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Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is an abnormal curvature and twisting of the spine that affects children during adolescent growth periods. The cause is unknown; hence it is called idiopathic. It is usually painless and affects both boys and girls. Girls tend to be associated more with AIS as it progresses to need treatment, either a scoliosis brace or surgery, more frequently in girls.

Scoliosis is usually detected by the school nurse, doctor or parents before the child is diagnosed by an orthopaedic- or scoliosis specialist.

Diagnosis is usually made by the doctor after radiological (X-ray) tests have been done to show the location of the curve apex, the angle of curvature (Cobb angle) and the skeletal maturity (Risser score). These results will lead the doctor to determine the prescribed treatment. As a rule of thumb doctors will use the following table as a guide.

Most people have some curvature of the spine and a Cobb angle of 10 or less is considered ‘normal’.

Cobb Angle
< 25 degrees
20-45 degrees
> 40 degrees
Observation and follow up
Scoliosis Brace

The study also found that ‘Bracing significantly decreased progression of high-risk curves to the threshold for surgery and the benefit increased with longer hours of brace wear’1


Once the doctor has diagnosed your type of curve, its severity and determined that a brace is the best course of treatment they will also determine what type of brace and how many hours a day the brace needs to be worn.


The type of brace that you require will usually be one of the following:

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Charleston Bending Brace

This is the most common type of ‘nighttime’ Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis (TLSO) brace and is worn just at night. This can only be used for certain types of curves and provides more significant counter forces to straighten the spine.

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Milwaukee Brace

This is the most common type of Cervical Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis (CTLSO) brace and is worn by children who have curvatures higher up their spine.

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