Symptoms of Adult Scoliosis
The most common symptom of adult scoliosis is back pain that becomes worse with activity over a period of time. The patient may feel pain in one or both of their legs while walking and standing. Pain tends to dissipate when the patient is in a seated position. Other physical signs that may develop depending on the severity of adult scoliosis include:
- Asymmetry: The shoulder or hip on one side may appear to be higher than the other
- Difficulty walking normally or disturbances in gait due to one leg being longer than the other
Diagnosis of Adult Scoliosis
Adult scoliosis is diagnosed based on a careful physical examination and additional diagnostic tests. During the physical examination, a doctor will examine the patient's back and note the spinal curvature. The patient is also observed while bending in different directions, which shows the flexibility of the spine. Additionally, a neurologic examination will be used to evaluate a patient's reflexes, sensation, and muscle strength.
Diagnostic Imaging Tests:
- X-rays: X-rays are taken from the front and sides to visualize and exactly measure the curvature of the spine.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan: This type of imaging test helps visualize the nerves, as well as the spinal cord.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: A CT scan of the spine helps detect any problems associated with the vertebrae.