, you will likely need an experienced disability attorney to help you.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, Often, modern medical practices are to correct the curvature before further complications occur. However, the condition might not be found until other complications occur. While most cases of scoliosis are not inherently painful, more acute curvature can cause pain. Additionally, injuries from falling, lifting, or carrying that result in scoliosis can be painful. The primary risk for those with scoliosis is developing injuries or other health conditions that can lead to pain and other complications. Spines that are already compromised by scoliosis are more prone to serious injury and further damage.
Types of Scoliosis
The most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic, which affects roughly 2% of the US population. However, it is almost always corrected medically before adulthood. Because of this, there are very few long-term disability cases that focus on idiopathic scoliosis. The 2 most common forms of scoliosis for disability claims are degenerative and neuromuscular.
Degenerative scoliosis often occurs when spinal bones weaken. This can happen as a result of arthritis, osteoporosis, or other conditions. Additionally, natural bone weakening as a result of aging can also cause this type of scoliosis.
Scoliosis can also cause breathing issues. This occurs when the curvature causes the ribs to press against the lungs. This can make it difficult to breathe, or take deep breaths.
Neuromuscular scoliosis occurs went there are abnormalities in the nerve and muscular pathways of the body. It occurs most often in those with pre-existing disabilities, such as those who are already wheelchair-bound. However, it can also develop after severe spinal trauma, such as after a fall or car accident. Additionally, those with spinal tumors or muscular dystrophy can also develop neuromuscular scoliosis.
What is Kyphosis?
While similar to scoliosis, kyphosis occurs when the spine curves convexly in an abnormal way. The curvature most often occurs in the thoracic region of the spine. If the curvature is much more excessive, you might have hyperkyphosis. Because the curvature often happens in the upper back, it can lead to a “humpback” appearance. A humped back can lead to significant deformity and debilitation.
Kyphosis can cause additional issues because of the compression it causes. For some individuals, the curvature can cause digestive issues. As the digestive tract is compressed, you may experience acid reflux, difficulty swallowing, and bowel problems.
Kyphosis is most common among young children and adolescents, so thankfully most modern medical practices work to correct these spinal abnormalities early on. However, Kyphosis can develop later in life. This is especially the case for those who work sedentary jobs. Bad desk posture like slouching can lead to back pain and even Kyphosis. Degenerative Disc Disease and other back-related conditions can lead to Kyphosis as well. Additionally, infections such as osteomyelitis can lead to bone loss in the spine, which can contribute to spinal curves.
Treatment for Scoliosis
Overall, scoliosis treatment outcomes are very positive today. However, when left untreated, it will likely continue to get worse with time. However, it is a slowly developing condition. Doctors will usually not recommend surgery unless it is absolutely necessary, usually only in severe cases, or where other concurrent spinal conditions warrant it.
Generally, a curve of fewer than 2o degrees is mild, and may not require a lot of intervention. Rather, your doctor will monitor it and make sure it doesn’t get worse. If the curvature is 20 degrees or more, you will likely need some sort of intervention. This may include a corrective brace or surgery. However, a lack of significant curvature does not mean that you are not disabled. Your doctor, along with your disability attorney, can help you determine if you are disabled by your condition. Additionally, a chiropractor may be able to help with spinal alignment treatments.
Treatment for Kyphosis
Treatment for kyphosis generally depends on the severity of the curve, as well as age. If there are other conditions causing the curvature, those should be addressed first. Treatment for this condition includes monitoring and guiding spinal curvature back to normal conditions. This can take time. Surgical intervention is only recommended in more severe cases. Additionally, a chiropractor may be able to assist with spinal correction therapies.