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Child's Scoliosis Stresses Patients, Parents: Study

THURSDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Having to wear a body brace for the treatment of scoliosis (curved spine) causes stress for teen patients and their parents, a new study finds.

But parents worry most of all. While teen girls dislike wearing a hard plastic brace around their torso, parents are more worried than their children about scoliosis itself, said the researchers at Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland.

The study, published June 15 in the journal Spine, included 63 girls with scoliosis who wore a brace to prevent the spinal curve from worsening. Their average age was 14. In such cases, patients generally must wear the brace at least 12 hours a day until they finish growing.

The girls in this study wore their braces an average of nearly 16 hours a day. After about 14 months of brace treatment, the patients and their parents were asked to rate their levels of emotional stress associated with the brace treatment and with scoliosis itself.

Both the patients and their parents found the brace treatment moderately stressful. But while the girls reported low levels of stress related to the scoliosis itself, their parents rated this form of stress as moderate.

Stress levels in both patients and parents were unrelated to the severity of the spinal curve or how long the patient had worn her body brace, according to a journal news release.

The findings suggest that both patients and parents should be evaluated for emotional stress related to scoliosis and treatment with a body brace, the researchers said in the news release.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about scoliosis.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Spine, news release, June 15, 2012

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