If you think that you or your child might be suffering from scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine), it is best to go and see your GP for an informed scoliosis diagnosis. That being said, here are some signs to look out for that may indicate the presence of scoliosis:
- A visibly curved spine
- One shoulder blade being more prominent or higher than the other
- Uneven hips
- One leg being shorter than the other
- Breathing issues
- Back pain (although this alone is not a reliable indicator of scoliosis)
- Naturally leaning to one side
- Clothes hanging unnaturally
If you find yourself suffering from these symptoms, you should book an appointment with your GP. Here's how things will typically progress from there:
Step 1: GP Consultation
At your consultation with your GP, they will examine your back and refer you to a hospital doctor if they suspect you are suffering from scoliosis.
At your GP consultation, your medical history and family history will be discussed to determine if there are any external factors that could contribute to your condition. An Adam's Bend Forward Test may be conducted if the patient is a child - this requires the patient to bend at the waist with their feet held together, arms extended and palms touching. This test allows the GP to examine side-to-side asymmetry using a Scoliometer.
Step 2: X-ray & Hospital Diagnosis
If you are referred to the hospital after a possible scoliosis diagnosis, an X-ray will be taken of your back to see if your spine is curved and, if so, to what degree. An X-ray is a type of scan that uses a small amount of radiation to give the hospital a better look at your spine. The X-ray scan allows the hospital to achieve a detailed image of your spine, including the thoracic spine (upper back) and lumbar spine (lower back).
Step 3: Specialist Consultation
After receiving a scoliosis diagnosis in the hospital, you will be referred to a specialist to discuss which treatment method(s) would be the best next step for you. Your options will most likely be either bracing, physical therapy, observation or surgery.
Here at Scoliosis SOS, we specialise in spinal conditions and we especially work to help those diagnosed with scoliosis. Through a non-surgical physical therapy programme known as ScolioGold, we help patients to improve their quality of life, alongside reducing the angle of their spinal curves. Our scoliosis treatment courses are usually four weeks long, and we can provide our patients with accommodation in our self-catering apartments in the City of London.