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Scoliosis Advice

By AGE2B team
January 31, 2022

Scoliosis is a three-dimensional deformity of the spine and rib cage.

It may develop as a single primary curve (resembling the letter C) or as two curves (a primary curve along with a compensating secondary curve that forms an S shape).

Scoliosis may occur only in the upper back (the thoracic area) or lower back (lumbar), but most commonly develops in the area between the thoracic and lumbar area (thoracolumbar area).

The physician attempts to define scoliosis by the shape of the curve, its location, direction and magnitude, and, if possible, its cause.

Treatment for Scoliosis

The severity of scoliosis and need for treatment is determined by the extent of the spinal curvature, and by the angle of the trunk rotation (ATR).

Scoliosis is diagnosed when the curve measures 11 degrees or more, but treatment is not usually required until the curve reaches 30 degrees and the ATR is 7 degrees.

For moderate curves of 24 to 40 degrees, a brace is often used to prevent further curvature. It is important to note that a brace will almost never reverse an existing curve, and is only used to stop its progression

Types of Braces

1. Milwaukee Brace 
The device uses a wide flat bar in front and two smaller ones in back that attach to a ring around the neck that has rested on the chin and back of the head.
The brace needs to be worn 23 hours a day with relief only during bathing and exercise.
2. The Wilmington, Boston and TLSO Braces
Newer, molded braces called thoracolumbar-sacral orthoses (TLSOs or the Wilmington brace) come up to beneath the underarms and can be fitted to be worn close to the skin so that they don’t show under clothes.
Patients are still urged to wear these braces 20 hours a day; although wearing them for 16 hours a day may still be beneficial, the risk for curve progression is significantly higher when patients wear braces for less time.
3. The Charleston Bending Brace
The Charleston Bending Brace is worn only at night, and some physicians question its value due to the paucity of studies with this brace.
4. SpineCor
A new bracing method (SpineCor) uses adjustable bands and a cotton vest that allows flexibility. The long-term effectiveness of this brace is not yet known.

Useful Advice for People With Scoliosis

  • This is some of the best scoliosis advice you can find: Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Here’s why: When you lie on your abdomen, the curve in the middle portion of your spine, the thoracic curve, becomes flattened. This happens to all people, but it is especially problematic for people who have scoliosis. This is because a flattened thoracic curve could cause an idiopathic abnormal curvature of the spine to worsen. Another reason why avoiding belly-sleeping is good scoliosis advice is that it requires you to turn your head to one side or the other. This has an adverse effect on the cervical vertebrae. The best scoliosis advice regarding a sleeping position for most people is to sleep on their back with a small pillow or folded a blanket under their knees to support the low back. If you’re unable to rest in this position, try lying on your side with a small pillow or folded blanket between your knees.  Also be sure to have a supportive surface to sleep on. Most practitioners recommend a firm mattress as scoliosis advice for patients with this condition.
  • Avoid sitting or standing in one position. Excellent scoliosis advice is to keep moving! Shift your weight from one foot to the other when you’re standing and never lock your knees. When you’re working in an office or at a desk, sitting watching television or attending a sporting event, change your position frequently and get up as often as you can to take a break from sitting. When you do have to sit for extended periods, scoliosis advice from experts includes making sure your chair provides adequate support for your back.
  • Don’t carry heavy loads. Increased weight in your arms or on your shoulders increases the amount of spinal compression. Good scoliosis advice is to get help with heavy loads.  
  • Avoid bending. Like the scoliosis advice to get help with heavy loads, also ask for help with tasks that involve bending over. If you must retrieve something from the floor, bend your knees and hips, keeping your back straight. Scoliosis advice worth repeating: Never bend over from your waist.
  • Work on your abdominal muscles to increase your core strength. This will help support your spine and may prevent progression of scoliosis-related pain. 
  • Practice gentle stretching. Gentle stretches can help strengthen muscles and improve flexibility; they can also help relieve pressure on nerves and reduce muscle spasms. This scoliosis advice includes being sure to ask your physician or physical therapist to recommend some simple stretches that are appropriate for scoliosis before beginning any new fitness or stretching program.

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