Font Size

Scoliosis (cont.)

Scoliosis Symptoms

These symptoms are only those associated with the spine being curved:

  • Your head may be off center.
  • One hip or shoulder may be higher than the other.
  • You may walk with a rolling gait.
  • The opposite sides of the body may not appear level.
  • You may experience back pain or tire easily during activities that require excessive trunk (chest and belly) movement.

When to Seek Medical Care for Scoliosis

Scoliosis usually occurs around age 10 years. Most school systems have screening programs that look for scoliosis. The most common test is to have the child stand with his or her feet straight ahead and with knees locked and then slowly bend over to touch their toes. If the school notifies you that they are concerned, you should contact your doctor to make a routine appointment within the next one to two months.

If your doctor (or pediatrician) examines your child and is suspicious, the doctor may repeat the exam in four to six months to see if there is any change. Most children do not need to be treated for scoliosis when the curvature is mild.

Scoliosis Exams and Tests

The physical exam involves having the child undressed from the waist up. The child faces forward with the feet straight ahead and the palms inward. With the knees locked, the child slowly bends over at the waist and tries to touch their toes. The doctor then looks at the spine for evidence of an abnormal curvature.

X-rays may be necessary in order to measure the curvature. Depending on the degree of the curvature and whether it gets worse over time, the doctor may recommend treatment.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/12/2016
Medical Author:

Back Pain Quiz IQ

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Scoliosis:

Scoliosis - Treatment

How was your scoliosis treated?

Scoliosis - Experience

Please describe your experience with scoliosis (abnormal curve in the spine).

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Idiopathic Scoliosis »

Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of spinal deformity confronting orthopedic surgeons.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary