Diagnosis

The doctor will initially take a detailed medical history and may ask questions about recent growth. During the physical exam, your doctor may have your child stand and then bend forward from the waist, with arms hanging loosely, to see if one side of the rib cage is more prominent than the other.

Your doctor may also perform a neurological exam to check for:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Abnormal reflexes

Imaging tests

Plain X-rays can confirm the diagnosis of scoliosis and reveal the severity of the spinal curvature. If a doctor suspects that an underlying condition — such as a tumor — is causing the scoliosis, he or she may recommend additional imaging tests, such as an MRI.

March 08, 2016
References
  1. Questions and answers about scoliosis in children and adolescents. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scoliosis. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
  2. Introduction to scoliosis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00633. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
  3. Kliegman RM, et al. The spine. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
  4. Scherl SA. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: Clinical features, evaluation and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
  5. Scherl SA. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: Management and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
  6. Shaughnessy WJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 20, 2016.
  7. Shands AR. End result of the treatment of idiopathic scoliosis. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 1941;23:963.
  8. Brown AY. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 8, 2016.