A scoliosis brace is used to stop a spinal curve from getting worse. The brace must be worn for the full recommended number of hours every day until the child stops growing. As the child nears the end of growth, the need for a brace depends on how the curve affects the child's appearance, whether the curve is getting worse, and the size of the curve.
An Overview of Scoliosis
Many children who are sent to the doctor by a school scoliosis screening program have very mild spinal curves that do not need scoliosis treatment. However, when a child does need scoliosis treatment, the doctor may send him or her to an orthopedic spine specialist.
A healthcare provider will suggest the best scoliosis treatment for each patient based on:
- The patient's age
- How much more he or she is likely to grow
- The degree and pattern of the curve
- The type of scoliosis.
Different scoliosis treatments that may be recommended include:
What Is a Scoliosis Brace?
Doctors may advise bracing as scoliosis treatment in order to stop a curve from getting worse. Bracing may be used when:
- The person is still growing and has a curve of more than 25 to 30 degrees
- The person is still growing and has a curve between 20 and 29 degrees that is getting worse
- The person has at least two years of growth remaining and has a curve that is between 20 and 29 degrees.
However, females who have started their monthly period should not use bracing.
As a child nears the end of growth, the indications for a scoliosis brace will depend on how the curve affects the child's appearance, the size of the curve, and whether the curve is getting worse.
The decision about which scoliosis brace to wear depends on the type of curve and whether the patient will follow the doctor's directions about how many hours a day to wear the brace.
Braces can be custom-made or can be made from a prefabricated mold. All scoliosis braces must be selected for the specific curve problem and fitted to each patient. In order to have their intended effect (to keep a curve from getting worse), a scoliosis brace must be worn every day for the full number of hours prescribed by the doctor until the child stops growing.