Other Treatments for Scoliosis
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Special strengthening exercises may improve spinal deformity and reduce the progress of spinal curve in adolescents.
The use of a brace depends on the child's age and scoliosis. It does not work with every child. Evidence is also mixed on whether it is helpful. A brace may help curves that are greater than 20 to 25 degrees and less than 40 to 50 degrees. It may also help those that have gotten worse by more than 10 degrees. It may only be helpful in children who are still growing. Braces may not improve the current degree of curve, but they may prevent the curve from getting worse and needing surgery.
Your child will be asked to wear the brace for 16 to 23 hours a day. Exercises will also be given to help maintain lung function.
It can be awkward to wear these braces. Many adolescents do not like to look different from their peers. Call the doctor if your child is having a hard time adjusting to the brace.
Here are the types of braces:
This brace covers the entire torso. It has an area to rest the chin and a headrest for the back of the head. One flat bar travels down the front. Two flat bars travel down the back. This type of brace is used for scoliosis that happens at any point along the spine.
Thoracolumbosacral Orthosis (TLSO) or Boston Brace
This brace does not extend under the chin or behind the head. It stays under the arms and wraps around the back, rib cage, lower back, and hips.
Charleston Bending Brace
This is a brace that is worn only at night.
This is a new type of brace that consists of a cotton vest and adjustable bands.
Serial casting may be an option for some infants and children. A cast is applied around the chest and belly. It is changed every 3 to 6 months. It keeps the trunk still. This may straighten the spine. Casting is done with anesthesia. This helps your child's spine relax so the doctor can reposition it before the cast is applied. Serial casting can delay surgery until a later age in children whose spine still needs to be treated.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated June 1, 2019. Accessed July 24, 2019.
Congenital scoliosis and kyphosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated January 19, 2016. Accessed July 24, 2019.
Idiopathic scoliosis in children and adolescents. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/idiopathic-scoliosis-in-children-and-adolescents. Updated March 2015. Accessed July 24, 2019.
Infantile and juvenile idiopathic scoliosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated March 5, 2018. Accessed July 24, 2019.
Scoliosis in children and adolescents. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/scoliosis. Updated December 30, 2015. Accessed July 24, 2019.
Idiopathic scoliosis in children and adolescents. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at:
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Updated March 2015. Accessed May 16, 2017.
Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 10/18/2019
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