Bracing for Scoliosis
How many types of braces are available for scoliosis?
In general, there are 2 main types of braces: hard brace and soft brace.
Hard braces are made of thermoplastic. It has been the main brace prescribed over the last a few decades. Common types of hard braces are Boston’s, Charleston’s, and Milwaukie’s etc.
|Hard Brace||Soft Brace|
Like what its name suggests, it is hard and non-flexible, and wearing which limits movements of the spine. Hence it greatly affects one’s sports participation and causes significant comfort and tolerance issues. Additionally, hard brace is usually bulky and heavy, and shows under the clothes, it is not easily accepted by image-conscious teenage girls. Besides, it also creates much stiffness of the spine, weakness and tightness of the spine muscles.
Soft brace on the other hand, allows movement of the spine when worn. Therefore, the spine is much more mobile during and after the treatment, there is also much less muscle imbalance and joint stiffness of the spine.
Currently the only available soft brace for scoliosis is SpineCor brace. You can get more information on SpineCor brace by following this link: http://www.spinecorporation.com.
How different are the two types of braces? Is one definitely better than the other?
It’s hard to say which brace is definitely better than the other, they work on different principles. Hard braces are designed to hold against spine deformity statically, soft brace on the other hand, is designed to use dynamic force to target on bone deformity and muscle re-training and balancing.
Both hard and soft braces can be effective before the bones of the spine reach maturity, which is usually between 13-15 years old for girls and 15-17 years old for boys. Hard braces can be used for any types of scoliosis such as neuromuscular scoliosis, congenital scoliosis, and idiopathic scoliosis. SpineCor brace is designed for idiopathic scoliosis only.
Both braces need to be worn regularly throughout the day (16 hours per day). Soft braces are lighter and more comfortable to wear; it is more cosmetically acceptable as it can be well hidden under the clothes. It also allows better posture & muscle development, and is able to promote good mobility of the spine while correcting the curve. Hard braces are usually much heavier and hotter to wear and may result in a poorer compliance compared to soft braces.
For people who participate in sports like dancing, gymnast, running or badminton, soft brace is of a much more practical choice. Soft brace is also recommended for individuals who are more prone to skin problems or who are likely to have compliance issues.