What is a scoliosis brace?
Scoliosis is a condition that causes an abnormal curve in your
A scoliosis brace is a device worn around the torso that can help
prevent the curve from getting worse. It can also make it less likely
that you’ll need surgery in the future after bone growth has
A brace is the only available treatment that can potentially slow
the progression of the curve in a child or adolescent whose bones are
still growing. It doesn’t work after bone growth has stopped.
How does bracing work?
A scoliosis brace is designed to slow or stop progression of the
spinal curvature caused by scoliosis.
Rigid braces put pressure on your spine in several places to help
prevent it from curving more than it already has. Dynamic braces
slow curve progression by retraining your body into maintaining a
Both types of braces may slow progression enough to remove the
need for surgery, but they can’t completely or permanently
straighten your spine.
What are the different types of braces?
A brace that goes from your thoracic spine (upper back) to your
sacral spine (buttocks) is called a thoracic-lumbar-sacral orthosis
(TLSO). It covers your body from your armpits to your hips. It’s the
most common style of brace.
A brace that goes from your cervical spine (neck) to your sacral
spine is called a cervical-thoracic-lumbar-sacral orthosis (CTLSO).
It braces your spine from your neck to your hips.
Some braces are worn full-time; others are worn only while you’re
Milwaukee brace. This was the original scoliosis brace. It’s
a CTLSO. It has a metal superstructure that’s very rigid and
quite noticeable because it’s worn outside of your clothing.
Because of its size, bulk, and appearance, it’s not used
Boston brace. This is the most commonly prescribed brace
today. It’s a TLSO. It fits like a jacket, covering your body
from your armpits to your hips. It’s made of hard but
lightweight plastic. It doesn’t have a superstructure, so it’s
not very noticeable under clothing. A prefabricated brace in
your size is customized to exactly fit your body and spinal
curve. It closes in the back, so it you may need help putting it
on and taking it off.
Wilmington brace. This type is similar to the Boston brace.
It’s made of the same material and fits like a jacket, but it
closes in the front. It’s custom-made for you using a plaster
mold of your torso.
Charleston bending brace. This is the most prescribed
nighttime brace. It’s a TLSO that’s custom-made to fit your
body and spinal curve. It puts strong pressure on your spine,
bending it past the midline of your back. This overcorrection
is only possible while you’re lying down.
How effective is bracing?
Braces have been used to treat scoliosis for over 450 years, but there are
still questions about their effectiveness.
Braces can only slow or stop the progression of a spinal curve. They can’t
get rid of the curve or straighten out the spine.
IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF BRACING
A brace won’t work if it isn’t worn correctly or for the recommended
amount of time. For maximum effectiveness:
wear your brace correctly
check often to be sure it fits properly and have it revised if it
wear it for the recommended amount of time, which is often 16-
23 hours a day
Understand that dynamic braces may not be as effective as rigid ones.