How is scoliosis diagnosed?

Scoliosis is often diagnosed by a primary care doctor, pediatrician, or chiropractor.

The doctor will perform certain tests to help them identify whether you have scoliosis and the severity of your condition. These tests may include:

  • "Adam's Forward Bend Test"
  • X-ray
  • CT Scan or MRI

From these tests, the doctor will calculate your "Cobb Angle". Your Cobb Angle is calculated by the degrees or angle of your curvature shown on your spine’s x-ray. This will help the doctor understand the severity of your scoliosis and the treatment options that are available to you. Your doctor may also do a skeletal maturity assessment by using a scoring system, such as a "Sanders" or "Risser" score. This helps them understand how much growth you have remaining. If your Cobb Angle is larger than 20 degrees, a treatment will typically be recommended to you.

Treatments will vary depending on how much growth you have remaining.

If you think you have scoliosis, you can talk to your primary care doctor, pediatrician, or a surgeon specialist. You can find a qualified surgeon by using our Surgeon Locator: They can evaluate your specific case and collaboratively develop a treatment plan that best serves you.

Boston Medical. (2019, November 25). Scoliosis Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2019, June 22). Scoliosis. Retrieved from