Many adults with scoliosis and kyphosis benefit from nonsurgical care. Nonsurgical care can be used together with spinal surgery or orthopedic therapies. Individuals with mild cases of spine curvature may only require a nonsurgical approach to alleviate their symptoms.
At Ascension Seton, our spine specialists can work with you to determine the best course of action. Your doctor may recommend injection therapy, medication, physical therapy or a combination.
Injection therapy aims to relieve discomfort so that you can participate in physical therapy. There are several types of injection therapy that can be used to relieve symptoms of scoliosis or kyphosis.
- Epidural injections use cortisone to treat nerve swelling in the space around the spinal cord, called the epidural space. This treatment uses a needle to inject cortisol directly into the epidural space. You may need more than one injection for the best pain relief.
- Facet injections use a medication that acts as a lubricant on the joints. Facet joints are the joints that connect all the vertebrae and make easy spine movement possible. When these joints are stiffened, spine movement can be difficult or painful. Facet injections can help restore movement in the spine. The benefits can last even after the medication has worn off.
- Trigger point injections use a local anesthetic to relieve pain in specific trigger points. Trigger points are painful tissues around muscles that can cause spasms. The effects of trigger point injections can last anywhere from weeks to months.
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections use cortisone to treat inflammation in the sacroiliac joint, which is in the lower back. These injections can help improve pain in the lower back. Some people may need more than one injection for the maximum effect.
- Rhizotomy is a procedure where the doctor destroys certain nerve roots in the spine in order to relieve symptoms of scoliosis or kyphosis. The doctor usually uses heat or cold to damage the nerves. Rhizotomy is typically done on an outpatient basis and can greatly improve comfort.
While many people benefit from injection therapy for improving their discomfort and range of motion, injection therapy may not be the right approach for everyone. Your doctor can help you decide whether injection therapy is right for you based on your unique case of spinal curvature and motion. Injection therapy is intended as a means to an end, helping you participate in physical therapy for a long-term improvement in day-to-day living.
It’s important to have the right approach to pain relief. Oftentimes, what may feel best in the moment, like lots of bed rest, can be harmful in the long run. For example, too much rest can cause your back muscles to weaken, which can make your pain even worse in the future.
At Ascension Seton, we strive for a long-lasting solution to pain and discomfort. If you are in regular pain from scoliosis or kyphosis, your doctor can help you develop a customized plan to manage your pain. Pain management can involve medications, lifestyle changes or both.
Medication can help treat swelling and inflammation, as well as reduce discomfort. Many doctors recommend simple over-the-counter pain medicines, like ibuprofen or aspirin. These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used to improve mild to moderate pain.
If your pain is more severe, you can ask your doctor about receiving a prescription for a stronger medication.
Sometimes, simply altering your lifestyle can go a long way toward improving your back pain. Doctors at Ascension Seton use a holistic approach to treating spinal conditions, and may advise you on a number of practices to try at home and throughout the day.
- Sitting at a desk for long periods of time puts weight on the lower back. People who work office jobs often have this problem. If you spend a lot of time sitting, it’s important to understand ergonomics. The back of your chair should mold properly to your back, and your chair should be at the right height so that your legs can form a 90-degree angle with your feet rested flat on the floor.
- If you use a computer, keep your forearms parallel to your thighs and use a pad for your wrists. Your arms should form a 90-degree angle.
- Position your computer monitor at eye level to avoid straining your neck.
- Get up to move every 30 minutes.
- If you stand for long periods of time, try balancing your weight equally on both feet instead of shifting from one foot the other.
- Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket when you sit, as this can throw the spine out of proper alignment.
- When working, unloading groceries or holding a child, lift properly, using the legs rather than the back.
Adjustments in lifestyle work best when combined with a personalized physical therapy program to strengthen the back muscles and improve flexibility.
Experience the Ascension Seton Difference
Our centers are located in Austin and throughout Central Texas. To learn more about spine care from the Ascension Seton, please visit one of our locations.