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Degenerative Scoliosis Overview

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine is curved to one side, forming an “S” shape. It’s most commonly seen in adolescents between 10 and 15 years old. Although scoliosis can be present from birth or develop shortly thereafter, it can also develop in old age, in which case it’s known as degenerative scoliosis.

Degenerative scoliosis is caused by gradual wear and tear of the spine due to aging or injury. For example, arthritis, joint disease, disc degeneration, and other conditions can cause scoliosis by weakening the muscles and ligaments supporting the spine or reducing the cushioning between vertebrae. 

Degenerative scoliosis becomes more common as people age. It’s estimated that around 60 percent of adults over the age of 60 develop degenerative scoliosis.

Symptoms of Degenerative Scoliosis

The most common symptom of degenerative scoliosis is the spine’s sideways and/or rotating curvature. However, other symptoms can occur as well. These include:

  • Chronic back pain 
  • Joint stiffness 
  • Loss of flexibility 
  • Poor posture 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Muscle spasms

In some cases, degenerative scoliosis can cause nerve compression or pinching, leading to numbness and tingling in the extremities. If left untreated, these symptoms can become progressively worse.

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Conventional Treatment Options 

If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative scoliosis, there are several conventional treatment options that your doctor will recommend, based on how severe your condition is. 

One of the most common ways to treat scoliosis is by wearing a brace. Although this can help to prevent further curvature, it will not treat or reverse the condition. Additionally, it won’t address any symptoms you might be experiencing. 

With that in mind, the following are the conventional treatment options that may be recommended to help address some of the symptoms of degenerative scoliosis, such as chronic pain:

Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections are comprised of synthetic hormones that reduce inflammation and reduce pain. These injections are typically injected in the area of the spine where you are experiencing pain. Although they can provide temporary relief, corticosteroid injections aren’t a long-term solution for chronic pain relief. Additionally, they can cause various complications, such as nerve damage, joint infection, and damage to nearby tissue.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a kind of medication designed to provide temporary relief from inflammation and pain. They can be taken orally or externally as creams, gels, or ointments. Examples of common NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. However, common side effects from long-term use may include stomach discomfort and bleeding. They also tend to lose their effectiveness over time.

Lumbar Laminectomy

In more extreme cases, a lumbar laminectomy may be recommended. This is a surgical procedure in which the vertebrae of the lower back are opened up, and the bone is removed to create more space for the spinal cord and nerves.

Although it can result in the relief of symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling, this surgery is incredibly invasive. It can result in severe complications, including infection, paralysis, and nerve damage. Also, surgery can be costly and can require long recovery times.

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is a procedure in which a surgeon will fuse two or more vertebrae together using metal rods and screws. This type of surgery is used to provide stability to the spine and can help to reduce pain caused by scoliosis. Like lumbar laminectomy surgery, spinal fusion is incredibly invasive and comes with numerous risks of complications.

What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma, or PRP? 

PRP is an alternative option to conventional treatments for chronic pain. It is a concentrated sample of a patient’s own platelets and plasma that has been injected into the affected area. The key to its efficacy lies in its ability to stimulate your body’s natural healing process and promote tissue regeneration. Specifically, PRP can help reduce pain by releasing growth factors known to speed up the healing process and increase blood flow to the injured area, thereby helping to reduce inflammation.

Because PRP is derived from your own blood, it’s considered to be safe and free of any side effects. Additionally, the procedure is quick and non-invasive. Compared to traditional treatments such as surgery, PRP requires little recovery time and provides long-lasting relief.


PRP for Degenerative Scoliosis

At Orthagenex, we believe that PRP is an ideal treatment option for degenerative scoliosis. It is a safe and non-invasive alternative to traditional treatments such as surgery. It can help reduce pain by stimulating the body’s natural healing process. Although PRP treatment won’t cure degenerative scoliosis, it can help provide long-term pain relief caused by the condition. 

Scoliosis can cause chronic pain because it puts pressure on the nerves and muscles of the spine. This can also cause other symptoms, such as numbness and tingling. PRP treatment can help reduce inflammation around the affected area, thereby reducing pressure on the nerves and muscles surrounding the spine and relieving pain. 

PRP treatment can also potentially help improve flexibility as well as range of motion in the affected area. As it helps to reduce inflammation, it could allow for a greater range of movement in the spine. With improved flexibility, you may find that everyday activities become easier to perform and that your quality of life is improved.


Why Are Orthagenex PRP Injections Superior?

At Orthagenex, we offer superior PRP injections because of the high level of care and expertise we provide. Our orthopedic doctors have extensive experience in treating degenerative scoliosis using PRP, and we have the latest technology available to ensure that you get the safest treatment and the best possible results. Our PRP treatment has been shown to be safer and more effective than those offered by other providers because of the following:

Image-Guidance to Place PRP Solutions

Our PRP treatments are effective because we use MSK (musculoskeletal) ultrasound and fluoroscopy to inject the platelet concentrations right where they’re needed. MSK ultrasound and fluoroscopy are both imaging techniques that allow us to view the exact location of the injury to guide the injection directly into the affected area. Most PRP providers rely on blind injections, meaning that they use guesswork to inject the solution into the general area of the injury. 

Image-guided injections are superior to blind injections because they significantly reduce the risk of complications and increase the efficacy of the treatment.

Lab-Processed for Higher Concentrations of Platelets

At Orthagenex, we use lab-processed PRP solutions with higher concentrations of platelets. By processing our PRP solutions in a lab instead of a bedside centrifuge, (which is how PRP is traditionally processed), we can tailor the injections to meet your specific needs and maximize the efficacy of the treatment. The following are a few examples of how we can customize our solutions:

Amber PRP vs. Red PRP

There are two types of PRP solutions: amber PRP and red PRP. Red PRP is the standard type of PRP solution. It’s the only type of PRP solution that can be processed in a bedside centrifuge and is rich in red and white blood cells. However, previous lab results have shown that red and white blood cells can actually inhibit the healing process by causing an inflammatory response near the area being treated. 

Therefore, at Orthagenex, we use amber PRP solutions instead. Amber PRP solutions are processed by separating the red and white blood cells out of the sample, leaving a solution that is higher in platelet concentrations. This type of PRP solution has been shown to be more effective at stimulating the body’s natural healing process without causing as much of an inflammatory response – and can only be created in a lab setting.

Next-Generation Platelet Lysate 

At Orthagenex, we also offer a revolutionary new type of PRP solution known as platelet lysate (PL). PL treatment differs from traditional PRP treatment in that it’s even less likely to trigger an inflammatory response. Because of this, PL treatment is often recommended for treating conditions that affect the spine – such as degenerative scoliosis. Additionally, PL solutions release the growth factors that are vital for stimulating the healing process at a much faster rate than traditional PRP solutions.

PRP Customized to Every Patient’s Need

Because most providers offer PRP treatments processed in a bedside centrifuge, all their patients are treated with the same PRP solution. This doesn’t take into account individual needs – such as the different types of medical conditions they may have. At Orthagenex, we customize every patient’s PRP treatment to ensure they get the most effective and safest treatment possible. The following are a few examples of how we can do this:

Solutions Are Customized Using Lab-Processed PRP Solutions

As mentioned, we use lab-processed PRP solutions. This means that we can customize the concentration of platelets in the solution and use various techniques to ensure that it’s tailored to each patient’s needs. We can do this by removing components from the solution that can be harmful or aren’t needed, as well as by concentrating components that are beneficial to the patient’s condition. 

Finally, by processing our PRP solutions in a lab, we can increase the concentration of platelets by as much as 10 to 30 times as much as PRP solutions processed in a bedside centrifuge.

Bone Marrow Concentrate Can Be Used 

At Orthagenex, we can also use bone marrow concentrate (BMC) in addition to our PRP solutions. BMC is high in stem cells and other healing properties that can help stimulate the body’s natural healing process much faster than PRP alone. It has been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain and is often recommended for conditions like degenerative scoliosis. Depending on what we are treating, we may include BMC as part of our PRP treatment plan.

Doctors Specializing in Interventional Orthopedics

At Orthagenex, all our physicians are board-certified and fellowship-trained in interventional orthopedics. This means they have the specialized training and experience to safely and effectively treat degenerative scoliosis with PRP injections. In fact, less than one percent of US physicians are trained in interventional orthopedics – so you can trust that our doctors are some of the best in the country.

Core Competencies

Our orthopedic doctors also have core competencies in using image guidance to place injectates and providing SANS (stability, articulation, neuromuscular, and symmetry) evaluations, which are essential when assessing conditions such as degenerative scoliosis. This allows them to accurately diagnose and identify the areas that need treatment, as well as provide a complete assessment of the patient’s condition.


Orthagenex – Your Alternative to Degenerative Scoliosis Surgery

Degenerative scoliosis surgery should only be considered as a last resort. If you’re experiencing chronic pain as a result of degenerative scoliosis, then you may want to consider a non-invasive alternative treatment option, such as PRP injections. At Orthagenex, we specialize in using lab-processed PRP solutions that can help reduce pain and potentially improve mobility without surgery. 

For more information about our PRP treatments for degenerative scoliosis, contact Orthagenex today and find out how we can help you get back to living your life pain-free.

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