Scoliosis diagnosis techniques

It’s likely that you’ve received a scoliosis diagnosis if you developed an abnormal curvature of the spine as a child or teenager. However, if you are an adult who is now experiencing new scoliosis symptoms or an existing condition is worsening, you should see your physician for an updated scoliosis diagnosis.

Adult onset scoliosis is relatively rare, but it can develop from spinal degeneration or a neuromuscular condition like cerebral palsy. It is still just as important to consult a physician who can evaluate the severity of your condition and determine the best course of treatment for you.

What to expect at your consultation

Getting an updated or new scoliosis diagnosis can be a source of anxiety. However, finding treatment that gives you the best chance of relieving symptoms and returning to a more active lifestyle depends on an accurate diagnosis.

At your consultation, your physician will likely perform a physical examination to test your reflexes and range of motion. This can help pinpoint areas or motions that cause pain. You may also be asked to do a forward bend test as a more specific scoliosis diagnosis technique. These tests involve bending over and touching your toes to closely examine the shape and curve of your spine. Finally, you and your physician will review your medical history, including such topics as:

  • When your scoliosis developed
  • If scoliosis runs in your family
  • What symptoms you have been experiencing
  • What other treatments you have already tried

An X-ray or MRI will likely be necessary for the physician to confirm a scoliosis diagnosis. Diagnostic imagery like this will determine the severity of your spinal curvature. The development of other spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis or spinal nerve compression can potentially be detected as well.

Treating scoliosis — what’s next?

Once a scoliosis diagnosis has been confirmed, you and your physician can discuss your options for treatment. Many individuals will be able to manage their symptoms with a combination of conservative, nonsurgical treatments. Effective methods include physical therapy, exercise, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and epidural steroid injections.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary, either to decompress spinal nerves being affected by the scoliosis or to address the development of the spinal curvature itself. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive outpatient procedures that treat the symptoms of scoliosis for adult patients who have exhausted conservative options.

Our procedures use a smaller, muscle-sparing incision that leads to a shorter recovery time^ compared to traditional open back surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute for your no-cost MRI review* to find out if you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.