New York Spine Institute Spine Services

How scoliosis can shorten your life

How scoliosis can shorten your life
Alexa Forman DNP, FNP-BC

How scoliosis can shorten your life

By: Alexa Forman DNP, FNP-BC

As Co-Director, Alexa works closely with Center Director Dr. Peter Passias, a world-renowned spinal surgeon. Alexa works closely with every family and patient. Patients are always informed and treated with respect and dignity. Patients have access to doctors and staff any time before, during and after procedures. For all patients, especially those with severe or chronic conditions, the Center’s staff is committed to lifetime support and care.

It’s a common belief that scoliosis is a cosmetic problem that can go untreated unless it gets worse. However, this condition often progresses. We recommend pursuing treatment from a skilled orthopedic spine specialist like Dr. Timothy Roberts of the New York Spine Institute as soon as possible. If not addressed, your curvature could cause other health problems. In some cases, scoliosis can shorten your life.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a common condition in which the spine curves in a “C” or “S” shape. Most often, this curvature develops in teenagers and progresses during growth spurts. A scoliosis curve requires medical attention to straighten. Without professional treatment from a trained scoliosis specialist like Dr. Roberts, the degree of curvature can become more severe. We can split scoliosis into two types — adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) and early onset scoliosis (EOS).

The exact causes of AID and EOS are unknown, but they have no connection with a patient’s activities. Heavy backpacks, injuries, poor posture and repetitive physical activity have negative effects on the body, but those things cannot cause scoliosis. Some people are born with congenital scoliosis. Neuromuscular scoliosis can result from other medical conditions that affect the nerves and muscles.

Is Scoliosis Deadly?

Scoliosis can lead to many health concerns, including physical and mental stress, reduced lung function, heart complications and the need for surgery. If your scoliosis is severe, it may cause related conditions that could lead to death. Your life expectancy with scoliosis depends on many factors, including the severity of the disease and whether you receive treatment.

In severe cases, you may experience reduced range of motion, back pain, trouble breathing and cardiovascular issues. Your ribs may press into your lungs, which can restrict breathing and lower your oxygen levels. Your ribs can also press against your heart, which may cause further damage. Other organs may suffer as well. Scoliosis can also cause headaches, chronic pain and even digestive issues.

While mild cases are unlikely to cause serious problems, the condition can become more severe over time. Seeking treatment from Dr. Roberts as early as possible can prevent other issues from developing. If scoliosis goes untreated and continues to get worse, you may also experience progressive pain. Some patients with severe scoliosis are unable to walk normally or perform many physical tasks.

Scoliosis Long-Term Prognosis

When caught early enough, mild cases can be treated with physical therapy and a brace that stops the progression of the curve. Without treatment, the curve progresses freely. Often, patients with untreated scoliosis need surgery, which leaves them open to the other risks associated with spinal surgery. Since the curve can progress even in adulthood, waiting to seek treatment is unwise.

Contact the Specialists at the New York Spine Institute

While receiving a scoliosis diagnosis may feel scary, finding the right care can shield you from the more dangerous side effects of this condition. At the New York Spine Institute, every patient receives dignified, individual treatment. Our world-class orthopedic physician and neurosurgeon, Dr. Timothy T. Roberts, specializes in a wide range of comprehensive medical treatments, from minimally invasive care to traditional spine surgical techniques. His number one priority is returning you to your quality of life.

We have offices in Westbury, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Newburgh, White Plains, Queens and on Long Island. Regardless of our location, we accept patients from all over.

If you have scoliosis, early treatment can be the key to slowing your condition’s progress. Dr. Roberts can treat scoliosis in adults, adolescents and children. We invite you to schedule an appointment online today to learn more.