Do Braces Work for Adults With Scoliosis?


Quick Answer

For adult scoliosis, the preference is to avoid surgery, but braces don't work at this stage. Therapeutic exercises, medical treatments and patient education are the most effective alternatives to surgery, according to The New York Times. People with at least a 50 degree curve often choose surgery.

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Full Answer

With patients who suffer from degenerative lumbar scoliosis, epidural steroid injections have provided a helpful alternative to surgery in some cases. Braces don't work because their purpose is to provide support through the growth process, but adults don't continue to develop in ways that braces would support, states The New York Times.

People with at least a 50 degree curvature in the spine who report significant pain are candidates for surgery, as are those with at least a 60 degree curvature with or without pain. People with significant deformity, progressive mid and low back curve or low back curve with ongoing pain are also candidates. Surgeons generally would like to perform operations on patients younger than 50, although it can be appropriate for older people in some cases. Because adults have an elevated risk of pneumonia, poor healing, persistent pain and infection, many doctors refuse to perform scoliosis surgery on adults unless all other remedies have been exhausted, notes The New York Times.

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