Evaluating and Screening for Scoliosis
Scoliosis occurs in both sexes, and can affect people at different stages in life. However there is predominance for this condition to affect adolescent girls – accelerating the severity of the curvature in a very short period of time.
Early detection, diagnoses, and treatment of scoliosis is important and imperative in successfully halting the progress of this condition. The disproportionately high rate of adolescents being directly affected requires effective methods in screening for scoliosis.
How is Scoliosis assessed
Scoliosis is measured by the degree of curvature
The Cobb method is used to measure the amount of curvature. Lines are drawn parallel to the end plates of the vertebrae bodies at the beginning and end of the curve. A second line is drawn perpendicular to the first lines, and the angle between these is equal to the Cobb measurement. Please note: the test is not exact. Each time the x-ray is taken the bodies positioning may make the result slightly different. Therefore there is a 3-5 degree error margin.
Classification of the severity of the curve
Curves are classified as Mild, Moderate, and Severe
- Curves of less than 20 degrees
- Curves of less than 10 degrees are considered to be in the normal limits of the general population, thus not warranting treatment.
- Curves from 20 to 50 degrees
- Moderate scoliosis is associated with early structural changes in the vertebrae and rib cage.
- Curves of 40 to 50 degrees or greater
- Severe scoliosis involves significant rotational deformity of the vertebrae and ribs.
- In adults, curves of 40 degrees or greater are associated with pain and degenerative joint diseases of the spine.