After being fit with your brace, it may take a while to get used to wearing it. It's important to remember that you have the support of your doctor, orthotist and other healthcare professionals as well as your family and friends. Remember to be yourself, be proud to just ‘BE ME,’ and that the brace will not define you but how you respond to it will help shape who you become.
Your orthotist will suggest a gradual increasing of wear over a couple of weeks to get up to the prescribed wear time from your doctor. During this time it is important to let your orthotist know if your brace causes pain, skin irritation, red marks or bruising so that adjustments can be made. Don’t try to make adjustments yourself as your brace has been designed to your specific needs.
The girls in
Straight Talk with the Curvy Girls recommend telling family and friends about your brace. You might feel a bit nervous about how people may react, but remember, scoliosis is nothing to be ashamed of. One young girl compared it to wearing braces on her teeth saying, “At first I was embarrassed to smile with my braces because I thought they looked weird. I realized that they were just there to help straighten my teeth. It’s just like my scoliosis brace. It’s helping to straighten my back. I’m still the same girl, and I still smile wearing my braces on my teeth and my brace on back. The more I talk about it and answer questions, the easier it is for people to see that it’s not a big deal.” For ideas on how to start the conversation and discuss your scoliosis and brace with others, check out
There are probably lots of questions that you will have for your orthotist before, during and after your brace fitting here are some you may want to include:
- How do I put on and remove the brace by myself?
- How do I get in and out of bed wearing it?
- Can I get it wet?
- What do I do if it hurts?
- What information does the monitor report?
- How do I clean it?
Measuring Wear Time
Your Hanger Clinic brace may have an iO™ monitor included. This is a discrete button sized device fabricated into your brace.
Your orthotist will download the data from this device every time that you visit and provide you and your doctor with a copy of the report.
(Click image to see larger view)
This report will show you how many hours a day you are wearing your brace and how many days you achieve your wear time target. This will help you determine how well you are doing against your target and help your doctor adjust your treatment appropriately.
Applying and Removing your Brace
Start by wearing something comfortable and snug, like a tight-fitting non-ribbed cotton t-shirt. Curvy Girls Scoliosis recommends undershirts from Hope's Closet, which are designed by a scoliosis family.
Step into your brace and adjust until it sits comfortably around your waist.
Thread the straps through the buckles and then pull the middle strap until the marks on the Velcro strap are just visible, then fasten the lower and upper straps. You may need help and/or a mirror, but after time you will get used to the right feel. Be patient with yourself as this takes practice.
To remove, loosen the straps and step out of the brace.
Cleaning your Brace
Wearing a t-shirt under the brace will help keep the brace clean, but you should still clean the inside of your brace as needed. The foam will not absorb moisture but perspiration will collect on it.
Use rubbing alcohol. As directed by the manufacturer, dilute the rubbing alcohol and store in a spray bottle. Hold the spray about 6 inches from the inner surface of your brace and spray evenly. Use a dry cloth to wipe off the excess liquid. Using alcohol means your brace will be ready to wear instantly.
A mild soap can be used to remove stains but do not soak your brace, and allow time for it to dry before wearing it again.
Caring for your Skin
A too loose or too tight brace can cause skin irritation and sores, so it's important to check your skin! If reddening does not subside or there is any bruising or broken skin, return to your orthotist quickly so adjustments can be made. Some discomfort is normal, but pain is a warning that something is not right and should be addressed immediately.
Use anti-perspirant but avoid the use of creams, lotions or alcohol on your skin unless advised by a healthcare professional.
Wear underpants over the brace to reduce the risk of the bands rubbing your skin.
The Hanger Clinic BEME program includes an informational wear and care brochure that our clinicians often give to patients when a brace is provided and you can download it within one of the two links below:
Support and Resources
The Hanger Clinic BEME
program aims to help empower you to fulfill your potential. These additional resources can also help!
CurvyGirlsScoliosis.com - An online and face to face organization that has 47 groups in 37 states. Founded in 2005 this has become the place to go for young girls to network (without parents), share their stories and support each other.
SettingScoliosisStraight.org - The Setting Scoliosis Straight Foundation provides educational resources for children and parents and is an extension of the HARMS Study Group that has been carrying out research into scoliosis surgery for a number of years. They also provide a very helpful handbook that can be obtained free from 1-877-4HANGER.
StraightTalkScoliosis.com - This website augments the contents of the book written by Robin and Theresa, parents of Leah and Rachel who both had scoliosis, Leah also went on to found Curvy Girls Scoliosis. The book makes a great read for any child and parent affected by Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.
SRS.org - The Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) is an international society that was founded in 1966 with 35 members. It has gained recognition as one of the world's premier spine societies. It also provides a range of resources, information and education for children and parents.
Scoliosis.org - The National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF) is a patient-led nonprofit organization dedicated since 1976 to helping children, parents, adults, and health-care providers.