Frequently Asked Questions About Bracing
Will my scoliosis brace be painful or uncomfortable?
Your scoliosis brace should never be painful! If you have painful areas, let your orthotist know because you likely need an adjustment. At first, your scoliosis brace may be a little uncomfortable because of the pressures being applied to correct your curve. However, once you have broken your brace in, it should not be uncomfortable. You may not describe it as “comfortable,” like you would your favorite pair of pajamas, but you should be able to tolerate wearing the brace for the recommended number of hours each day. If you find that the brace is irritating you as the day goes on, you may need an adjustment from your orthotist.
Will people be able to notice my brace under my clothes?
It all depends on your clothes. If you wear a tighter fitting shirt, people will probably be able to see the edges of the brace. With a loose-fitting shirt, no one will ever know. Wear clothes that make you feel confident, regardless of if that means disguising your brace or showing it off. Pinterest and Instagram are a great place to look for scoliosis fashion advice.
What should I wear under my brace?
You want to wear a tight-fitting shirt underneath your scoliosis brace. The shirt gives you an extra layer of protection between your skin and your brace. Wrinkles are the enemy! They can create excessive pressure in certain areas and cause skin irritation. If your brace comes up high underneath your armpit, you may want to wear a short sleeve shirt underneath your brace instead of a tank top.
Can my brace get wet?
It’s not a big deal if your brace gets wet. Nothing will happen to the plastic, but if you continually get your brace wet, the rivets (metal pieces connecting your straps) and padding, may start to breakdown. If your brace does get wet, dry it off completely before you put it back on to prevent skin irritation.
Can I still play sports?
You can absolutely still play sports! Depending on which sport you play, you may need to take your brace off while you are practicing because the brace can constrict your movement. If you know that you will be taking your brace off for practice, discuss with your orthotist how you can rearrange your schedule to still meet your wear-time goals.
If you get hot and sweaty during practice, let yourself cool down before putting your brace back on. If you put your brace on while you are still sweating, your skin is more likely to become irritated. Bring an extra undershirt to change into before putting your brace back on. This will also help prevent skin irritation.
How long will my scoliosis brace last?
Scoliosis braces typically last for about a year to a year and a half. It all depends on how quickly you a re growing. If you a growing very quickly, then you will need a new brace sooner. Keeping track of your height and weight changes is very important. Height changes are especially important because if you have had a growth spurt, the pressures inside of your brace that are fighting your curve may no longer be in the right position. That is why it is very important to follow-up with your orthotist regularly and tell him or her about any growth spurts.
Will my scoliosis brace be hard?
Your scoliosis brace will be made of a thermoplastic material, so yes, it will hard. Some braces are lined with padding on the inside, while other braces are strictly plastic. Either way, your brace should not be painful or uncomfortable. Although the braces are hard, they also have some flexibility to them, which helps when you put on and take off your brace.
How often does the brace need to be adjusted?
Brace adjustments are common. When you are first fit with your scoliosis brace, your orthotist will make lots of adjustments to make sure that the brace fits correctly and is comfortable. After you take your brace home and wear it for a while, you might notice that a certain area is consistently uncomfortable. If this is the case, you likely need an adjustment to make the brace more comfortable.
Because the brace does not grow when you grow, you may notice some new uncomfortable areas after you hit a growth spurt. Be sure to return to see your orthotist if this is the case because you may need an adjustment or you may even need a whole new brace.
Are follow-up appointments necessary?
Follow-up appointments are a MUST. Your brace does not grow when you grow, so it is very important that your orthotist regularly checks the fit of your brace. If you have had a growth spurt, the pressures inside of your brace that are fighting your curve may no longer be in the right position. If that is the case, your brace will not be as effective as it could be.
Should I do physical therapy in addition to wearing my brace?
Schroth Method is a type of physical therapy aimed at elongating and derotating your spine.
Schroth must be performed by a certified physical therapist, as the exercises are customized for your unique spinal deformation. The method teaches you how to correct spinal rotation and increase lung capacity with a rotational breathing technique; restore normal spinal position with pelvic corrections, breathing technique, and stabilizing isometric contractions; and improve your posture during routine daily living, not just during therapy. Find out more about Schroth here.
More of a visual learner? Check out Malia Jade’s Q&A YouTube video!