Most children are screened for scoliosis periodically when they are young. This sometimes takes place in school, and primary care doctors often conduct the screening tests during annual physical. Sometimes, however, kids fall through the cracks. Either they miss screening days at school and are never screened or they have scoliosis, but the case slips through and goes undetected in the screening. You might be an adult who has scoliosis that was never properly diagnosed if you're noticing the following symptoms.
One shoulder sits lower than the other.
When you look in the mirror, does one shoulder sit lower than the other? Maybe other people have told you that you're leaning to one side, and you try to straighten out, but you can't. This can be a symptom of scoliosis; one shoulder sits lower than the other because your spine is curved to one side, resulting in a crooked posture. This may not be so obvious in bulkier clothing, but you can tell when you're undressed or wearing thinner clothes.
One hip seems to stick out.
When you make your best effort to stand straight and tall, does it look like one of your hips is jutted out to the side? Sometimes this symptom occurs with the uneven shoulders, and other times you may have a stuck-out hip but no obvious unevenness in your shoulders. This is usually indicative of a curve lower in the spine. It's more common for these curves to be missed in screening tests since the practitioner has to purposefully look further down to spot them, and sometimes practitioners forget to do so when busy or distracted.
You have ongoing back pain.
There are many possible explanations for ongoing back pain. You could have a pulled muscle or even a herniated disc. However, undiagnosed scoliosis is a possibility, too, especially if your back pain tends to worsen after you spend a lot of time walking or running. Walking and running do not aggravate back pain due to other causes terribly easily, but they do bother scoliosis patients since the curved spine is not able to absorb the shock of your stride as well as it should.
If you think you might be an adult who was not properly diagnosed with scoliosis when you were younger, reach out to your doctor. It is never too late to seek a scoliosis diagnosis and see what treatment options are available to you.