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Double Braced

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I didn’t share this earlier because I wasn’t sure if anyone was interested.
In addition to my orthodontic braces journey, I’ve been struggling with back pain and issues for several years.
I’m a disabled veteran and get most of my medical care through the VA. They’ve been treating my back pain with physical therapy and radio frequency ablation-which is an unpleasant procedure. Last year, I also had shoulder problems and was again provided physical therapy. Upon evaluation, one of the things they found was a winging scapula. This by itself is t that noteworthy except when I had my back eval, they noted that one half of my pelvis tilts forward. I asked if my back problems and shoulder issue could be related to scoliosis. I was assured that wasn’t possible. of note, the VA had prescribed a TLSO brace for my back previously, but for spinal instability. I didn’t mind wearing it, but it was very bulky and was meant as a reminder instead of a brace that actually held me in the proper spinal position. 
I decided to not take any chances with my back, in the event something else was going on that could be better treated, and sought an outside evaluation. Wouldn’t you know I was right. I have double curve scoliosis- a lumbar curve and a thoracic curve in the other direction. So after seeing an outside provider with copies of my MRIs, and a new set of X-rays, along with him conferring with another specialist, their agreed upon opinion was that a custom spinal TLSO orthosis to be worn on a regular basis would provide the best care for me. I was scanned about a month ago and last week my back brace was ready. I had my initial fitting today. There are a few alterations that need to be made, so it won’t be ready for me to start wearing until tomorrow.
I was given 2 options for wear. The first is 8-10 hours per day, and possibly after 3 or 4 years, I might be able to wean off of it. The other option is 20-24 hours a day which would most likely require 2 1/2- 3 years of wear before weaning out of it. They both have their pluses and minuses. Make no mistake, this brace is very restrictive. It holds my shoulders on both sides all the way down to my hips. I can feel it pulling my back in the proper position which relieves a lot of my pain, but is overwhelming right now in its limitations. It will take some time getting used to in addition  to being in the middle of orthodontic treatment (which I actually enjoy). I feel like I’m a middle aged stay at home mom reliving somebody else’s high school life. I’ll provide an update in a couple of days to let you all know how it’s going and which plan I decide to follow.

I picked up my brace this morning after one last fitting. The area under my armpits are still really high making me look like a football linebacker, but my doctor wants to keep it that way for the next week to see if my spine will stretch out. On my break in schedule, it said to start with 2 hours today and add an hour each day until I reach 20-23 hours a day. The decision on how best to wear my brace was made for me by my doctor.
I got home and put it on for two hours as instructed. I tried doing a few things around the house, one of them being laundry- I can’t reach the floor to pick anything up! I went through the two baskets that had a mishosh of the kids’ clothes that I could reach and was able to put a load together. I’ll need a grabber stick moving forward. I tried sitting down, but the brace dug even further into my armpits, so I stood back up. I cleaned the kitchen from breakfast this morning and went through the mail that was on the table. I was exhausted from waking up at 5:15 this morning to get the kids ready for school and the nervousness of picking up my brace, so I decided to try laying down. There was nothing graceful about it. I sat on the edge of the bed, and leaned toward my pillow, which stared easy enough. But when I was almost there, my arms got tangled up and stuck. I managed to arrange my feet to help me roll over, which turned into more of a flop on my back. I laid there for several minutes just taking stock of what my life is about to become. My orthodontic braces are still very present. I still have my cross bite, and haven’t noticed the slightest movement attempting to widen my arch with just arch wires. I’ve gotten pretty used to only having four teeth to chew with. I miss being able to bite anything. I went to a meeting last week that was catered…with sandwiches. I felt like a fool trying to eat in front of everyone, especially considering a few of the attendees are city council members and mayors of cities in my county. I love my orthodontic braces, and secretly like the loss of control over them, but sometimes they can be humiliating. And I feel my embarrassment and humiliation will increase for awhile once I gain the courage to venture outside wearing my back brace. I’m not kidding when I say I’m doing the math to figure out how to get my brace time in at home for as long as I possibly can. I think I have about three and a half weeks before I can leave my house for only three hours at a time, and that’s only if I can tolerate sleeping with it on throughout the night. ????

Thanks for your service and for the update. I hope the brace helps and you get relief in your back! Will you be sharing pictures?

I hope that you can get used to your brace very soon and it relieves your pain. Must be really tough for you right now.

Best wishes,

I wish you the best of luck with your treatment.  I hope it gets easier for you.  Thank you for sharing with us.


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