A diagnosis of scoliosis for your child no doubt prompts a myriad of questions. With the physician’s prescription for a back brace in hand, you embark on a journey to find an orthotist to create the back brace and begin treatment. But, exactly what is an orthotist and what should you look for when choosing one?
An orthotist is a certified medical professional that produces and manages orthoses–devices, such as braces, that control, guide, or immobilize a region of the body, such as the spine in the case of scoliosis. Treatment of scoliosis is a long-term endeavor and requires far more than a one-shot fitting for a back brace. Your child will no doubt visit the orthotist several times over the course of years for the creation of the brace, adjustments for comfort and growth, as well as physical therapy and other treatments. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to find a knowledgeable and caring orthotist who provides patient support and uses evidence-based methods.
So, now that you understand exactly what an orthotist does, what specifically should you be looking for in one? When choosing an orthotist, use the following as your roadmap to guide you in your search. In doing so, you will likely find the right orthotist to accompany you and your child on this journey in the treatment of scoliosis.
- Specializes in the treatment of scoliosis. Does the orthotist specialize in the treatment of scoliosis or do they treat many different conditions and create many kinds of orthotics?
- Demonstrated success rate. How long has the orthotist been in practice? Can the orthotist demonstrate proven results for stabilizing and reducing spinal curves? You will ultimately want to find an orthotist who is tried and true and who uses state-of-the-art technology in creating and managing your child’s brace.
- Recognized and recommended by orthopedists and pediatricians. Is the orthotist one recommended by your orthopedist or pediatrician? Do they work with the national organizations for scoliosis, such as the National Scoliosis Foundation, SOSORT, Scoliosis Research Society? Are they active in their field of research and development?
- Offers fully customized braces. Does the orthotist offer a fully customized back brace, specifically created and outfitted for your child? The orthotist should create a brace for your child’s unique curves, as each body differs. Again, look for state-of-the-art technology, such as the Rigo Cheneau brace, and a qualified and caring professional orthotist.
- Offers a full spectrum of services for scoliosis patients and their families. Does the practice provide complete care for the treatment of scoliosis? Do they provide on-sight imaging, including low-dosage X-ray machines? Is there an in-house physical therapist specializing in scoliosis treatment such as Schroth? Do they offer patient advocacy to educate patients and steer them through the process?
Don’t let finding the right orthotist become a roadblock on your journey to scoliosis treatment. Don’t settle for less. Follow the guidelines above and your journey will prove a success.