Scoliosis is a difficult condition because not only does it require physical correction, but it can also involve social stigma. This is especially true for children and teenagers in Farmingdale, NY, who may become the targets of teasing or bullying if they are seen wearing a scoliosis back brace in public.
Adolescence is a difficult time. Teenagers struggle for acceptance every day, and issues with scoliosis can make that even more complicated than it already is, as they have to deal with the schedule of wearing a brace, the effects it can have on clothing choices and their everyday comfort.
It can be very tempting for anyone, but especially children and teens, to want to take off their brace to avoid the stigma associated with its use. However, research indicates compliance with prescribed schedules for wearing a brace results in stopping or slowing the progression of curvature of the spine, thus allowing patients to avoid surgery.
Overcoming obstacles to compliance
It is critical, of course, to have a proper design and fit for any braces used for treatment of scoliosis. Patients, especially young ones, are more likely to ditch the brace if it’s uncomfortable or unnecessarily obtrusive.
But ensuring compliance goes beyond just making sure the brace is actually reasonably comfortable to wear. One of the biggest keys to success from the perspective of physicians and orthopedic specialists is ensuring there is a sufficient level of buy-in from children and parents alike.
First, it is important to fully arm the family with all the information they need about scoliosis and its treatment, including why it’s so important to follow a prescribed treatment and usage schedule. They must understand the risks associated with forgoing usage, and the potential for invasive surgery. They must also understand the patient’s curve type, and the idea that remaining growth could result in a serious risk of the curve worsening, meaning there is a limited amount of time for this sort of orthotic intervention to be sufficient to prevent surgery.
It’s also important to hit on the temporary nature of the brace. Empathy is important—there’s no way around the stigma that people often face when wearing the brace, but emphasizing the fact that it is a temporary solution that will produce lifelong benefits is extremely important to encouraging compliance and proper usage of the brace. Parents and doctors should do their best to understand the child’s feelings, and allow them the chance to speak without being judged or scolded for how they feel.
In addition, families might consider getting some peer support. This could come in the form of having close friends involved in the child’s everyday brace usage regimen, but it could also include joining a peer support organization for children with scoliosis.
Ultimately, compliance is crucial to successful results with a brace, but only the person wearing the brace can truly adhere to the schedule set forth. For more information about tips for boosting compliance with a scoliosis back brace, contact our orthotics team in Farmingdale, NY at Prothotic Laboratories, Inc.