Silicon Valley Scoliosis Back Brace

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Silicon Valley Scoliosis Back Brace

Myth 2: Braces cause rib cage distortion

Fact: Rib cage distortion occurs as a result of scoliosis, and will happen even without a brace.
While some types of braces may worsen this distortion, other braces, like the Cheneau-style braces, reduce rib cage distortion, making the rib hump smaller.

In the US and in many other developed countries, the Boston brace is the first brace of choice for scoliosis. If your child was prescribed a brace by a medical doctor, chances are it was a Boston brace. The Boston brace design is suspected of over-compressing the ribs, and doing so in a way that can actually worsen the rotational twisting of the spine, and worsening the rib hump making it more pronounced.

The heavy dependency of US orthopedic surgeons on the Boston brace is probably why there exist pockets of rather vocal opposition to bracing. Most research cited by anti-brace advocates is looking at either the Boston brace or designs that are similarly compressive like the Boston brace. Fortunately, there are many alternative Brace designs to the Boston brace. The Cheneau Gensingen brace (aka Cheneau brace) design solves this the problem of rib cage distortion, and a well-designed and properly worn Cheneau brace will typically result in a reduced rib cage.

Myth 3: Braces cause the spine to become stiff, resulting in loss of spinal mobility

Fact: Scoliosis becomes stiff with loss of spinal motion even without a brace.
As scoliosis becomes larger in size, the spine loses its ability to exercise through its normal range of motion; the spine can no longer straighten or bend out of the curve. This loss of range of motion that occurs with every scoliosis is what leads to the stiffness of scoliosis. A brace that is ineffective in straightening the spine, especially if used without an adequate exercise program, can make this stiffness even worse. It is important to note however, that brace can only worsen the problem of stiffness, and that the root cause of the stiffness is scoliosis itself.

When a brace is a part of an effective exercise program, and the treatment results in straightening of the spine, an INCREASE in spinal range of motion is observed, not a loss. The spine, because it is now straighter, is better able to exercise through its intended range of motion, and becomes more flexible.

I stated earlier “nothing assures the cessation of rapid scoliosis progression like a well-designed brace that is used and worn properly”. If this statement is true, and in our clinical observation it certainly is, then nothing assures the preservation of a good spinal range of motion like a well-designed brace that is used and worn properly. In fact, this is exactly what we are seeing: Patients that reduce their curves by using bracing and exercise have also restored their normal spinal range of motion.

Myth 4: Wearing a brace for scoliosis will result in weaker spinal muscles.

Fact: While wearing a hard brace has potential to make the muscles weak from disuse, it is possible to balance the immobilizing effect of a hard brace with an effective scoliosis exercise program, resulting in a stronger spine than when the patient first began wearing a brace.

Differing brace designs can vary in how much spinal motion they do or don’t allow. On one extreme are the soft flexible braces that may allow full range of motion but provide smaller corrective force, and on the other is a full-length hard brace that provides maximum corrective input but allows little spinal motion.

The bottom line in all this debate is what actually will work the most reliably to keep your child’s scoliosis from growing worse. We have seen that a well designed 3-Dimensional hard brace can be worn for 20+ hours a day, and when combined with a good spinal exercise program, results in both a straighter and a stronger spine.

Myth 5: All scoliosis braces have fundamentally the same problems discussed above.

Fact: Scoliosis braces vary widely in design quality and there is great variety in the skill of the specialist fitting the brace to the patient’s body. Some braces are poorly designed and improperly fit the patient’s body. Other braces, like the Rigo-Cheneau brace, have excellent design characteristics and can be highly corrective when fit by a skilled specialist. Braces may be therefore capable of having all the problems mentioned above, or capable of solving all the problems above.

A well-designed 3-D brace that straightens the spine and reduces rib distortion can be a very valuable tool, especially when used in conjunction with exercises and stretches.

Like many myths and misconceptions, the above statements contain elements of truth, and they reflect what can and does go wrong when using a brace, especially in the US where bracing technology lags behind that of the Europeans. So while the above statements reflect real concerns, common bracing problems can be rendered insignificant and irrelevant when a brace is designed and used correctly. What is most important to understand is, that nothing assures the cessation of rapid scoliosis progression like a well-designed brace that is used and worn properly.

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Silicon Valley Scoliosis Back Brace


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