|NEWSRoom | Source: Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins|
For Teens with Scoliosis and Their Parents, Brace Treatment Increases Stress
Wearing a body brace for the treatment of scoliosis leads to increased stress levels for young patients with scoliosis as well as their parents, reports a study in Spine.
While teens and their parents find brace treatment similarly stressful, parents tend to overestimate the stress associated with scoliosis itself, according to the new study by Ewa Misterska, MSc, PhD, and colleagues of Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland. They write, "Complete assessment of conservative treatment should include evaluation of emotional stress from the perspective of patients and parents."
Scoliosis Is Stressful—for Parents as Well as Patients
Using questionnaires, the researchers assessed stress related to scoliosis and brace treatment in 63 girls undergoing conservative (nonsurgical) treatment for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis, generally developing after age 10; most affected patients are girls.
The girls in the study, average age 14 years, were prescribed treatment with a hard plastic torso brace to keep the spinal curve from getting more severe. In general, patients are advised to wear the brace at least 12 hours per day, until they are finished growing.
The patients and their parents were asked to rate the level of emotional stress associated with brace treatment and with scoliosis itself. The girls were assessed after about 14 months of brace treatment; on average, they wore their brace nearly 16 hours per day.
Both the girls and their parents felt a "moderate" level of stress related to wearing a brace. However, while the patients reported "low" stress related to the scoliosis itself, the parents rated this level of stress "moderate."
In both groups, stress levels were unrelated to the severity of the spinal curve, as measured on X-rays. Stress was also unrelated to how long the patient had worn her brace.
The results support previous studies reporting that brace treatment for scoliosis leads to increased stress, while adding new information on differences in perceived stress between girls with scoliosis and their parents. While both patients and parents find bracing to be moderately stressful, parents rate the stress associated with scoliosis higher than their daughters do.
The study has implications for maximizing the results of brace treatment for adolescent scoliosis, Dr Misterska and coauthors suggest. To reduce emotional distress and to prevent dropout from treatment, comprehensive evaluation of children with scoliosis should "take into account the stress level related to parents' perception of the psychological burden and emotional stress connected with the spinal deformity of their child."
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