Diagnosis of Scoliosis

If you think you or your child may be developing scoliosis then you must consult your physician. Your physician will ask you about your family to check if there is a history of scoliosis within your family. You will be asked about any pain or discomfort you are experiencing as well as about any other medical problem.

The physician will then conduct a complete physical examination. Your spine will be inspected to detect any abnormalities in the curvature. The physician will also look at the symmetry of the body and check if the shoulders and hips are aligned properly. Your muscle strength, reflexes and range of motion will also be examined. A record of your height and weight will be kept. This will help the physician to gauge the progress of the scoliosis in the future.

If the physician makes a diagnosis of scoliosis you may be asked to return for additional examination after a few months. This will enable the physician to gauge if there has been any deterioration in your condition. An x- ray of your back may be taken to help your physician measure the extent of the deformity.

In the case of children or teenagers, it is essential for the physician to find out how much growth is left. This is because growth may result in additional abnormal curvature of the spine. Additional x-rays of the waist and pelvis can help the physician estimate how much more the child will grow.

Some of the tests to confirm scoliosis are:

  • X-rays: These will confirm a diagnosis of scoliosis as well as reveal the extent of the abnormal spinal curvature.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): If the physician suspects that the scoliosis is caused by another condition, then an MRI will be taken.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT): This is superior to a plain x-ray. It combines x-ray images taken from several different directions to provide a detailed image of the spine.
  • Bone Scan: This involves the introduction of a radioactive dye which highlights the affected areas, enabling superior images of the spine to be ta ken.