Meet Dr. Jason Lowenstein: Your Scoliosis Specialist
Meet Dr. Jason Lowenstein: Your Scoliosis Specialist
No one wants to suffer from chronic scoliosis pain. Often, this means seeking out the guidance of a qualified scoliosis specialist.
When you find yourself in chronic discomfort, you want to make sure that you’re enlisting top-of-the-line care. This is where Dr. Jason Lowenstein comes in. Dr. Lowenstein is a leading expert in the sphere of scoliosis and spinal deformity intervention. In addition, he is a founding member of The Advanced Spine Center and acts as the Director of Scoliosis & Spinal Deformity for Morristown Medical Center.
Dr. Lowenstein completed his undergraduate degree in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated magna cum laude. Thereafter, he attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where he earned his medical degree. To further hone his surgical skills, Dr. Lowenstein completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Columbia University’s Medical Center, followed by a yearlong spine surgery fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta.
It goes without saying:
When it comes to a structure as highly complex as the spine, you need just as highly of a skilled specialist to handle your case. Dr. Lowenstein, having earned extensive experience with every form of scoliosis, kyphosis, and spondylolisthesis, checks that box and many more. Don’t let your medical condition take you away from the activities that you once enjoyed. Contact our offices today and achieve the relief that you deserve!
When Should I See A Scoliosis Specialist?
Sometimes, especially with conditions such as scoliosis, patients may not realize something is wrong. At least, not initially… Believe it or not, a sizable percentage of people with scoliosis don’t experience any discernible symptoms. That being said, you want to catch progressive spinal deformities such as these as soon as possible. Without intervention, scoliosis often becomes worse with the onset of puberty (as in the case of children) or as we approach older age (as in the instance of adults).
So, what telltale signs should you look out for then? Common indicators of scoliosis often include the following forms of asymmetry and/or pain symptoms:
- The head doesn’t appear centered with the trunk of the body
- Hip asymmetry causes one hip to be higher than the other
- Ribs protrude unnaturally
- In a neutral position, the arms don’t hang down straight with the trunk of the body
- Shoulder asymmetry causes one shoulder to be higher or lower than the other
- While bending over, the two sides of the patient’s back are at two different heights
- The patient has trouble walking or standing up straight
- There is a constant feeling of fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of height
- Pain, numbness, or weakness in the extremities
- …and more.
These are just a few of the warning signs that you should keep an eye out for. You want to be especially wary if the patient is a child. Typically, the growth spurts associated with puberty tend to exacerbate the severity of scoliosis.
What Are My Treatment Options For Scoliosis?
Generally speaking, there are three categories of treatment available for scoliotic curve correction:
- Conservative treatment methods
- Minimally invasive spine surgeries
- Traditional, open-back procedures
Usually, your doctor will start with the least invasive form of treatment that is viable for your unique circumstances. Unless your case is incredibly severe from the get-go, your doctor will try to resolve the issue through conservative treatment options. This includes methods such as scoliosis bracing (to prevent curve progression) and over-the-counter medication such as NSAIDs or Tylenol.
If conservative methods don’t appear to be working well enough, your doctor will move on to the next tier of treatment: minimally invasive spine surgery. Minimally invasive spine surgery differs from traditional, open-back procedures in that it requires smaller incisions and generally has a much faster recovery time than the alternative.
Most of the time, doctors resort to some variation of spinal fusion surgery to treat scoliotic curve progression. This involves fusing bones in the spine together so that they can’t move independently from one another. Additionally, surgical hardware such as metal rods, hooks, screws, or wires may also be used to maintain spinal alignment while the old and new bone material fuses together.
If minimally invasive surgery is not viable for your case, then you may require traditional, open-back surgery. Generally, this is required in exceedingly severe cases of scoliosis that necessitate bone removal (i.e. various forms of osteotomy) to correct the deformity.
Diagnosis and What to Expect at the Doctor
During your initial visit, your doctor will begin by obtaining a detailed medical history. He or she will ask questions about your family’s medical history and any pre-existing ailments that could adversely affect your treatment. Usually, the practicing physician confirms a diagnosis of scoliosis using a combination of physical examination and the following imaging techniques:
- CT Scan: This is a diagnostic test in which a computer generates an image after examining the initial X-rays. This test can show the size and shape of the spinal canal as well as the structure’s contents and the surrounding areas.
- X-ray: The most common test doctors use, X-rays apply radiation to produce an image that shows the structure of the affected vertebrae while also outlining the surrounding joints. Doctors utilize this test to determine other potential causes of pain, such as infections, fractures, and other deformities.
- MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging is a diagnostic test that generates highly detailed three-dimensional images of complex structures within the human body. It accomplishes this feat by using powerful magnets in conjunction with computer technology to show the spinal cord as well as surrounding nerve roots and structures. This test is also great for revealing potential enlargement, degeneration, and other deformities.
Your doctor will then measure the severity of the scoliotic curve(s) by using the Cobb Method. The Cobb Method quantifies severity by determining the number of degrees that the spine deviates from the “normal” position.
For pediatric cases, doctors may also utilize the Adam’s Forward Bend Test, in which the patient leans forward to reveal asymmetry in the trunk or other abnormalities.
Have you been experiencing spinal discomfort for a period of two weeks or more? Have conservative methods such as bracing or over-the-counter medications not provided adequate relief for your ailments? If so, then it may be time to seek the guidance of a scoliosis specialist.
Why not see the absolute best?
Dr. Jason Lowenstein and his team of highly trained professionals will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive an individual treatment plan that suits the specific needs of your case. For more information, contact our offices today!