Spinal Bracing: A Treatment Option for Scoliosis in Children

When a child is diagnosed with scoliosis, parents mind get filled with visions of him or her wearing a spinal brace to cure the curve. Parents might start thinking about how long this brace has to be worn and how will their child react if it would stop the trajectory.

So before, getting to that point, there are few things one should know about spinal bracing for scoliosis.

Observation Recommended for Scoliosis

After managing various tests and exams, the doctor will develop a treatment plan for the Childs’ scoliosis. Usually, with a small curve, the first step is observation – giving the curve some time to see if it has any progress further.

The child will be inspected every 3 – 4 months, and during that inspection, the doctor will order an X-ray if the curve seems to be increased. It is vital to minimise the number of X-rays taken (because of exposure to radiation), and in many other cases, one X-ray per year should be considered sufficient.

When Is Spinal Bracing Recommended?

With curves or with more severe curves that are likely to progress (to get worse), bracing is a massive non-surgical treatment option to try to stop the curve from getting worse.

Before, recommending for bracing, the doctor will determine:

  1. How much growing the child has left to do?
  2. Where the curve is – because a curve in mid-back (thoracic spine) is more likely to worsen than a bend in the low back (lumbar spine)?
  3. How severe is the curve and how it is affecting their Childs’ life?
  4. How likely the curve will get worse – because if the curve is sharp enough and the child hasn’t gone through his or her adolescent growth period, it is likely to get worse they grow further?

Bracing is the conventional treatment for children having curves greater than 20° and at least two years of growth is remaining. Bracing is never prescribed when the slider is greater than 40°. In that case, surgery may be required.

It is vital to remember that a brace can help to stop the curve from progressing further, but it usually won’t fix the curve which is already there.

Wearing the Brace

Wearing a brace is a significant commitment, provided that the parents and their children need to work on together. For bracing to be as efficient as possible, remember the key points listed below:

  1. Follow the doctors’ order:
    The doctor will decide what kind of brace is best suitable for their child’s curve and for how long they can wear it every day. Some children have to wear their braces up to 23 hours a day (while that is an intimidating number), it is very crucial that the child should wear the brace for full time. The doctor will work out with the parents to figure out when their child doesn’t need to wear his or her brace.
  2. Wear it well:
    The child may be in and out of their brace for few times in a day – during their gym class, for example. It is vital that every time they put their brace back on, it is tight enough and well positioned. If it is not, then it won’t do much good.
  3. Watch out what you wear:
    Beneath the brace, the child should wear a shirt that fits them well and does not wrinkle. This will protect their skin; else they would get irritated from the brace. On the brace, the child can wear regular clothes, though they might have to get clothes of a size or two bigger to fit over the brace.

Bracing may be uncomfortable – both emotionally and physically. At times when kids do not want to be different, a brace is a noticeable difference.

Medical Disclosure

The information contained in this article is presented for the purpose of educating the people. Nothing contained in this article should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Should you have any healthcare-related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified health care provider promptly. Always consult with your doctor or another qualified healthcare professional before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program.