Scoliosis Tests – What a Diagnosis Will Involve

Scoliosis tests may be necessary if you are experiencing neck or back pain and have developed some structural changes in the shape of your spine. If you begin to notice that one hip seems higher than the other, one shoulder blade has become more prominent, or you are walking with a slight change in gait, there is a possibility that degenerative scoliosis is the cause. The only way to know for sure what is causing these changes in your spine is to get a proper diagnosis from a physician so that he or she can evaluate your condition and prescribe an effective treatment regimen.

The physical exam

Make sure to let your physician know that you are concerned about the possibility of degenerative scoliosis, or adult-onset scoliosis, so that he or she can perform the proper scoliosis tests. In addition to discussing your personal medical history, your family medical history and your symptoms with you, the physician will likely perform a physical exam that includes the forward-bending test. The forward-bending test is a simple test that involves bending over and letting your arms hang loosely toward the floor. This allows the physician to examine the shape of the spine and ribs to see if there are any areas of abnormal curvature or other anatomical abnormalities.

Medical imaging tests

If any structural abnormalities are detected during the physical exam, medical imaging tests will likely be ordered so that the physician can get a clearer view of the spine’s shape. These scoliosis tests can include an X-ray or MRI. The tests also may allow the physician to determine if any of the following degenerative changes in the spine may be playing a role in the development of degenerative scoliosis:

  • Spinal arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis

The next step after positive scoliosis tests

Conservative treatments may be recommended if your physician determines that you have adult-onset scoliosis. These treatments may include physical therapy, exercise and muscle conditioning, prescription or over-the-counter medication or epidural steroid injections. If non-surgical approaches prove ineffective, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about your options for minimally invasive procedures aimed at addressing spinal curvature and/or nerve compression related to adult degenerative lumbar scoliosis.