Scoliosis can occur at any stage of life, and the patient's symptoms at time of diagnosis can vary hugely from one case to the next: one person might be entirely unaware of their spinal curvature until a doctor spots it on an X-ray, while the next person might be suffering from extreme pain and greatly reduced mobility.
Today, we'd like to answer two different (but related) questions: what will a doctor look for when diagnosing whether a patient has scoliosis, and at what age is scoliosis usually diagnosed?
What do doctors look for when diagnosing scoliosis?
The first step to finding out whether or not you have scoliosis is visiting your GP, who will conduct an examination to see if you have an abnormally curved spine. Your GP will look for a number of different symptoms that may indicate the presence of scoliosis, including:
- Uneven shoulder blades
- Uneven hips
- Leaning to one side
- Back pain
- Cardiovascular issues
- Breathing problems
If your GP suspects that you may be suffering from scoliosis, you will be referred to the hospital for an X-ray scan. The images obtained during this scan will then be analysed by the hospital doctor, and this is when you will receive your scoliosis diagnosis if your spine is abnormally curved.
(Remember, every spine is slightly curved - you will only be diagnosed with scoliosis if the angle of your spinal curve exceeds 10 degrees.)
After you have been diagnosed with scoliosis, the next step is to attend a specialist consultation to discuss the best treatment route for your spinal condition.
At what age is scoliosis usually diagnosed?
Scoliosis affects people of all ages, and some people go many years before receiving a diagnosis. That said, idiopathic scoliosis - the most common form of scoliosis - is usually diagnosed when the patient is between 10 and 15 years old. The cause of idiopathic scoliosis is unknown, yet it accounts for around 80% of all cases.
In some cases, scoliosis can also be diagnosed earlier in the patient's life - for example, children who suffer from cerebral palsy may develop scoliosis as a result of this condition.
Scoliosis also affects adults and the elderly. Some cases of idiopathic scoliosis are not diagnosed until adulthood, but there is also degenerative scoliosis, which occurs later in life due to the ageing process.
If you are looking for an effective non-surgical scoliosis treatment option, please contact Scoliosis SOS today to arrange a consultation.