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What Is Scoliosis?

How Is It Diagnosed?

In order to make a diagnosis, your healthcare provider will:
 
  • Ask you about your medical and family history
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Order tests.
 
An x-ray of the spine can also help your healthcare provider decide if you have scoliosis. The x-ray will allow your doctor to measure the curve of your spine in degrees (such as 25 degrees) and see its location, shape, and pattern.

(Click Spinal Curvature for more information about the curvature of the spine.)
 

How Is Scoliosis Treated?

Treatment is based on:
 
  • The person's age
  • How much more he or she is likely to grow
  • The degree and pattern of the curve
  • The type of scoliosis.
 
Your doctor may recommend one of the following options for treatment:
 
  • Observation
  • Bracing
  • Surgery.
 
Observation
Observation is used for people who are still growing and who have a curve of less than 25 degrees.
 
The doctor will check the curve every four to six months to see if it is getting better or worse.

(Click Scoliosis Treatment for more information about treatment options.)
 
Bracing
Your healthcare provider may advise bracing in order to stop a curve from getting worse. Bracing may be used when:
 
  • The person is still growing and has a curve of more than 25 to 30 degrees
  • The person is still growing and has a curve between 20 and 29 degrees that is getting worse
  • The person has at least two years of growth remaining and has a curve that is between 20 and 29 degrees.
 
However, females who have started their monthly period should not use bracing.

(Click Back Brace for Scoliosis for more information about back braces.)
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