If your child has scoliosis, you’d better make sure it’s monitored and appropriately treated – even if you don’t have health insurance.

“Yes, untreated scoliosis can cause spinal stenosis because the spinal cord and nerve roots run through the spinal column,” says John D. Lipani, MD, FACS, neurosurgeon-in-chief for and founding director of Princeton Neurological Surgery in NJ.

Dr. Lipani continues, “And if the spinal column is curved, then the neural elements may be compressed by the angulation of the spinal column.”

Scoliosis vs. Spinal Stenosis

Scoliosis is when the spine curves sideways. From the profile angle, the patient’s back appears normal, but when you look from behind that person, you may be able to see the crookedness it causes. A X-ray will surely reveal it.

In spinal stenosis, the column through which the spinal cord runs is narrowed at a certain section. This may lead to pain, and the pain is relieved when the patient leans forward when walking or standing. It’s associated with an aging body.

Though spinal stenosis can be caused by untreated scoliosis, spinal stenosis can’t cause scoliosis.

The cause of most cases of scoliosis is not known.

In mild cases, the only treatment is monitoring to see if the curve worsens as a child grows. More pronounced cases require either a brace or surgery.

If untreated scoliosis doesn’t lead to spinal stenosis, this doesn’t mean it won’t cause back pain as a person ages.

Spinal stenosis puts pressure on the nerves, and, as mentioned, relief comes when the patient “stoops forward” when upright.

Unlike scoliosis, spinal stenosis can cause tingling, numbness and weakness.

Most causes are from wear-and-tear changes in the spinal column.

Untreated scoliosis actually is not a leading cause of spinal stenosis. Leading causes include the wear-and-tear, a bulging disc and spinal injuries.

Treatments range from pain relievers, physical therapy and decompression to surgery.

Dr. Lipani is a board certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeon. His specialties include minimally invasive spine surgery and non-invasive brain and spine radiosurgery. He’s the founding director of the JD Lipani Radiosurgery Institute™ for non-invasive neurosurgery.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.