Experts Recommend Regular Scoliosis Screenings in Adolescents for Early Detection
Scoliosis, or a curvature of the spine, develops in one out of every 20 adolescents. Signs of scoliosis include the head not being in line with the tailbone, one shoulder higher than the other, the shoulder blade (scapula) being uneven in height and level, and uneven waistline or hips. Treatments for scoliosis range from the non-invasive, such as wearing a corrective brace, to advanced surgical procedures to correct the spine curvature.
Although only 5 percent of those with scoliosis will require treatment, scoliosis screening is important in order to detect it early and begin treatment if necessary. Optimally, children should be screened yearly in grades fifth through eighth. Scoliosis screenings can be conducted in a group setting in private areas of a school, such as a locker room or nurse’s office. Experts recommend screeners use the hands on/clothes on method of screening. With this method, the screener places her hands on the child’s shoulders and hips to test for symmetry, but the child can keep his or her clothes on to protect privacy and decrease anxiety.