Degenerative scoliosis results from degeneration of the intervertebral
disc and facet joints posteriorly. As the joints degenerate, they turn
and create a bend in the back, resulting in the coronal plane
deformity, i.e., scoliotic curve.
While idiopathic scoliosis is more frequent in the thoracic spine,
degenerative scoliosis is much more common in the lumbar spine. It
occurs most frequently in people over 65 years of age. Thus, this type
of scoliosis can be called as degenerative adult scoliosis or
degenerative lumbar scoliosis.
Degenerative scoliosis usually begins with low back pain. The pain is
probably not coming from the curve, but rather from the degeneration
occurring in the spine. Pain typically comes on gradually, and is
associated with activity. The pain tends to be worse first thing in the
morning, and tends to improve after the patient gets up and around for
a while. Then, later in the day the pain tends to worsen. The patient
is comfortable sitting and has more pain when she or he stands and
walks. Sometimes the pain occurs at the bottom of the spine; because
that area is overloaded and stressed with additional weight.