Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I need a brace to correct my spine deformation?"
I've had scoliosis since I was a kid. Do I need a brace to treat this? I haven't been doing anything for it at all.
There are a number of different treatments for scoliosis based on how severe the condition is. Once it has been confirmed that you have scoliosis, the next question is one of timing. If your spine has not reached maturity yet? If it is still growing, it is more likely that you will be able to correct the deformity when you spine is still malleable. The extent of the curvature is important too, as is the location. Traditionally, lumber scoliosis tends to stay in the lumbar area whereas upper spine thoracic scoliosis eventually progresses to include the whole spine. Lastly, individuals who have large curves prior to their adolescent growth spurt are more likely to experience worsening of their scoliosis as they age. Once your primary care doctor and orthopedist have looked at all these variables, they may decide to observe you, give you a brace, or recommend surgery. If your scoliosis has less than a 40 degree angle, you are at low risk of progression (e.g. lumbar) and/or you have completed your growth spurt, observation is appropriate. Your doctor will likely follow you with yearly x-rays. If your curve is 25-40 degrees but you are still growing, a brace may be appropriate to keep the curve from getting worse while you finish your growth. It is unlikely to fix the curve you already have, however. If you have reached maturity and want your scoliosis fixed, then surgery is basically your option. This typically involves removing discs in your spine and then performing a spinal fusion with fixation rods. There are a number of approaches, the description of which is not something you need to now about at this time, but suffice to say that your doctor will explain all of this in detail should it come to that point. Best of luck.
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