- Madison Perez, Intern
Embrace the Brace! Ways to Conquer Your Scoliosis Brace Treatment
You've just been diagnosed with scoliosis, and a wave of emotions brings on concerns about how your life will change. Uncertainties arise as you discover your treatment is to wear a back brace, day in and day out, for the next few years. You feel overwhelmed and have no idea what lies ahead.
These sentiments are common, and it's okay to be upset.
The most common type of scoliosis in children is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which has an unknown cause and presents itself at around the age of 10 to 12 years old. Evaluations for scoliosis can be carried out by your doctor or through a school screening to detect early signs of the spinal condition.
Fortunately, scoliosis does not have to put restrictions on how you live your life. Many individuals with scoliosis carry out active lifestyles and go on to have successful careers. Take Olympic swimmer Jessica Ashwood, for example, who has scoliosis and has defied barriers as a competitive swimmer.
For adolescents, sticking to a diligent wearing schedule, trying to stay active and comfortable, all on top of the social stressors that come with wearing a brace at school may be challenging to navigate.
However, working with your doctor for an optimal wearing routine, surrounding yourself with support, and taking ownership of your brace will lead to successful brace treatment.
Finding Confidence in Wearing Your Brace
Having to strap on a rigid brace is undesirable (Check out our last article on tips for wearing a back brace), and can take a toll on your mental health if you're struggling with self-confidence. Wearing a back brace, however, is not forever. Although scoliosis is apart of who you are, it does not define you.
Below is advice on staying positive, confident, and self-empowered as a scoliosis brace wearer.
Learn about scoliosis and bracing. It's necessary to understand what you are facing. What's your diagnosis? What is the typical progression? Knowing what's going on with your body and what to expect will help prepare yourself and help you adjust more quickly
Learn to accept your scoliosis. Allow yourself to fully express your feelings as you adjust to your new diagnosis. It can be difficult, but learning to accept your scoliosis will help you move forward in taking ownership of both your body and brace.
Embrace the brace. If possible, choose a material in your favorite color or decorate it with cool stickers. Channel your inner fashionista with how you style your clothes over your brace. Explain to your friends how you're wearing a brace to avoid back surgery and to better your health, rather than trying to hide it.
You are not alone. There is a whole community of people with scoliosis in a similar position as you. Check out the following resources to learn more and relate to others' experiences; Their successes can help you stay motivated and inspired.
National Scoliosis Foundation: a notable resource if you are seeking additional information and support.
Scoliosis Research Society - Patient Stories: an international society aimed at fostering optimal care for patients with spinal conditions.
Curvy Girls: an international network of scoliosis support groups for teen girls.
There will be ups and downs, but continue to have a positive outlook and trust that with time the lows will become less intense in your scoliosis journey.
Check out the Power of Strength, an original short story comic about the discovered strength of a girl who overcame her scoliosis fears.
Custom Bracing at Kickstart O&P
Should you or your child be diagnosed with scoliosis, a doctor may prescribe a custom-made brace to slow the progression of the spinal curvature.
Here at Kickstart, our certified orthotist/prosthetist will work with you and your doctor to develop and carry out a treatment plan, providing a specially-made brace just for you.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or a consultation at Kickstart, please call (510) 996-4200 or fill out our Request More Information page.
“Curvy Girls Scoliosis Foundation.” Facebook, www.facebook.com/CurvyGirlsScoliosis/.
Lutton, Phil. “Standing Tall: Jessica Ashwood Is Finally on the Straight and Narrow.” The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 May 2019, www.smh.com.au/sport/swimming/standing-tall-jessica-ashwood-is-finally-on-the-straight-and-narrow-20190515-p51nqs.html.
Nsf. “DONATE.” National Scoliosis Foundation, www.scoliosis.org/.
“Scoliosis Research Society.” SRS, www.srs.org/patients-and-families/conditions-and-treatments/parents/scoliosis/adolescent-idiopathic-scoliosis.