SCREENING FOR SCOLIOSIS – SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
A simple postural assessment allows for the screening of scoliosis. By observing the person from the back and then asking them to bend over, one may note the following:
1 – Uneven shoulder height
2 – Asymmetrical shoulder blades
3 – Asymmetrical waist
4 – Tilted hips
5 – One arm hanging away from trunk
6 – Hump on the back (gibbosity) when bending forward
Image taken from Wikipedia used with permission of Blausen.com staff. "Blausen gallery 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762. - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Backache and scoliosis
Can a backache be a sign of scoliosis?
Because backaches can be due to many different causes and one can suffer from scoliosis without feeling any pain, backaches cannot be regarded as symptomatic of scoliosis.
- Should scoliosis be present, there is a good chance that back pain will ensue in the more or less long term.
- If you suffer from back pain, consult a professional (chiropractor or doctor) in order to establish its cause and obtain adequate treatment.
PSEUDO (FALSE) SCOLIOSIS
There is a distinction to be made between genuine scoliosis and what is referred to as a scoliotic attitude or as “pseudo scoliosis.”
A scoliotic attitude, unlike scoliosis:
- is largely associated with poor posture and translates as a lateral imbalance of the upper body. There is no vertebral rotation, therefore no protuberance (hump) on the back when bending forward.
- is largely due to either a difference in the length of the legs (pelvic imbalance), poor postural habits or repeated overloading of one side of the body (school bag with shoulder strap); all of which may lead to muscle imbalance.
- may be due to the adoption of a position intended to alleviate pain when the patient suffers, for example, from a herniated disc or spinal tumour.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSULT A DOCTOR?
If you think you or a family member may be suffering from scoliosis or another spinal deformity, contact us, so that we may confirm the diagnosis using the appropriate assessments and x-rays.