A chiropractor must be involved during every step of the scoliosis brace fitting process. He or she will keenly assess any changes in the curve pattern every 4-6 months and make appropriate adjustments on the brace to ensure that correction becomes successful.
Scoliosis Braces and Spinal Curve Progression
As we covered in our previous article, a scoliosis brace is a medical device that is used in the treatment of scoliosis by preventing spinal curve progression. The patient has to wear the brace for 22-23 hours a day without removing it, except when taking a bath or shower. It is usually quite comfortable, so the child can still have it on when taking part in non-contact sports. Putting on the brace during the prescribed times is very important for success to be realized. Since it might be a bit difficult at first to keep the routine, the family should be there to support and encourage the patient.
Types of Scoliosis Braces
The most commonly used spinal orthoses used in the treatment of scoliosis are described below.
Thoraco-Lumbar-Sacral Orthosis (TLSO)
This type of brace is the one that is mostly prescribed for scoliosis patients because it is effective for treating single and double curves. It is sometimes referred to the “Bolton brace” or the “underarm brace”. It is custom molded from plastic so as to fit to the child’s body. It can be worn under the clothes without being noticeable at all. The TLSO brace is ideal for treating lumbar or thoraco-lumbar spinal curves, and it should be worn for 23 hours in a day for it to be effective.
This is a full torso brace, also called the Milwaukee brace. It is similar to the TLSO brace described above, but with a neck ring which is supported by vertical bars joined to the rest of the brace. The neck ring also supports the chin and the back of the head. It is a difficult brace to endure, and compliance on the side of patients is very low especially during adolescence and teenage. It is prescribed for curves occurring high up, particularly in the thoracic spine. It should also be worn for a minimum of 23 hours every day.
Charleston Bending Brace
It is commonly called the “nighttime” brace because the patient wears it while sleeping. Patients can attend school or take part in sports without their friends knowing that they wear a brace. It is molded to the patient as they bend sideways and it applies pressure by bending the patient against the curve. Studies have shown that the nighttime brace is just as effective as the 23-hour ones, especially for the smaller, more flexible curves.
Newer scoliosis braces are constantly being developed that are lighter, more comfortable and easy to put on. The type of brace selected should be the one that least affects the quality of life of the patient. Compliance is usually varied though, even with the new, modern ones. Young people need a lot of emotional support from the whole family and the professionals to help them accept the scoliosis brace and stay compliant.
Pivonka Family Chiropractic
1355 S Higley Rd #102
Gilbert, AZ 85296