Bracing for Scoliosis – Soft OR Hard? – YOU DECIDE!

A Scoliosis brace is a unique to individual medical device that functions to stop progression and hopefully reduce the degree of curve. Generally, there are two types of bracing for scoliosis: soft and hard. Soft bracing works to support, straighten or improve spinal functions. In contrast, a hard brace prevents or assists with movement of the spine, which in essence, re-configures the structure.

Soft bracing has been around and studied for millennia. It fell out of favour due to the emergence of modern hard bracing. A soft brace consists of a somewhat flexible fabric and a series of tight straps that cross the body multiple times. Such as from the crotch and hips, over the shoulders, and around the torso in various directions. This is complicated enough to need instruction and fit only by certified professionals. To which they claim to be able to impart the knowledge onto the user in one fitting session. What are the odds that it can be replicated 100% on a daily basis? 

Context: Sc (SpineCor), Bb (Boston Brace)

In contrast, a hard brace is a fixed structure that is slipped onto the body and fastened. There’s no shortage of studies on hard braces, and they ultimately come to the same conclusion: it is effective*. How effective? Well, that largely depends on compliance**. Which is where the different types of hard brace come into play. Following is a quick comparison chart for your better understanding:-

 

The Align Brace is the modern incarnation of hard braces. It is brilliantly designed with the Asian mentality of ‘less is more’. Lightweight and minimalist, the Align Brace is fully concealable beneath clothing to minimise any ‘spotlight effect’ on the user. A simple shift on fastening and opening makes it easy to wear daily.

Improving on flaws in older hard braces, Align Brace allows the user room to move, maintaining basic forward flexion. Which in turn prevents a flat back syndrome. It guides the body into a corrected posture, minimising load on the spine. At the same time the Align Brace mirrors the scoliosis of the user for a higher degree of curve reduction.

The Align Brace Night Bend for use during sleep

 

 

Citations:-

*Stuart L. Weinstein, M.D., Lori A. Dolan, Ph.D., James G. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., and Matthew B. Dobbs, M.D. (2013) Effects of Bracing in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis. N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1512-1521 DOI:10.1056 NEJMoa1307337

**Brox, Jens & Emil Lange, Johan & Beate Gunderson, Ragnhild & Steen, Harald. (2012). Good brace compliance reduced curve progression and surgical rates in patients with idiopathic scoliosis. European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society. 21. 1957-63. 10.1007/s00586-012-2386-9.

**Rahman, Tariq & Richard Bowen, J & Takemitsu, Masakazu & Scott, Claude. (2005). The Association Between Brace Compliance and Outcome for Patients With Idiopathic Scoliosis. Journal of pediatric orthopedics. 25. 420-2. 10.1097/01.bpo.0000161097.61586.bb.