Millions of adolescents have idiopathic scoliosis. This condition, in which the spine curves more than normal, often happens during growth spurts. Severe spine curvature usually requires surgery to correct, but that can be mitigated—or avoided entirely—with braces. Scoliosis bracing for children has been used for hundreds of years in Farmingdale, NY and elsewhere. Read on to learn more about the advantages of using braces.
How scoliosis braces work
Scoliosis braces are designed to put pressure on key areas of the torso. This encourages the spine back into a straight alignment. Your doctor may prescribe both the brace as well as physical therapy and exercise to encourage the spine to settle into a natural position.
Your child may need to use the brace for up to 16 to 20 hours per day. Modern braces are worn with a “body sock” made of lightweight, moisture-wicking and breathable material. Your child can remove the brace for bathing, sports, PE class or swimming. Today’s braces tend to be more comfortable to wear than older models, and many children are even comfortable sleeping in them. Your doctor can make suggestions to help your child cope with their brace.
Types of scoliosis braces
Here are the two main types of braces:
- Full-time braces: Full-time braces may be chosen from prefabricated molds or custom-fitted to the patient’s body. They’re usually made from hard plastic and are lined with pads to reduce pressure on the body. Each brace is chosen depending on the type and severity of the spinal curve, and some are adjustable as the child grows. (However, you should expect they’ll need a new one every 12 to 18 months.)
- Nighttime braces: Nighttime braces are designed to work only when lying down, so you wouldn’t wear these throughout the day. They’re often custom-fitted to the patient, and different types are suitable for different curve patterns and severity.
Advantages of scoliosis braces
The main advantage of using a scoliosis brace is to avoid surgery in the future. In severe cases, surgery may be the only option. However, that can be invasive and painful, with long recovery times. In many cases, a brace is a much less difficult way to deal with spinal curvature.
Bracing won’t always prevent the need for surgery, but it can make a big difference. If effective, your child will be weaned off the brace over time.
Learning to live with scoliosis braces
Scoliosis braces have a long history of stigma (anyone who read Judy Blume’s Deenie may remember the main character’s suffering). However, most children adapt quickly to their “new normal” and have plenty of functionality. They can still enjoy sports and other activities. Although bracing might make middle school more difficult, teaching your child that their brace is nothing to be ashamed of can go a long way toward making the experience more comfortable.
Ultimately, you should follow your doctor’s advice. If they recommend scoliosis bracing in Farmingdale, NY, your child may be able to avoid pediatric surgery. Call Prothotic Laboratories, Inc. today to learn more about our selection.