- Structural—curvature with spinal deformity:
- Functional—curvature without spinal deformity
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- Congenital—defect occurs during fetal development
- Syndromic—defect occurs as a result of an underlying health condition that affects the nerves, muscles, or bones in the back and spine
- Idiopathic—defect occurs without a specific cause, but is likely due to a combination of multiple genetic factors
- Muscle imbalances
- Differing leg lengths
- Conditions that cause muscles to remain tense and spasm
- Delayed puberty in boys and girls
- Delayed first period in girls
- Uneven shoulders
- Prominent shoulder blade or ribs
- Uneven waist
- An elevated hip
- Leaning to one side
- Chronic back pain—rare in teens, but more common in adults
- Body image issues
- Breathing difficulties due to pressure on the lungs and heart from a compressed rib cage
- Rarely, cor pulmonale—right-sided heart failure caused by high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs
- Assessing posture and spinal curvature in the upright position
- Adam's forward bend test to:
- Look at spinal curvature
- Detect imbalances in the rib cage
- Look for other abnormalities along the back
- Pattern of movement while walking
- Checking the skin to look for abnormal lesions
- Scoliometer—a measurement device used to assess the curvature and rotation of the spine
- Check the severity of scoliosis by measuring the Cobb angle
- Detect vertebral or structural abnormalities
- Assess level and pace of bone development.
- Severity of the curve
- Child's age
- Child's stage of growth
- If back pain is involved, or other if your child has other symptoms
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
Scoliosis Research Society http://www.srs.org
Caring for Kids http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Altaf F, Gibson A, et al. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. BMJ. 2013;346:f2508.
Idiopathic scoliosis in children and adolescents. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00353. Updated March 2010. Accessed November 20, 2013.
Questions and answers about scoliosis in children and adolescents. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Scoliosis/default.asp. Updated July 2013. Accessed November 20, 2013.
Scoliosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated October 29, 2013. Accessed November 20, 2013.
What is scoliosis? Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Scoliosis/scoliosis%5Fff.asp. Updated March 2009. Accessed November 20, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2013 -
- Update Date: 11/20/2013 -