What You Should Know About Scoliosis Bracing
Scoliosis is defined simply as curvature of the spine and it’s been debilitating humans for thousands of years. The first references to spine curvature can be found in the ancient writings of Hippocrates, the father of medicine. The medical condition hasn’t changed much over that time, but understanding and treatment of it has. If you’re considering options for treatment, here’s what you need to know about scoliosis bracing.
Diagnosis before scoliosis bracing
Before you can even consider treatment options for scoliosis like scoliosis bracing, you’ll need an official diagnosis. This comes from a medical professional who performs a simple exam to determine if any curvature exists in your spine. If needed, followup imaging can also be done to further assess the degree of curvature using the Cobb method and expressed in degrees. A mild curve is often less than 20 degrees. Very severe scoliosis would be a 50 degree curve or more.
How scoliosis bracing works
Medical providers use scoliosis bracing to stop the further curving of the spine either completely, or moderately. Braces are usually rigid and use pressure applied to the spine to prevent it from further movement. There are dynamic braces on the market that force your body into a correct healthy posture as a means of preventing further damage to the spine. Depending on the severity of the case, braces are designed to be worn most of the day for moderate cases, and perhaps only at night for mild cases.
Types of braces
The Boston brace is one of the most common types of scoliosis braces used today and it works by using pressure to correct spinal curvature. The Wilmington is another type of brace that is similar to the fit of a straight jacket and fitted to a patient in the prone position. The Milwaukee brace was the original scoliosis brace which doctors first started using in the 1940s and which isn’t used very often anymore.
Improvements from bracing
As mentioned, braces are used to improve existing curvature, and to prevent further damage to the spine. By wearing the Boston brace, patients might expect up to 60 percent improvement for mild curvature. For severe curvature, measuring 50 degrees or more, patients wearing the Boston brace might realize just under 40 percent improvement.