Why Do I Have to Wear a Brace?
Facts About Bracing
Bracing may be prescribed to help prevent scoliosis - an abnormal curvature of the spine - from progressing.
Your physician decided that your scoliosis is best taken care of with brace treatment. Bracing for scoliosis helps keep your spine as straight as possible. While bracing is not an easy thing to do, most kids your age can do it.
How Do I Get a Brace Made?
Your doctor chooses the brace best for you from the many different kinds of braces. Your brace is chosen based on where the curve in your spine is located. Your brace is made by an orthotist. The orthotist knows how to make arm and leg braces in addition to spine braces. The orthotist is very knowledgeable and will help answer all of your questions. Depending on the kind of brace you need, a cast may be put on you for just ten minutes. You will be totally covered with a t-shirt type garment while the brace mold is made. Now the orthotist has a perfect mold of you to use while making the brace. It will take a few days to make your brace and then you will become an official brace wearer.
Bracing is a Commitment
Just like playing a sport or a musical instrument, getting good grades or being someone's best friend, it takes a commitment from you. Your doctor and nurse will speak to you about bracing and how many hours a day you need to wear it. Once you know how long to wear the brace each day, you need to figure out what activity is most important to you. Normally, your doctor and nurse will work with you so that for your most special interests, like being on the swim team, you will be allowed that period of time out of your brace. Make your weekly plan and stick to it. While you need to wear your brace for a while, it will not be forever, just until you stop growing. Ask your doctor how long he or she thinks you will need to wear your brace. Your doctor will be able to give you an idea, but it really depends on how fast you finish growing. But don't forget, everyone is a little different.
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We All Need Friends
Of course there will be days when you think that wearing a brace is really stupid. Those are the days that you need a buddy to talk things out. Sometimes your best friend is the person you can count on. Talk to that friend about bracing. A good book to read about life with scoliosis is "There's an S on My Back: 'S' Is for Scoliosis" by Mary Mahony. Your friend can read it too. Make it a friend helping a friend thing. Have your friend log on to this website to learn more too!
Don't try and hide your brace. This will drive you crazy. Have the school nurse speak to the other kids in the school about scoliosis - this helps. Everyone needs to know that you are just a normal kid that needs a brace for your back while you grow. Just like kids wear braces to straighten their teeth, you are wearing a brace on your back to help hold it straight. Maybe you can have a sleepover with some of the kids in your class so that you can introduce your new friend (your brace) to all your friends. Keep a positive attitude; you can do this!
The Kids Make Fun of Me
Some kids may say really dumb things. Those are the kids that don't understand what you are going through. If that kind of stuff starts, let parents and teachers know. Don't try and go it alone. Parents can speak with other parents and the teachers can remind the kids what this brace thing is all about.
My Brace Hurts
The first few days of brace wearing can sometimes be difficult. Just like getting used to a new pair of shoes, you will have to get used to your new brace. At first, there may be some places under your brace that will be uncomfortable. They are called pressure points. Your skin will get used to these pressure points after a few days but it may take a couple of weeks to feel really good in your new brace. At first, you and your parents may think you will never get used to it. But trust me, you will. The orthotist may need to make some adjustments to better fit your brace. You and your orthotist will become very good friends! Within the first week, you will wear your brace for short periods of time and gradually increase the time each day. Within two weeks of wearing your brace, you will be a pro!
To learn about sore spots, how to help prevent them and the day you can discard your brace ... "click" below.