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Back Pain Health Center

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Scoliosis - Exams and Tests

Scoliosis testing usually begins with a history and physical exam. This includes the forward-bending test, a simple test in which the child bends forward at the waist, arms hanging loosely and palms touching, and the examiner looks for unevenness in the child's back or ribs. A scoliometer can be used to measure and estimate the rotation of the spinal curve.

If the findings of the history and physical exam show a significant spinal curve, an X-ray of the spine may be taken to get a more precise measurement of the spinal curve.

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Skeletal age, as determined by the Risser sign, is also a helpful measure to find out the risk that the curve will get worse.

If someone in your family has scoliosis, your children should be checked regularly.

Neurological testing may be done on children who have scoliosis to see if they have certain disorders that are often associated with scoliosis, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.

Early detection

Screening means doing a simple test to see whether further testing might be needed. Some states require screening for scoliosis by law. But experts don't agree with whether or not to screen for scoliosis.3, 4 Screening can lead to early treatment and may prevent curves from getting worse, but screening can also lead to more testing or treatment for children who would not have needed it. Some experts believe that children (especially daughters) of women who have scoliosis should be screened for scoliosis regularly throughout their late childhood and teen years.2 If you are concerned about screening for scoliosis, talk to your child's doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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