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The Difference In Adults And Adolescents Wearing A Brace For Scoliosis

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A back brace is used in scoliosis treatment and can be coupled with surgery or used in place of surgery, depending on the patient's circumstances. Age of the individual and severity of scoliosis all play a role in determining how the back brace is used in therapy. Take a look at how these factors will determine your scoliosis treatment.

The Role of a Back Brace in Adolescents

When a doctor sees a case of scoliosis, one of the first things that has to be determined is if the patient is still growing and how that will affect the severity of scoliosis. For adolescents – especially those who haven't yet hit puberty – continued bone growth can make the spinal curve more severe. It can increase pain levels while decreasing back strength. A back brace is used for these reasons:

  • Redirect Growth: The back brace is worn for 18 or more hours each day to help redirect spinal growth. It is used to keep the spine in alignment while you continue growing.
  • Recover from Surgery: If a brace is ineffective before surgery, or if your scoliosis is very severe to begin with, surgery is unavoidable. Following surgery, you will be required to wear a back brace as you heal. The brace supports your spine and ribs and helps reduce pain during your recovery.

The Role of a Back Brace in Adults

When it comes to adult treatment of scoliosis, bone growth isn't the issue being addressed. The concern in these instances is the patient's pain levels. In adults, scoliosis can cause uneven weight distribution, bone weakness, and even fatigue. A back brace is worn to reduce these symptoms by:

  • Supporting Back: The brace is worn a few hours each day. It helps supports the back by lifting pressure from the hips. Relieving excess pressure lowers your pain levels. It also restricts motion, so you don't jolt the spine and cause pain spasms.
  • Strengthening Bones: The extra support enables you to participate in therapy without injuring your back further. Going to therapy will help strengthen your spine, which in turn keeps you from becoming easily fatigued.

Back braces are worn by both adolescents and adults with scoliosis. However, when an adolescent wears a brace, it is to help correct the spinal curve and recover from surgery. When an adult is prescribed a brace, however, it is to alleviate pain and enable them to participate in strengthening exercises. 

For more information, contact Nivens Charles J MD PA or a similar medical professional.