Scoliosis bracing is common among people suffering from scoliosis. This treatment strategy has been around for a while now and it combines different modalities. However, most people wonder if scoliosis bracing is an effective option.
In this article, we will look at the different scoliosis bracing options and what to consider before choosing one.
What is Scoliosis Bracing?
To understand what scoliosis bracing is, we must first gain insight into what scoliosis is. Simply put, scoliosis is a condition that results in an abnormal spine curve. When your spine has an abnormal curve, it can lead to back pain, uneven shoulders and hips, rib cage tilting, body tilting, and the head not being centered.
Doctors recommend wearing a scoliosis brace around the torso to treat this condition. The bracing prevents the spine curve from getting worse. It can also slow the progression of the spine curve. However, it’s very important to note that a brace for scoliosis only works in both children and adults who experience bone growth.
Therefore, it may not be ideal if your bones have stopped growing. According to most doctors, it should be worn starting from an early growth stage of between 9 and 12 years up to skeletal maturity that ranges from 15 to 16 years in females.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) has indicated that scoliosis bracing is effective in 80% of the patients treated with it.
Should I Get One?
Scoliosis braces cannot correct the scoliosis condition and are only ideal if you want to keep the curve on the spine from deteriorating. It can be effective if you want to manage the condition during the early stages.
In children, bracing is recommended to slow down curvature progression by manipulating the spine. Also, scoliosis braces provide support for adults and eliminates spinal movement.
Things to Consider Before Getting One
Before getting a brace for your thoracic or sacral spine, several things should be considered. Here are some of the things to keep in mind.
The Severity of the Curve
If you have a mild spine curve, your doctor might not recommend treatment immediately. However, this may change if the curve worsens and gets to 25 degrees to 40 degrees. Also, this treatment may not work if the curve is more than 40 degrees.
Other than the severity of the curve, your age can also be a great determinant when deciding whether or not to get braces. You may want to consider correcting scoliosis with a brace if your bones are still growing. If they have stopped growing, scoliosis braces may not be of help and you may have to consider surgery.
Type of Bracing
There are different types of braces in the market and the most suitable will depend on your specific needs. If you want one that you can wear during the day and at night, you can consider a full-time brace. On the other hand, a nighttime brace is only designed to be worn at night.
The Types of Braces You Need
Generally, there are two types of scoliosis bracing available to choose from- full-time braces and nighttime braces. Full-time braces offer more support and are more comfortable while nighttime braces provide a more intense treatment.
As the name suggests, these braces are designed to be worn both during the day and at night. There are different types of braces in this category. They include:
These braces are worn at night while lying down. They are more intense and are known to overcorrect the spine. Some of the nighttime braces for scoliosis include:
Usually, the period for wearing a scoliosis brace will depend on your curve. Nevertheless, most orthopedic doctors recommend wearing the brace at least 18 hours to 20 hours a day.
For children, the length will depend on their curves as they are growing. However, it is best to note this brace works best when a child is growing and ends when they are done growing.
The Pros and Cons of Wearing One
One of the most common problems with scoliosis bracing is that it only deals with the symptoms of the condition. Hence, it does not address the underlying issue. What’s more, it may not tackle conditions where the curvature is over 40 degrees. In this case, you may want to consider other options.
Ultimately, scoliosis bracing can come in handy if you want to slow the progression of spine curvature. It can be sued in both children and adolescents with skeletal maturity. However, this treatment is limited and may not correct the condition completely.
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