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Once you have this basic information, the Scoliosis Health Self-Assessment Tool™ is a way for parents or children with suspected spine deformities to determine whether they may require treatment. Scoliosis is not a single disease, and has many causes. Patients can use the Scoliosis Health Self-Assessment Tool™ to determine the risk of their curve requiring further evaluation or treatment. The Scoliosis Health Self-Assessment Tool™ is intended to serve as a general guideline for helping determine the next step for treatment. It is not intended to replace your regular doctor. Answer the following questions. The scoliosis assessment wizard will guide you through the process. At the end of the questionnaire, you will be given a risk score that will help guide you through future treatment.

To use the Scoliosis Health Self-Assessment Tool™, answer the following questions:

I. Do you have scoliosis?

Yes. I have scoliosis and it has been confirmed by an x-ray.
Yes. My doctor examined me and suspects that I have scoliosis.
I'm not sure. I think that my back and shoulders look crooked.
My back is hunched over and my posture looks bad. (Kyphosis)
I'm not sure, but I have a family member that has scolioisis.
I'm not sure.

II. Some information about me: Age

Less than 10
Older than 14
Less than 12
Older than 17
Questions for girls:
I have started having periods
I have not started having periods
I'm not sure what periods are.

III. What type of scoliosis do you have?

Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis. The term "idiopathic" is a doctor term for "we don't know the cause". It is a problem that typically affects girls in their teenage growth spurt. There are also juvenile (age 3-10 years) and infantile (age 0-3 years) forms of idiopathic scoliosis, but they are less common.


Congenital scoliosis is the result of malformations of the spine at the time is formed in the womb. The process of formation of the spine is extremely complex. The fact that this process ever is completed without mistakes is amazing. However, there are situations where mishaps in the formation process result in either a failure of formation of part of a vertebra (hemivertebra), failure of segmentation of a vertebra (two vertebra stuck together on one side or a unilateral bar), or some combination of the two. The result is essentially a growth disturbance of the spine that produces a curvature. No two cases of congenital scolioisis are the same, and each pattern requires careful assessment to determine the risk that a serious curve will occur and need treatment. If you have congenital scoliosis, then a doctor should be involved in your management.


Neuromuscular scoliosis refers to curvature of the spine associated with a neurological condition like cerebral palsy or spina bifida. There are many other forms of neuromuscular scoliosis as well. Each form has its own unique natural history and risks for causing greater problems. Neuromuscular scoliosis requires management by a doctor who is specialized in these types of curves and their associated problems.

Limb length Inequality

A difference in the length of your legs is quite common. You can check this by standing in front of a mirror and seeing if your hips are level. Experiment with how your hips look if you take one shoe off and see what that looks like. Most people can tolerate up to 3/4" of difference with very few side effects. The problem with a limb length difference is that it will give you a small scoliosis. The good news is that these curves rarely get worse unless the limb length difference gets worse.


There are other causes of scoliosis. The four previous forms are the most common.

Not sure of the different causes of scoliosis.

If your doctor said you have scoliosis and didn't tell you which type, send them an e-mail and ask!

IV. Do you have any of the following symptoms?

Back pain
Problems controlling bowel or bladder
Weakness in my legs or arms
A patch of hair or a dimple on my spine
Lots of spots on my skin that look like coffee stains (café-au-lait spots)
Problems with my heart, lungs or kidneys

V. Where is the apex of the curve located?


VI. Has your doctor told you that you have spinal anomalies?


VII. What is the number of degrees of your curvature?

Spinal curvature is measured on an xray of the spine using the Cobb method.
< 10 degrees
10-20 degrees
20-40 degrees
> 40 degrees
I don't know my curve measurement

The materials on this Web site are for your general educational information only. Information you read on this Web site cannot replace the relationship that you have with your health care professional. We do not practice medicine or provide medical services or advice as a part of this Web site. You should always talk to your health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Published: December 13, 2001
  • Updated: July 22, 2008