Another serious issue with scoliosis bracing is that bones cannot grow properly without intermittent pressure. The theory behind bracing is that it will open the inside of the curve (the concavity) by removing pressure and encourage growth on the concave side of the curve (the convexity). But you need intermittent pressure on bones to stimulate growth and the concavity needs to grow. You cannot “guide” bone growth by squeezing the ribs and bending them laterally while the wearer sleeps or sits.
Even if bracing was proven successful, studies suggest that children only wear them 10 percent of the recommended time. They say bracing hurts, is embarrassing, and handicaps their lives. Full-day bracing doesn’t prevent surgery, so they aren’t inclined to follow the protocol.
In addition, braces like the most common thoracolumbar-sacral-orthosis brace (TLSO) brace squeeze the chest wall and abdomen. A Norwegian study of the TLSO found it significantly decreases pulmonary functions, including breathing capacity, oxygen, and CO2 exchange ratios. Breathing impacts hormone regulation, muscle and fat composition, and cognitive performance. One study showed that children who wore a hard brace had a 30 percent decrease in vital capacity (VC) and a 45 percent decrease in expiratory reserve volume (the air you can push out after a normal exhale). These decreases in pulmonary function are identical to those typically found in long-term smokers! Respiratory distress causes headaches, anxiety, sleep disturbances, nightmares, and cognitive dysfunction (memory, perception, and problem solving). The risks associated with scoliosis braces are extreme.
Part-time scoliosis braces worn only at night and dynamic corrective braces may seem like better options, but they also cause extreme pressure and pain. Plus, studies have shown that patients who wore braces for the prescribed time and those who barely wore them at all have almost the same outcomes.