There are different kinds of scoliosis. Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is the kind of scoliosis that develops without any cause at the onset of puberty. This is exactly what happened to our eldest daughter, Shawna. One month after she turned 13, she had her menstruation and her back just got all bent. This is our story.
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
While we are a homeschooling family, we make it a point to include physical activities for kids. Aside from playdates, we encourage them to dance in the house or do household chores. Since we live on the third floor of a building, we also assign tasks that get them to go up and down three flights of stairs. Plus, they have occasional outdoor activities. They understand the role of movement in physical fitness and their overall wellness.
However, much of the going out was hindered during the pandemic. While we tried, the kids didn’t get to move as much as we wanted them to.
In March of 2022, our eldest Shawna turned 13 years old. A month later, her menstruation started. And that was also when I noticed that her right shoulder was protruding upwards while her left hip was sticking out.
Since the pandemic was letting up, I mustered the courage to bring her to the PA Perez Physiotheraphy Clinic and Dr. Jan Quisumbing (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation). Their prognosis: Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.
What is Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis?
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that occurs in late childhood or during adolescence. I actually started noticing a slight curve in Shawna’s spine in 2020. But because it was a pandemic and hers was not an emergency case, we did not immediately seek medical attention.
Idiopathic, we were told, means it happened naturally. Her scoliosis is not caused by genetics (not hereditary) or injury or bad posture. Simply put nothing or no one is to blame for this condition. Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis just happens to a number of teenagers in a population.
Dr. Quisumbing immediately ordered a Scoliosis X-Ray Series. The X-Ray was no longer to determine if Shawna has scoliosis or not. It was just to determine the angle of the curvature and to get a clear picture of the situation of her spine. We learned that Shawna has thoracolumbar scoliosis with an angle of 30 degrees. Her condition already falls in the moderate category.
Boston Brace for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
Upon the recommendation of Dr. Quisumbing, Shawna underwent 10 physical therapy sessions at the PA Perez Physiotherapy Clinic. We also had a Boston brace made for her. Plus, she had to religiously follow the stretches and exercises recommended by her physical therapist.
What is a Boston Brace?
The Boston brace is customized to fit the upper body and is the most utilized scoliosis brace. It is also considered the premier system for the non-operative treatment of scoliosis. It is supposed to help “train” the spine to grow in the correct way.
What is the Boston Brace Made Of?
I think that others are made differently but my daughter’s brace is made of polypropylene plastic. Then it is lined with something like rubber called EVA foam so that it is soft on the skin.
The brace is hard because it is supposed to “force” the spine to straighten up.
How Many Hours a Day Do You Wear a Boston Brace?
We were told that Shawna has to wear her brace for 23 hours every day. Yes, you read it right, 23 hours every day, which includes sleep time. She only gets to take her Boston brace off during bathtimes and her stretching. Well, it also follows that she gets to rest when I need to wash her brace or when she goes swimming.
The logic is that, according to Dr. Quisumbing, the spine will grow in the wrong way again if given the chance. That is why the Boston brace has to be worn correctly for a certain number of hours in a day. It also has to fit snugly, which is why we constantly have it adjusted whenever necessary.
Until When Do You Wear a Boston Brace?
The Boston brace has to be worn until the patient has stopped growing at the maximum of 23 years old. We may or may not need a change of brace.
Wearing the brace for only a few years can reset any progress made in the treatment plan and the spine can curve any which way again.
Scoliosis Update After 4 Months
In September 2022, Shawna went for another Scoliosis x-ray series and we discovered that her curvature went down 5 degrees. She was at 25 degrees and her doctor was quite happy with her progress. It just goes to show that strictly following the treatment protocol can really correct the spine’s growth.
Boston Brace Maker in Bacolod
To answer some questions sent to me privately in the past, the cost of a fully customized Boston brace here in Bacolod City was P25,000. This was as of May 2022.
Yes, I do have the contact number of the maker but I would rather that the doctor give you the recommendation. A Boston brace was prescribed by Dr. Quisumbing. After this, the brace maker fitted our daughter with a mold in order to correct her Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Her Boston brace was custom-made to fit her body and the curvature of her spine.
Warning: You cannot just order a Boston brace. See a doctor first.