Scoliosis Braces don’t work!…?

Well, I got your attention, now, didn’t I!  Anyone who has read my blog at all knows that I don’t buy into this statement, but this week I met someone over the phone who emphatically believes this.  I started calling “surgery references” this week – people who have walked the surgery path with their children and who don’t mind telling other parents about it.  Believe me, up to this point, I have felt like I’ve stepped over “to the dark side”, coming to terms with and accepting the fact that my daughter WILL need surgery in the next year.  I have come to peace with it, but there are still many parts of it that unnerve me.  Anyway, I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with one of the references, and she was a wonderful, delightful, very helpful Mom, who did a great job of laying out all the details of what I could expect with our upcoming surgery.  I was very grateful.  But, we have definitely walked different paths!  She emphatically said to me right in the beginning (because she didn’t know any of my background) that “Braces do not work. They just Don’t.”  I asked her how she came to this conclusion and she said, “Well, everything I read and everyone I talked to said they don’t work and I just wouldn’t DO that to my daughter.”  There was a small hint of defense in her voice – as if she may have encountered a few people who questioned her desire to not even try bracing.  I mean, I have operated all along with the feeling that I wouldn’t “do that” to my daughter either, but, in my case, “it” means surgery, not bracing.  Now I see I have no choice to do what I thought was unthinkable before.  But, I have NEVER regretted bracing my kids.  And, neither have my kids regretted being braced.  Bracing may not have “worked” with my daughter, but it depends on how you view “worked”.  First, we didn’t give bracing an adequate chance – we braced too late.  Secondly, it may be because of the brace that we can wait until she is almost full grown before surgery – a HUGE advantage, because it means a very small chance of MULTIPLE surgeries.  And, we will probaby brace after surgery, too, to keep her compensatory curves from getting worse.  I am fine with that (the long road to Fairfax, VA is becoming very familiar to me) and SHE is fine with that.  If we can keep surgical intervention to just her thoracic region, then, yes, bracing would still be a win.  Now, let’s look at my son – we braced him early.  We decided to push for it with our Doctor when he reached 25 degrees. We didn’t mess around.  We got him in the best brace possible, made by Luke at Orthotic Solutions in Fairfax, VA, and within a year, his curve was considered TSTM (Too small to measure).  We had him brace full time for a year – not because our Doctor suggested it, but because Luke did.  Now, he wears a brace only at night – again, at Luke’s suggestion.  Our Doctor was happy to support us, but we needed to lay out our desires and do the legwork.  Both of my kids are perfectly happy in their braces.  I don’t feel that I did anything mean to them by having them wear them.  They are made so well, that my kids are perfectly comfortable.  I cannot emphasize this enough!  Do I wish they didn’t have to wear them??  Of course!  I wish they were Scoliosis free!  But, then again, now my son nearly is…Could he have grown out of the curve anyway?  Maybe.  Could he still fight a larger curve later?  Of course, which is why we are still bracing at night.  But, let’s look at my two case studies:  with my daughter we did the “wait and see” and, when it was time to “see”,  it was officially too late to brace effectively and now she will face surgery.  With my son, we braced aggressively at 25 degrees and he is now TSTM.  Can I say with 100% certainty it was the brace?  Of course not.  However, whether it was or was not the reason, I will take his progress and thank the Lord for it! (and Luke, of course).

I did say briefly to the woman on the phone that we were living proof that the brace works.  She was mildly interested, but, in her case, it’s too late and not really applicable.  I just wish she might think of that next time a parent calls and she might say “well, I’ve only talked to ONE person it worked for”.  She did a wonderful job of being honest with me about the hardships of surgery (and, trust me, I shed some tears over it), but she also gave me hope.  I will write more about what we can expect in another post, but, for now, I felt it was more important to say once again – bracing CAN work…and, even if it doesn’t, there is still hope.

Published by Tina

Mother, Inventor, Entrepreneur, working to help make people who need to wear orthotic and prosthetic bracing, more comfortable in their braces.

10 thoughts on “Scoliosis Braces don’t work!…?

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with your post. So far, early bracing is working for our son! We go for another appointment on the 15th. 🙂

  2. My 7 year old has been diagnosed with a 32 degree and a 27 degree curves. We are bracing and praying. We are on week two and he will be wearing it 18 to 20 hours a day. With the brace his curve reduces by 50%. I totally agree with bracing and am hoping for my sons curves not to grow and possibly reduce. In my opinion surgical intervention is a last resort, also.

  3. hi, my daughter is 9 and went in with a 42 degree curve. she has been wearing a brace since february. she has been a trooper! she wears it non stop except for dance and swimming. we were told she needs to wear it until after her major growth spurt. do we like it? NO! but she has a 50/50 chance of avoiding surgery. it is worth it to us to at least try it. yes, it will be disappointing if she wears it for 4 or 5 years then, needs surgery anyway but, she is willing to try. i appreciate your blog. i have been trying endlessly to find some parents with children who have been braced at a young age. i need facts rather than opinions (there are too many opinions and not enough facts). her specialists told us there really is no clear cut for sures with the brace and scoliosis. i just really need support and encouragement.
    thank you again for sharing your life experience!

    1. Thanks, Renee. Unfortunately there just are not enough facts that exist about Scoliosis. Research is very limited. But, you can always get my educated opinion and support. 🙂 you can also email me.

  4. My daughter is 13 and wears a brace for 20 hours a day. This is her third year of wearing a brace. She hit a major growth spurt thus the brace she was in was making her curves worse. After spending the money on a new brace a few months ago, we just learned that this brace is also making her curves worse. Therefore, bracing is making it worse. It will take 6-8 months to wean her out of that brace. In one year we go back to see how her curves are doing. It’s frustrating for me as we just spent this money. It’s frustrating for her because being 13 5’9″ and wearing a brace she feels like the odd person in the class. She doesn’t like wearing it and I’ve been making her but all along it’s been making it worse…having mixed emotions right now. What happens if we go back in a year and it’s worse. What are the other options for treatment? Has anyone been through this?

    1. I am so sorry to hear that your daughter’s Scoliosis is getting worse. I have never heard of a brace making it worse, but sometimes Scoliosis gets worse in spite of a brace (which is what happened with us). Some patients respond well to it, some do not. Unfortunately, it looks like yours is not. I would recommend a better brace – I am not sure what types you have tried (if you want to share, I can get a better idea). For aggressive cases, I always recommend the Rigo-Cheneau brace – it is not made in many places, but it is the most aggressive. If you want to share more about the specifics, I would be happy to reply with my feedback. For now, though, know that you have my sympathy and you are NOT alone.

  5. hi janet, im just curious. do they xray her with the brace on? my daughter (age 9)was at a 44 degree in february when she got her brace and her curve has not changed. they only xray her with the brace on. she grew 1 inch in 4 months and didnt see a change.

  6. Thanks for writing about this myth. I know some will still not be convinced, but well, that’s about everything these days! But, I can also understand in some cases where bracing alone won’t be enough for the correction. Our body is a complex phenomenon and looking from just one perspective is not enough. Nutrition, underlying conditions, genetics sometimes dominate and changes the equation. From my personal experience of scoliosis awareness and working with brace distribution company I can say that people are getting more and more aware about the importance of bracing. Please keep the blogs coming they are truly helpful in spreading the awareness. Maybe in the future we can think of a collaboration 🙂

    1. Hi Amy. Thanks for your feedback. I was looking at your website as well. I love to see the story behind businesses like ours – do you have an “about us” story you can share? Thanks!

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