Scoliosis tests — what a diagnosis can involve

Degenerative 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 plan.

The physical exam

Make sure to let your doctor 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, your doctor will likely perform a physical exam that includes the forward-bending test. This is a simple test that involves bending over and letting your arms hang loosely toward the floor. This allows for examination of the shape of the spine and ribs to see if there are any areas of abnormal curvature or other issues.

Medical imaging tests

If any structural changes are detected during the physical exam, medical imaging tests will likely be ordered to 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 scoliosis tests

Conservative treatments may be recommended if your doctor 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 nonsurgical approaches prove ineffective, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about your options for minimally invasive procedures aimed at addressing symptoms related to adult degenerative lumbar scoliosis.

We can help you receive a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.