Patient History

The most frequent clinical problem of adult scoliosis is back pain. This pain can have mechanical reasons or be the result of unbalanced, fatigued and stressed muscles (Aebi 2005).

Also in early adulthood, patients suffer from pain caused by scoliosis (Grivas et al. 2006). If a child is being examined, the history taking should include pre- and postnatal information, including mother’s health, complications, drug abuse or injuries during pregnancy (Magee 2006).

Next to general questions, ask about:

  • Age: The age of the patient is important because it influences the correlation between the surface and the spinal deformity. This correlation is very weak in younger children, and gets stronger with age (Aggouris et al. 2010).
  • Growth spurt: Can lead to tight muscles and altered posture (Magee 2006)
  • Gender: Females have a higher risk of curve progression (Miller 1999)
  • Family history of scoliosis (Reamy et Slakey 2001)
  • Menstrual onset (Reamy et Slakey 2001)

To exclude other spinal conditions, ask about the presence of neurologic changes and symptoms, including bowel and bladder dysfunction and severe pain, since these symptoms are atypical for scoliosis (Reamy et Slakey 2001).