About Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature in the spine. The most common type of scoliosis is known as Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) which develops during the adolescent growth spurt and accounts for around 85% of scoliosis cases. The greatest risk of scoliosis progressing is whilst the child still growing. It is reported to affect approximately 2-3 people per 100.

Signs and symptoms:

  • One shoulder blade that is higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade that sticks out more than the other
  • Uneven hips or leg length
  • A rotating spine
  • Back pain

Screening

There is currently no screening in the UK for this condition, however, it has been suggested that screening could help detect the condition at an earlier stage where non-surgical treatment may prevent the scoliosis from worsening.

The UK National Screening Committee reviewed the decision not to screen for scoliosis in July 2016, citing the following reasons for not recommending national screening:

  • No agreed cut off with consensus to treat
  • Further test requires x-ray, exposing people to radiation
  • Unclear whether treatment is better than waiting for symptoms to develop

We believe that early identification and intervention can allow for effective non-surgical treatment of scoliosis.

The Adam’s Forward Bend Test can be used to screen for scoliosis and can be carried out by the parent or carer if they are concerned that their child may have scoliosis. For this test, the child is asked to link their hands together and bend forward to around 90 degrees at the waist. If curvature of the spine is present, one side of the upper back will be visibly higher than the other.