The Process

The possibility of scoliosis can be found in various ways: your child’s doctor may discover a sign during a routine visit, the school may have a scoliosis screening program, or perhaps your child has mentioned some symptoms.

If you think your child may have scoliosis, you should have the doctor confirm this.When you go to the appointment, bring along a list which includes:

•    Details about previous medical problems your child has had
•    Details about medical problems that run in the family
•    Descriptions of your child’s signs and symptoms
•    Questions you have for the doctor

You can also expect that the doctor may ask you or your child questions such as:

•    Is there any family history of scoliosis?
•    When were the signs and symptoms first noticed?
•    Is any pain present?
•    Are there any breathing difficulties?
•    Has there been any rapid growth recently?


The doctor will also check for symptoms through a physical examination, which may include having your child stand or bend over from the waist. A neurological exam may also be done to check your child for abnormal reflexes, muscle weakness or numbness.

An X-ray can show whether your child has scoliosis as well as how severe it is. If an underlying condition is suspected, such as a tumor, additional tests may be ordered such as:

•    Computerized tomography (CT) scan: this is used in combination with X-rays to provide more detailed images
•    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): this uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create finely detailed images of soft tissues and bones
•    Bone scan: this uses injected radioactive material to identify injured bones

If scoliosis is detected, your child may be recommended to a pediatric scoliosis specialist for further observation and treatment.