Since the changes in the spine initially are not accompanied by symptoms, the diagnosis "scoliosis" is often a coincidence, for example, in a pediatrician check-up or when making an X-ray for other reasons.
Scoliosis Diagnosis: Physical Examination
The following signs are typical changes that suggest a suspected scoliosis during physical examination, even if there is no pain or other symptoms of scoliosis. In stand:
- Spine is bent to the left or right
- Shoulder are not straight - if you think of a line, this does not run parallel to the ground
- The space between the waist and the hanging arms (waist triangles) is asymmetrical in comparison
- Head is held at an angle
When leaning forward, you can see that the back is not the same height on both sides of the spine:
- On the one hand there is a survey by the rotation of the vertebrae ("rib hump" or in case of scoliosis on the lumbar spine "lumbar bulge"),
- while the other side in comparison to particularly flat ("Rippental") appears.
Scoliosis diagnosis: further examinations
The most important tool for diagnosing scoliosis is the X-ray of the spine. This is essential to determine scoliosis, its extent and location. For this, the angle of curvature is measured according to Cobb - this is more than 15 degrees, there is a need for scoliosis therapy.
A malposition with a curvature below 10 degrees Cobb angle are quite common and only the least affected need treatment. Since many untreated scoliosis often worsen, early detection and follow-up are of great importance.
In the case of follow-up checks, the radiation exposure can be reduced by measuring the back surface (X-ray stereography) instead of x-raying the spinal column. Thus, the doctor quickly recognizes whether the condition is stable. In addition, there are special examinations, for example, to check the function of the lungs and heart (body plethysmography, ECG) or to clarify whether due to the scoliosis impairments of other joints or organs exist (ultrasound).