Scoliosis seems to run in families—someone with a parent who has this affliction has a greater than average chance of suffering from it as well. According to the Scoliosis Research Society, “About 1 in 3 children whose parents have scoliosis will develop scoliosis.” The most commonly used diagnostic test for scoliosis—though it is not sufficient in itself to reach a diagnosis—is the Adams Forward Bend Test. Many people first become aware of their disorder when a medical practitioner at school leads them through this test.
The test is simple: The patient bends forward at the waist, with arms dangling down until their upper body is at a 90-degree angle. This position enables the medical practitioner to spot asymmetrical features that may indicate scoliosis, such as uneven shoulder blades. Sometimes the practitioner uses a simple screening device called a scoliometer to help detect these irregularities.
If scoliosis is suspected, it will be necessary to undergo x-rays for a closer look.