Scoliosis is often thought of as a condition which only affects teenagers. In fact, scoliosis can develop at any time, including adulthood. Particularly with an aging population worldwide (1), the prevalence of degenerative conditions such as scoliosis is increasing, with up to 68% of those older than 60 years estimated to have scoliosis (2-3). Despite growing numbers of patient cases, many people are not aware of the options adults have in regard to treatment, in particular bracing.
What role can bracing play for adults with scoliosis?
Scoliosis bracing is a non-surgical treatment for scoliosis that involves wearing a brace for a prescribed amount of time each day. This type of bracing can play an important role for adults in managing their condition and improving their quality of life.
The main aim is usually to relieve pain and improve posture and function. Research (4) also supports the use of custom scoliosis bracing for adults in helping to slow down the progression of curves.
A brace is usually worn for several hours a day, although the duration and frequency of wear may vary based on the patient’s individual needs and the severity of their scoliosis. For some adults, bracing may be recommended as a temporary treatment, while in others it may be needed for the long-term.
In addition, bracing may be combined with other treatments such as scoliosis specific rehabilitation, for example ScoliBalance. A combination of both treatments can enable many older patients to live an enhanced quality of life and make daily activities more comfortable.
How is the brace for an adult different?
Adult scoliosis behaves differently to scoliosis in children or adolescents, so it’s important that a brace is designed with the unique aspects of adult scoliosis in mind. Pain is usually the main concern for adults with scoliosis and just treating the curve alone does not necessarily improve pain.
The Adult ScoliBrace deals with the unique features of adult scoliosis that cause pain and reduced movement, such as a change in the postural balance (sagittal and coronal balance) and the development of instability of some vertebrae (lateral listhesis).
Made with the aim of getting the best treatment results in mind, each Adult ScoliBrace is a 3D custom brace incorporating design elements to treat the unique aspects of adult scoliosis that are causing the patient’s symptoms or concerns.
If you have questions about the Adult ScoliBrace or bracing treatment for adults in general, get in touch with a ScoliBrace Provider near you.
1. World Population Aging 1950–2050 United Nations Population Division.
2. McAviney et al (2020). The prevalence of adult de novo scoliosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Spine J 2020 Dec;29(12):2960-2969.
3. Schwab et al (2005) Adult scoliosis: prevalence, SF-36, and nutritional parameters in an elderly volunteer population. Spine 30(9):1082–1085.
4. Palazzo et al (2017). Effects of bracing in adults with scoliosis: A retrospective cohort study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 98: 187-190.