When you are fit with your brace, it may be hard, probably uncomfortable and you likely will not want to wear it. You can do this and you are not alone, the first few weeks of brace wear may create challenges but it is important in these days of adjustment 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 their 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 if no-one is there to help?
- 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. (Click image to see larger view)
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 - Wear a tight fitting non-ribbed cotton t-shirt or similar. Curvy Girls Scoliosis recommends undershirts designed by a scoliosis family sold at
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 to best do this 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. Clean the inside of your brace as needed, you could have this brace for a year or more. 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 - Shower daily (great opportunity to get out of your brace).
Check your skin for reddened areas. If reddening does not subside or there is any bruising or broken skin return to your orthotist quickly so adjustments can be made.
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.
Ensure your orthosis is a snug fit as too loose or too tight can cause skin irritation and sores.
Do not wear your brace and seek help if your skin is broken or has sores.
There will be some discomfort but pain is a warning that something is not right and should be addressed immediately.
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, we recognize
that it takes more than we can provide alone so we would recommend that
you take the time to review some of the websites below.
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.