Cracking The Code On Scoliosis: The Adam Forward Bend Test For Tiny Spines

Scoliosis, often thought of as a condition that only affects adults, is something we should all be aware of as it is not just an adult concern; it can affect children of any age too. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Scoliosis can manifest during infancy or early childhood, but its most common onset period falls between the ages of 10 and 15. Interestingly, it affects boys and girls equally during this stage of development.

We have previously covered the topic of Scoliosis more extensively in one of our earlier vlogs here where we talked about the main types of Scoliosis. While at it, you can read more in-depth on how this condition affects children particularly, here too. 


What to do if you suspect your child to have scoliosis?
So Let’s talk about the Adam Forward Bend Test
The Adam Forward Bend test, a simple yet crucial tool, can help detect scoliosis early in both kids and adults. In fact, in Singapore, P5 and P6 students undergo this test annually, aiming to catch any signs of scoliosis in its infancy. It is a cost-effective and beneficial screening program and as research has shown, early intervention in scoliosis leads to better outcomes.

A comprehensive 10-year follow-up assessment of school scoliosis screening reveals that the Adam’s forward bend test exhibits a sensitivity of 84.3% and a specificity of 93.44% when identifying cobb angles exceeding 10°. 

At home, here’s how you can conduct a simple Adam Forward Bend Test for your child:

What You Need:
– A well-lit room
– A stool or chair
– Your child, wearing minimal clothing (shorts and a tank top are ideal)

Steps-by-step guide:

1. Begin in a well-lit room with a clean, firm surface.

2. Have your child stand barefoot on the surface.

3. Ensure your child’s feet are together, and their arms hang loosely by their sides.

4. Place a stool or chair in front of your child for support.

5. Ask your child to take a deep breath and exhale.

6. Instruct your child to bend forward at the waist as far as they can while keeping their legs straight. Encourage them to reach their fingers toward the ground.

7. Observe your child’s back and spine carefully:

   – Look for any humps, curves, or unevenness in the back.

   – Pay attention to any noticeable rib prominence or hip asymmetry.

   – Note if one side of the back appears higher or more prominent than the other.

8. Ask your child to remain in this position for a few seconds.

9. Have your child slowly return to a standing position.

If you notice any irregularities, humps, or curves in your child’s spine, especially if it appears uneven or if one side of the back is more prominent than the other, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional or chiropractor for a proper evaluation.

So remember, while the Adam Forward Bend Test is a screening tool, it is not a definitive diagnostic method. If you have any concerns about your child’s spinal health or posture, seek professional advice for a thorough assessment.

In our earlier blog, we mentioned that there are two primary types of scoliosis, Structural Scoliosis (Idiopathic, Congenital, Neuromuscular and Degenerative) and Functional Scoliosis (a type of spinal curve caused by a temporary factor)- where these curves can be readily reversed, with little or no permanent structural change, often treated through proper chiropractic care. Determining the precise type of scoliosis your child has requires professional assessment, leading to a personalised, tailored management. 

Free spinal screening event
We’re pleased to share that My Chirocare hosted a successful free spinal screening event for children aged 0-17 on 13th November 2023, reinforcing the importance of spinal health checks for parents. Follow us on our Instagram to learn when’s our next one!

If you’re uncertain about your child’s spinal health, please do not hesitate to schedule a professional assessment with us. Keep an eye out for social media updates on how the screening event fared. Your child’s spinal health is the cornerstone of a healthy future.

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