Donate to Adult Scoliosis Research, Patient Care and Education

Over six million adults in the United States will be diagnosed with scoliosis in 2019. As we age, the spine can begin to compress. If that compression is not straight, and curves in the spine develop, this is referred to as adult scoliosis. Cases can be severe enough to require surgery for correction, others can be treated with medications to curb the symptoms. The curved vertebrae can be on the lower, middle or upper spine. These curves can be either nonstructural, temporary, or structural, leading to the permanent disposition of the spine. Structural scoliosis can occur as a result of a birth defect, severe trauma, infection or even an injury. Thanks to your generous donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, board-certified specialists in fields such as orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery at Northwestern Medicine will continue to advance clinical trials and research to enhance the understanding and treatment of adult scoliosis.

Multidisciplinary teams of physicians at Northwestern Medicine have identified a host of symptoms that can accompany adult scoliosis. While these symptoms alone do not necessarily mean a diagnosis of adult scoliosis is imminent, it is strongly recommended to have a complete physical exam to either rule it out and uncover the cause of the symptoms. These symptoms can include backache or lower backache coupled with fatigue, arms that do not hang evenly when standing, or slight curvature of the spine to one side. Symptoms can also include hips or shoulders that seem to be unbalanced as well as the head and body not being in alignment.

A physician typically will order X-rays, a CT scan or an MRI–or a combination thereof–to confirm the initial diagnosis.

Depending on the severity of the curvature, a physician might well prescribe medications to relieve the symptoms and might recommend re-evaluations every six months to determine if there is continued degeneration and curvature of the spine. Surgery may be an option to bring the spine back into alignment and to alleviate symptoms. Lumbar fusion and neurosurgery are the two most common types of surgery performed on those diagnosed with varying degrees of adult scoliosis.

Adult Scoliosis Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

While there have been advances in diagnostic and treatment options for adult scoliosis, generous support from donors will play a vital role in the achievement of new breakthroughs. Please consider making a donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation to show your support for the physician-scientists at Northwestern Medicine who are striving to advance research and clinical care in the realm of adult scoliosis.

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