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Scoliosis - Diagnosis


Scoliosis is usually noticed by a change of appearance of the back. There may be a visible curve in the spine. The ribs may be more prominent on one side producing a rib hump. One shoulder may be higher than the other, or the shoulder blade more prominent. Sometimes one hip may be more prominent.

Back pain is not usually a big part of childhood scoliosis.

Examination will often include the ‘forward bend test’ which helps the doctor to determine if the scoliosis is significant.

A careful examination of the nerves, muscles and skin will often exclude other causes of scoliosis.

It is usual for x-rays to be taken when seeing a specialist. This is to make sure the correct x-rays are taken reducing the exposure to radiation that can occur with x-rays. MRI scans are not always required. A specialist opinion from a doctor treating scoliosis is recommended and usually a patient will be assessed and followed up until they have stopped growing.
Growth is usually complete at about two years after puberty.
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