Scoliosis is usually diagnosed by a combination of physical examination and specialized X-rays.
During the physical examination, the physician looks for degree of rotation in the curvature of the spine as well as secondary changes in other parts of the body that may include:
- Uneven shoulders
- Rib hump or asymmetry
- Low back hump or asymmetry
- A change in the shape of the waist
- Uneven pelvic bones or hips
Frequently, these changes are not visible in a person standing but become noticeable when the person bends forward.
X-rays are important for pinpointing the shape and location of the curvature as well as for measuring the degree of the curvature so it can be classified.
Treatment decisions are based upon a combination of factors: Degree of curvature, curvature location, risk of progression, spinal imbalance, underlying disease progression and degree of pain the patient is experiencing.
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