How to Screen Your Child for Scoliosis

Scoliosis Insights:

June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month. Given that well-check appointments have been postponed due the COVID-19 pandemic and one key to successfully treating scoliosis is catching it early, we recommend that parents do a simple scoliosis screening at home.

To identify the potential presence of scoliosis, have your child:

  1. Stand up comfortably with their feet forward and their knees straight. Then, stand behind your child and look for any of the following:
    1. Visible asymmetry of the spine
    2. Uneven shoulders (one shoulder being higher than the other)
    3. Uneven torso, waist or hips
  2. Next, have your child bend forward and hang their arms/hands downward. While still standing behind your child, view their back at eye level and look for a prominence or hump on one side.

If you identify any of the above characteristics contact your pediatrician.

An estimated 7 million Americans have scoliosis* — defined as an abnormal curvature of the spine greater than 10 degrees with observable three-dimensional prominence. It often appears during growth spurts in girls and boys between the ages of 10 and 15; however, scoliosis can affect infants, young children and adults. Most curves are minor and require only monitoring by a doctor. Bracing is typically recommended for curves of 20 degrees or more, and larger curves (over 50 degrees) may require surgery.

The consequences of missing warning signs can be detrimental to a child’s health. Luke Stikeleather, President and Founder of National Scoliosis Center says, “Early detection can mean the difference between a child wearing a brace, versus a child needing spinal fusion surgery.”

Scoliosis treatment with non-operative bracing is achievable through early intervention and a dedicated care team that consists of the child, their family, an orthopedist and an orthotist.

*National Scoliosis Foundation,