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Scoliosis Diagnosis

  • Scoliosis may be detected by your family doctor while performing a routine check-up. If necessary, it will be confirmed with an X-ray of your back.
  • School screening, unfortunately, is not very common in most countries but it is the best way to detect scoliosis early. Usually, this is done using an instrument call a scoliometer, which is a simple angle finder or inclinometer that measures rotations of the spine/rib cage. A nurse, or other healthcare professional with special training, can check a child within two minutes using a scoliometer. It is simple to use and it is even possible for a parent to check their own child following some simple instructions.
  • It is important to follow-up on the deformation evolution, especially during childhood. This surveillance must be done by an orthopaedic doctor through regular check-ups, every 3 to 6 months, depending on the severity of the curve, the age of the child and the family history. These check-ups include a physical examination and an X-ray, if necessary.
  • Scoliosis is quantified by the measurement of the angle of your spine curvature on the X-ray. This is called the Cobb angle.
  • General non-surgical treatment indications are: skeletally immature children with curves of 15º or more combined with either proven progression (5º or more in six months or less) or strong family history.
A 30-SECOND ANNUAL POSTURAL SCREENING BETWEEN THE AGES OF 10 AND 15 CAN MAKE A LIFETIME OF DIFFERENCE:

Should you recognise any of these possible symptoms, contact your family doctor.

Normal (fig. 1)
  • head centred over mid-buttocks
  • shoulders level
  • shoulder blades level, with equal prominence
  • hips level and symmetrical
  • equal distance between arms and body
Possible Scoliosis (fig. 2)
  • head alignment to one side of mid buttocks
  • one shoulder higher
  • one shoulder blade higher with possible prominence
  • one hip more prominent than the other
  • unequal distance between arms and body
Normal (fig. 3)
  • both sides of upper and lower back symmetrical
  • hips level and symmetrical
Possible Scoliosis (fig. 4)
  • one side of rib cage and/or the lower back showing uneven symmetry
Normal (fig. 5)
  • even and symmetrical on both sides of the upper and lower back
Possible Scoliosis (fig. 6)
  • unequal symmetry of the upper back, lower back or both