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Can scoliosis get worse while you are waiting for a brace?

It may happen that between the prescription of a brace and its actual application, some time can elapse, may this be due to bureaucratic issues, issues linked to the orthopaedic shop or simply to personal reasons.

Considering that a brace is prescribed precisely to prevent scoliosis from getting any worse, it is legitimate to wonder what happens while you wait for it to be delivered. Could your scoliosis get worse?

Well, there’s really only one way to find out, which is to have another X-ray taken just before starting to wear your brace. At ISICO, our doctors always ask for a new X-ray whenever, for whatever reason, 3-4 months or more elapse between prescribing and fitting a brace. From these X-rays, we have seen that the condition remains substantially stable in some patients, whereas in others scoliosis worsens by a few degrees. 

Patients going through a growth spurt are at risk of their scoliosis worsening in the space of just a few weeks. 

There is another reason why it is a good idea to have an X-ray not long before receiving the brace: by comparing subsequent X-rays with previous ones, it is possible to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. 

Many specialists, for example, ask their patients to have an X-ray with their brace on quite soon after starting to wear it. By comparing this “brace-on” X-ray with the previous one, they are able to see how the device is working and evaluate how well the patient’s spine is responding to the correction.

So, what can be done to reduce the risk of your curve worsening while you are waiting for your brace to arrive? First of all, you can try and speed up, as far as possible, the bureaucratic process. It is also crucially important to start doing, straight away, your specific self-correction exercises, as these are able to slow down the progression of scoliosis.

Since, for some patients, timely intervention can be crucial in managing the condition, the specialist prescribing the brace will carefully explain what has to be done while waiting for it.