ADJUSTING TO MY BRACE
At first, it definitely took some adjusting! Start wearing your brace slowly. A few hours at a time and then add an additional hour each day, so that you don’t over shock your spine and have possible over-use discomfort or bruising. This will also give you a better chance to run the marathon (not a sprint) as my doctor tells me. Remember the goal is to meet your hours per day on average, so some days you may be short due to discomfort or just life. Don’t sweat it -start each night with a new mindset to keep on track for the next day!
At first, I did not tell my school friends about my brace, but then after I shared with my teachers and the administration, I began to share with my friends. They were mostly supportive. I found when I would get some comments about why I got to do something different, classmates were not fully informed or did not want to take the time to ask questions. My school administration and teachers have been SUPER supportive for my brace wearing at school. It helps that they have had other students before me that had bracing, as well as my parents and I clearly asking them for some accommodations due to the restrictions especially with modification due to COVID protocols. I must say that having a brace during this pandemic has had some added challenges. Finally, if you wear your brace at school, see if you can get a rolling backpack to carry your books in. This has truly helped tremendously. Your orthopaedic surgeon should be able to write a doctor’s note to help you if your school needs some type of medical reason to allow.
Some clothing tricks I have found is SEAMLESS is a must! Test out a few seamless tank tops. I found some thin ones on Amazon that work amazing. Just make sure you know how high your brace goes up and how much it covers your body, so your have a high and low enough tank top. I recommend getting the tank top longer than your brace area. That way, you can flip it up over the bottom of your brace to help your clothes not catch when you take your skirt, shorts or pants on and off. Also, your brace does not hook onto your clothing. I found the most seamless clothing I could wear under the better -tank tops, underwear, etc.
When sleeping, I recommend to sleep with a pillow between your knees and also with a wedge higher up to help reduce pressure on your brace, especially if you sleep on your side. Try to sleep on the side which pushes in the least from your brace so that gravity cannot work against you. It may take a few nights to find a comfortable position. Don’t give up - you will find that magical position.
STAYING COOL & PREVENTING SKIN IRRITATION
Remember you will get more hot when you wear your brace, so be sure to have plenty of seamless tank tops to change from night to morning before you go to school, some for school in case you get too hot at school or during PE, and even some in the car in case you get hot. I found out that if your skin stays wet from heat, heat rashes form quickly and are a pain to get rid of. Gold Bond powder is a MUST have! They have a roll that you can bring more easily to school to help it irritation or pain starts as well!