There has been a recent increase in people downloading scoliometer apps and attempting to diagnose and measure scoliosis using their smartphones. In this blog, we'll endeavour to explain how scoliometer apps differ from actual medical equipment, and why you shouldn’t rely on the app readings to gauge the severity of your spinal curve.
What is a scoliometer and how do you use one?
A scoliometer is a medical instrument that is placed on the patient's back to measure the angle of scoliosis rotation.
At a typical scoliosis consultation, the consultant will first look at your back to see if there are any noticeable abnormalities (e.g. one shoulder higher than the other, one shoulder blade protruding more than the other).
Next, they will conduct an Adams forward bending test using the scoliometer:
- You will be asked to bend over and touch your toes so that your back is parallel with the ground.
- The scoliometer will be placed onto your back level at T1.
- The scoliometer will be moved slowly along your spine, and the needle will move in line with your scoliosis curvature.
How do scoliometer apps work?
The most popular scoliometer apps work in a similar way to the instrument itself. You conduct an Adams forward bending test by bending down to touch your toes, then laying your mobile phone across your spine and waiting for the scoliometer app to take a reading.
How accurate are scoliometer apps?
In our opinion, scoliometer apps are perfectly fine for patients and their families to use at home to track or check their scoliosis. However, there are issues with smartphone scoliometer apps that make them unfit for use in a professional, medical setting.
The most significant issue is that phones do not have a cut-out that allows the scoliometer to sit comfortably over the spine. This means that the likelihood of a false reading is incredibly high.
Secondly, the person using the app to measure your curvature (perhaps a friend or relative) will probably not have had the medical training required to carry out a scoliosis consultation correctly and thoroughly. You might find that, like most cases of self-diagnosis, you cause yourself or others undue stress because you diagnose a back problem that isn’t actually there, or at least isn't as severe as the app suggests.
If you think you might have scoliosis, don’t risk misdiagnosis using a scoliometer app. Book a Scoliosis SOS consultation today so that your back can be properly assessed using the correct medical equipment.