Scoliosis is a common spine condition that is prevalent in adolescents. It affects between 2 to 3 percent of the population or approximately six to nine million people in the US.
With a progressive condition such as scoliosis, the chosen treatment path is crucial. Scoliosis bracing is a common non-surgical treatment option for this condition and it has proven to be highly effective when patients are compliant.
Studies conducted in the past indicate that spinal bracing can efficiently curb curve progression in up to 80 percent of children with scoliosis.
If you’re interested in the idea of scoliosis bracing for you or your loved one, you may be wondering which type of brace would be most effective. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the instances when spinal bracing is recommended, and the most popular scoliosis braces available. We’ll also explore some of the factors you may want to consider when choosing a scoliosis brace.
When Is Spinal Bracing Recommended?
Scoliosis bracing can prevent the curve from worsening, and eliminate the need for spinal surgery down the line. This treatment option is recommended when:
There is a range of scoliosis braces available in the market. However, not all are created equal.
You’ll need to work closely with your orthopedist and orthotist to choose the most effective brace for your child’s specific curve. Some of the factors you may want to consider when selecting a scoliosis brace include:
As a patient grows in height and weight, they’ll need to have a new scoliosis brace if they’re using the non-adjustable variety. Some of the customized braces only work for a particular range of cobb’s angle so you’ll have to change the brace as the spinal curvature changes.
This of course leads to costs adding up. A solution to this problem is to opt for an adjustable scoliosis brace. Such a brace can be adjusted as the patient grows or as there is a change in the degree of spinal curves. While it may be more expensive upfront, it’ll help you reduce costs in the long run.
While choosing a brace, don’t fail to consider the ease-of-use of a brace as it’s a crucial factor.
With a Scoliosis brace, you can opt for a full-time brace e.g Boston, Wilmington and Milwaukee brace or a nighttime brace such as the Charleston Bending brace.
You also don’t want to have a brace that is too taxing to get into or out of. This can be a challenge if you live alone, or the brace is for kids.
Some rigid braces require full-time wear, which is typically between 16 and 23 hours a day, whereas others are only worn about 8 to 10 hours per night while sleeping.
Style may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering a scoliosis brace. However, the style of a back brace can have a huge impact on compliance. Some things to consider when looking at the brace’s aesthetics include its color, design, and whether it’s visible through the clothes.
This is especially important for kids. Scoliosis braces such as the Scolibrace and WCR brace come in custom colours and patterns.
Back Braces for Scoliosis
Here are a few types of scoliosis braces:
1. The Wood Cheneau Rigo (WCR) Brace
The Wood Cheneau Rigo brace is a 3-dimensional thermoplastic scoliosis brace that’s unique because of the pressure and expansion areas built into the brace. To design the brace, your orthotist will take X-rays and classify scoliosis according to the Classification of Rigo and also look at the clinical photos of the patient.
The WCR brace is worn snugly so you have to report even the slightest change in the patient’s height to the orthotist. Most patients tolerate the brace well but it requires a 7-day break-in period.
The brace doesn’t restrict activities but patients have to learn to control their breathing and movements in certain ways while wearing the brace.
This one is great for kids because it’s practically unnoticeable under the clothes unless the clothes are tight.
2. Boston Brace
The Boston back brace is a type of thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO), and it’s the most commonly used scoliosis brace today. It comes in a range of prefabricated mold options, and the orthotist will choose a suitable mold based on the patient's size and spinal curve.
This brace is then customized to the specific needs of the patient using padding and cutouts.
The Boston scoliosis brace closes in the back, and therefore, you may require some assistance wearing and taking off the brace.
3. Wilmington Brace
Like the Boston brace, the Wilmington brace is also a TLSO. It’s custom-molded based on a cast taken of the patient’s torso while lying on their back. Once the cast is created, corrective forces meant to address the patient’s particular curve are added to the scoliosis brace. The Wilmington brace opens in the front.
4. Charleston Bending Brace
The Charleston bending brace is a popular night-time scoliosis brace. An orthotist will take a cast of the patient’s torso, and this is used in creating a custom brace. The Charleston brace is designed to apply both lateral and hyper corrective forces to the curve, and it’s only practical when the patient is lying down.
Choosing a Scoliosis Brace - The Takeaway
Your orthotist is the best judge for the type of brace you or your kid needs. But it’s good to know what your options are with scoliosis braces so you can make an informed decision.
Scoliosis bracing can be effective in halting the progression of the condition. You’ve got to start the treatment in time or else the results may not be as promising and you could be looking at lifelong problems.
Contact Align Clinic if you’re looking for expert orthotists for scoliosis bracing. We’ve got clinics in various states so book an appointment today to begin your treatment.
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