If your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, you may have heard about the use of scoliosis braces as part of the treatment plan. But what exactly are scoliosis braces and how do they work? In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of scoliosis braces. We will start by understanding scoliosis itself and the role that bracing plays in its treatment. We will then explore the different types of scoliosis braces available, from full-time braces to nighttime braces. But does physical therapy provide an alternative to bracing? Can it replace the need for a scoliosis brace? We’ll answer that question too, discussing Scoliosis Boot Camps and ScoliSMART activity suits. We’ll also examine the effectiveness of bracing for scoliosis and how these braces actually work. From their mechanism of action to wearing instructions, we’ll cover it all. Lastly, we’ll address the impact of scoliosis braces on daily life, including physical changes and emotional/social impacts.

All About Scoliosis Braces

Understanding Scoliosis and Bracing

Scoliosis is a condition that affects the spine, causing it to develop abnormal curvature. There are different types of braces available, each serving a specific function in correcting the spine’s alignment. Wearing a scoliosis brace has the purpose of providing support to the spine and potentially slowing down the progression of the spinal curves. Choosing the right scoliosis brace is crucial and should be based on your specific needs. It is important to wear and care for the brace effectively to ensure its effectiveness.

The Basics of Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine has an abnormal curve. It commonly affects children and adolescents, and bracing is a common treatment option. The goal of using a scoliosis brace is to prevent the progression of the spinal curve and avoid surgery. Typically, braces are worn for around 23 hours a day, and compliance is critical for their effectiveness. By wearing the brace consistently, especially during periods of growth, it can help support the spine and maintain proper alignment. Compliance and understanding the importance of the brace are essential for successful treatment.

Role of Bracing in Scoliosis Treatment

Bracing plays a crucial role in the treatment of scoliosis, especially during the adolescent growth spurt. It is a non-surgical option that aims to prevent the progression of spinal curvature. The main goal of bracing is to provide support and stability to the spine, in an effort to control the spinal curve. Braces are typically worn for 23 hours a day and overnight, and their design depends on factors such as the location and degree of the curve. To achieve optimal results, it is important to wear the brace consistently as prescribed by an orthotist.

Types of Scoliosis Braces

There are several types of braces that are commonly used in the treatment of scoliosis. The underarm brace, also known as a Thoraco-lumbosacral Orthosis (TLSO), is the most common type. It is made of rigid plastic and fits snugly around the torso to provide support. Another type is the Charleston Bending Brace, which is worn only at night to correct the curvature of the spine while the patient sleeps. The Milwaukee Brace is used for treating thoracic curves and extends from the pelvis to the neck, incorporating a neck ring and chin rest for additional support. The Boston Brace is a custom-made brace that provides support to the entire torso and is often prescribed for patients with thoracic or lumbar curves. Lastly, the TLSO Brace, which stands for Thoraco-lumbosacral Orthosis, is a type of underarm brace that extends from the thoracic spine to the sacrum and is commonly used for treating curves in both the thoracic and lumbar regions.

Scoliosis Brace

Full-time Braces

Full-time scoliosis braces are typically worn for 16-23 hours a day and provide continuous support and correction for the spine. They are commonly used for moderate to severe cases. The duration of full-time brace wear varies depending on individual treatment plans, and regular follow-up appointments with a healthcare provider are important to monitor progress. These braces play a crucial role in preventing the progression of spinal curvature and can have a positive effect on posture and pain relief. It is recommended to consult with orthopedic doctors or orthotists to determine the best brace for your specific needs.

Nighttime Braces

Nighttime braces are a non-surgical treatment option for scoliosis. They are worn while sleeping to help correct spinal alignment. Typically made of hard plastic, these braces are designed to provide consistent pressure on the spine. Nighttime braces are often recommended for children and adolescents with mild to moderate scoliosis. By wearing these braces during sleep, individuals can receive the benefits of spinal correction without the need for full-time bracing. This allows them to maintain their normal activities during the day. Nighttime bracing can be an effective method for managing scoliosis progression during periods of rapid growth.

Can Physical Therapy Replace the Need for a Scoliosis Brace?

Physical therapy alone cannot replace the need for a scoliosis brace. Braces are designed to support and prevent further spine curvature. Physical therapy can be used alongside a brace to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. Consult a healthcare professional for the best treatment approach.

Scoliosis Boot Camp

Scoliosis Boot Camp offers a comprehensive program of intensive exercises and therapies aimed at managing scoliosis without relying on a brace. Focused on strengthening core muscles and improving posture, the program aims to reduce spinal curvature naturally. The ScoliSMART Activity Suit is often used in conjunction with the Boot Camp program to enhance results. With personalized treatment plans tailored to individual needs and the severity of the curve, it’s important to consult with a ScoliSMART doctor to determine the best course of treatment for your specific case.

ScoliSMART BootCamp

Online consultation scheduling is available!

Now it’s even easier to connect with ScoliSMART. Schedule your no-cost, no-obligation phone or Zoom consultation online with a ScoliSMART physician. Visit the ScoliSMART BootCamp page and click the “Schedule Online” button at the top of the page. Then select the best date and time to connect with a physician. Schedule your consultation right here!

ScoliSMART Activity Suit

The ScoliSMART Activity Suit offers a non-bracing alternative for treatment. By utilizing the natural walking motion, the suit provides subtle resistance to activate weak muscles and help correct spinal curvature. Research has shown that wearing the suit for just 2 hours a day can be as effective as a full-time scoliosis brace. It is designed to be worn during specific exercises and activities involving walking or running. To determine if the ScoliSMART Activity Suit is suitable for your child’s individual needs, consulting with a Back Genius provider is recommended.

How Effective Is Bracing For Scoliosis?

Bracing is controversial as much of the research is inconclusive on its effectiveness, especially in adolescents with moderate curves. Studies suggest it can prevent the progression of the curve and eliminate the need for surgery, but others have not. The effectiveness of bracing appears to depend on various factors, such as the type and severity of the curve. It’s crucial to work closely with a healthcare professional to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

How Does a Scoliosis Brace Work?

A spinal orthosis functions by applying corrective pressure to the side of the body during the early stage of growth and may cause pain in the areas of the spine, rib cage, and buttocks most of the time limiting physical activity. The effectiveness of a brace depends on factors like curve severity and adherence to wearing instructions.

Mechanism of Action

The orthotic device works by applying corrective forces to the spine, guiding it into a more aligned position and stabilizing it. It exerts extreme pressure on the outer edge of your curve with straps hoping prevent the progression of spinal curvature leading to spinal fusion surgery. Depending on the severity of the condition, they are typically worn for 23 hours a day. This constant pressure helps improve posture and provides support during periods of growth. The brace’s mechanism of action plays a crucial role in managing the growth of the vertebrae. It is important to note no orthotic devise will result in curve reduction.

Wearing Instructions

Consistent and proper wear of a spinal orthotic is crucial for treatment to have any effect at all. As prescribed by a healthcare professional with an X-ray. They are typically worn for 23 hours each day. It is important to follow the wearing schedule provided by the orthotist to ensure optimal support and correction. It should be very tightly worn against the body to provide the necessary stability. Periodic adjustments may be required as the body grows and changes. By adhering to the wearing instructions, you may help slow or even stop the progression of spinal curvature.


Impact of Bracing on Daily Life

Brace treatment can have a significant impact on daily life, both physically and emotionally. Bracing is a treatment option that may help prevent further progression of your child’s curvature and hopefully reduce the need for scoliosis surgery. However, it can also require adjustments to daily routines as braces are designed to be worn for 23 hours each day. The type of orthotic prescribed, such as the Boston, Wilmington brace, CTLSO or the TLSO (Thoraco-Lumbar-Sacral-Orthosis) or dynamic braces (SpineCor brace), will depend on the severity and location of the curve. It’s important to consider the emotional and psychological aspects as well, as wearing a brace can affect body image and self-esteem.

Physical Changes

Scoliosis bracing can lead to temporary physical changes, such as altered posture and restricted movement. It is crucial to choose a well-fitting and comfortable brace to minimize any physical discomfort. Bracing plays a significant role in preventing the further progression of your spinal curve and improving spinal alignment. Physical therapy exercises are often recommended in conjunction with bracing for optimal results. It is important to maintain an active lifestyle and engage in regular exercise. By doing so, you can ensure that you continue to participate in normal activities and promote muscle strength and pain relief.

Emotional and Social Impacts

Wearing rigid braces can sometimes lead to emotional discomfort due to self-consciousness. It may require adjustments and careful planning for social activities. Support from family and friends can play a vital role in alleviating emotional and social concerns associated with wearing it. Engaging in open communication and seeking support groups like the Scoliosis Warriors community can provide guidance and encouragement. It’s important to remember that despite these emotional and social impacts are crucial for managing and treating the condition.


What If I Outgrow My Scoliosis Brace?

If your child outgrows their spinal orthosis, consult your orthopedic specialist to assess if a new one is needed. Continue wearing the brace until guided otherwise by your doctor, who may suggest additional treatments or adjustments for managing the condition.

Adjustments and Alternatives

The back brace can be adjusted by a healthcare professional to accommodate growth spurts. If you outgrow it, a new one may need to be prescribed to ensure continued spinal support. Some alternatives to traditional braces include nighttime bracing or physical therapy exercises. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider are crucial to monitor brace effectiveness and make necessary adjustments. Following proper care instructions and wearing the brace as recommended can help ensure optimal results.