Tips to Help You Perform a Home Screening for Scoliosis

Tips to Help You Perform a Home Screening for Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a curve in the spine that affects more than 7 million people. That’s around 2-3% of the entire population of the United States. The best and most effective way to treat it, like most health conditions, is through early intervention. The sooner the problem is noticed by a parent, a professional, or a chiropractor, the quicker the appropriate steps can be taken to get the spine straightened back out the way it is supposed to be.

One issue with early intervention is the fact that only around half of the schools throughout the country require that there be scoliosis testing done on their students. So, the only people that can check on those kids are the parents and their doctor. If your child isn’t someone who frequents the doctor’s office, then the job of screening for the spine curvature is on your shoulders.

Who Should Be Screened

You may notice that your son or daughter seems to be leaning or even walking in a somewhat irregular fashion when their spine starts to curve. A shoulder could slump, and you could see that one of their sleeves looks like it’s longer than the other. There are a number of factors to watch out for that raise red flags for scoliosis. The most commonly affected are:

  • Kids ages 8 – 14
  • Girls – they are eight times more likely to get it than boys
  • Think or lanky body shaped people
  • Kids with parents or brothers or sisters with scoliosis

 If your son or daughter falls into any of those categories, now is the time to get them in the room to perform a home screening for scoliosis.

Steps for the Adams Forward Bending Test

You can do this test right in your bedroom or bathroom without the use of any specialized medical equipment. It shouldn’t replace the professional opinion of a doctor, however, and if you are concerned about the condition of your child’s spine, you should get in touch with them right away.

Step One: Have your child stand with their back facing you and their shirt off.

Step Two: Look for a curve while they are standing. Everything should appear symmetrical.

Step Three: Have your child bend at the waist forward.

Step Four: Again, look for anything that isn’t symmetrical like one side of the rib cage being higher than the other.

Any part of the body that doesn’t line up with the opposite part should be further examined.

Alternative Conditions To Watch For

Along with your regular at-home scoliosis check, there are several other actions that you can take to watch for a curve in between exams.

Proper Posture

Your child’s posture is the first change that you’re are most likely going to notice. When the spine starts to curve, everything from the shoulders down to the waist and hips moves out of alignment causing them to walk differently. When your child is standing up straight, check them from all different sides of the body. Look for a rounded back, an arm that looks further away from their body than the other one, a high shoulder, or uneven hips.

Walking Along

Watch your child as he or she walks. When scoliosis is present, their gait will appear off. They could also potentially have a limp or they could tilt to one side. If there is an appearance that one leg is shorter than the other, it could be the curvature of the spine causing that illusion.

Eyes and Ears

You do look at your child’s eyes quite frequently no doubt. The eyes should be in a straight line. If there is any sort of tilt in the eyeline or if the eyes aren’t aligned with the hips, it could be an indicator of scoliosis. An inner ear that is forward to the shoulder is a red flag as well.

Clothes Check

Clothing is another giveaway when it comes to the spine curving from scoliosis. While you may not see your child with their clothes off all the time, you can look for things like an uneven hemline or a pant leg that hangs down lower on one side than the other side.

Stopping Progression

In the event that you do find a spine curve, there are things that can be done to prevent the problem from getting worse.

Although it might seem impossible to keep your child from texting, you need to stop them if they have scoliosis. The forward and bent position that the head is in while typing is more pressure and compression in the spinal cord region.

Sports like swimming and football are not a good match for a curved spine. Swimming for long periods of time flattens the thoracic spine and makes the curve progress more quickly.

Football is high-contact and any hit can be traumatic to a curved spine. Additionally, if your child has a gene for scoliosis, it can be triggered through those hard contacts as well.

Getting Back on Track

Scoliosis is measured by the degree of the curve in the spine itself. In a lot of instances, there is no diagnosis given until the spine is already at 30 degrees. That is when the involuntary exercises are taught to the patient so that the muscle memory and automatic habits can work to straighten the spine back out.

When the retraining starts before a 20-degree curve is reached, there is a higher chance that it will go back down to 10 degrees or less than if you wait to start treatment until it reaches that 30 degrees or more point.

You know your child better than anyone does. At the first sign of any of the above problems, get in touch with your family doctor for a thorough examination. The brain is going to have to be retrained to straighten the spine back out. The sooner you can start on that, the quicker your child will be back to normal.

Keep in mind while doing this test that no human body is absolutely perfect. There are going to be small differences in every back that you ever look at. However, if something looks a little bit abnormal to you, or if you ever feel like your child may be dealing with a scoliosis issue, seek a scoliosis chiropractor for help.

About Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor’s of science degree. Then he moved on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded a Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998.

He became passionate about being a Anchorage chiropractor after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment.

Dr. Wells is a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.