Published October 23, 2011

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It is understandable that a parent may feel a little distressed if they believe that their child has scoliosis, however it is vitally important that you know the difference between a self diagnosis and that carried out by a physician.

Scoliosis is a condition of the spine that can cause great discomfort and stress to the sufferer. The curving of the spine is something that can affect young people from a relatively early age, and cause great self conscious embarrassment and anxiety. This is the reason why so many people opt to have a screening for it as early as possible. This article looks at ways in which scoliosis is screened for, and how you can even make some attempt to carry out a self screening process, one that may even do as good a job as that which the medical professional will do. It must be stated that if you do opt for any kind of self screening process, it is important that you also gain the advice of a medical professional. This kind of advice can never be substituted for your own assessment, so it is vital that you follow up any self screening with a visit to your local physician if you are concerned about scoliosis.

Scoliosis can greatly affect the flexibility of the sufferer, and even, when cases are more severe, affect the free movement of the sufferer. This can be extremely distressing and cause all sorts of problems for the mental wellbeing of the patient. Since scoliosis is basically an abnormal curve to the back, it is relatively easy to know when it is occurring. If one looks at a person's back from slightly above or, better still, directly above, you will be able to notice the curvature.

The first thing you should do for your child is go for a physical examination. Doctors are of course the first recommended port of call for this aspect of the treatment plan, and it is advisable that you take yourself to the physician for this initial consultation. However, once you realise that all this entails is being shirtless and bending forward prior to the medical examination, one can see how it can be done by someone at home.

Essentially, any physician is looking for any abnormal variations when it comes to the length and curvature of the spine. Children are especially open to screening, because the effect of scoliosis is pronounced in younger bodies, and this is why children are often screened in this way at school. With the permission of the parents, the child undergoes the examination. Since discomfort and strain is often a common sign of scoliosis when a sufferer bends forward, it can be quite easy to note what is potentially a sign of the condition. Parents do obviously have to be involved and often request an examination themselves for their child. It can be a little upsetting for a child, but it is often best to check at an early age.

Once a suspected case of scoliosis has been made clear from the physician (or if you think that you have the condition), then it is important that the next stage is proceeded towards as quickly as possible, this is where the x-ray comes into play.

Having an x-ray is vital when it comes to ascertaining if there is indeed a scoliosis case to deal with. As you can understand, if such a condition is suspected, then the x-ray is there to back up the examination with the picture of the condition. This is the best way to get a clear an accurate picture of the extent of the curvature of the spine. This is something that you cannot adequately do in the home environment, so it is most definitely the next stage after the initial examination. So if you are at the stage where you have checked the spine of your child, for example, and you suspect a clear case of scoliosis, then you should now move towards the point where you use x-ray technology to gain a full and clear picture of the problem.

A full diagnosis can only really be made once the physician has carried out the physical examination, and backed this up with the x-ray pictures. Add to this the taking of a full medical history, and you have a complete diagnosis of scoliosis of the spine.

The medical history is an important part of the picture. Once the physician has this to hand and the other factors, then they can make a full diagnosis. Then treatment can proceed.

Treatment of any kind will only really be offered if the curvature of the spine is deemed to be significant. This means that it is pronounced and causing enough discomfort to the sufferer that it will debilitate them in the future f not at the pint of diagnosis. The general benchmark as regards 'significant' is if the curvature is 25 degrees.

So there you have it. By all means take the opportunity to diagnoses scoliosis at home. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, many medical conditions are diagnosed or at least suspected by people before they approach medical professionals. However, as this article explains, having a full diagnosis done by physicians helps to assess the depth of the problem, and therefore the move towards treatment.

If your child is suffering from what you believe to be scoliosis, it shouldn't be too hard to notice as you go about your caring for them. But general medical treatment, whichever country you are in, is not always guaranteed. Remember that the 25 degrees benchmark is a general one for most practitioners and healthcare providers, and if your child falls below this, other treatments may be an option.

About Dr Kevin Lau
Dr Kevin Lau is the founder of Health In Your Hands, a series of tools for Scoliosis prevention and treatment. The set includes his bestselling books Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment and An Essential Guide for Scoliosis and a Healthy Pregnancy, a companion Scoliosis Exercises for Prevention and Correction DVD, and the innovative iPhone and Andoid application ScolioTrack.

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