3D Bracing

3D bracing scoliosis academy

Scoliosis Academy - Janzen & Janzen Health Center Campbell, CA.

We specialize in conservative care with a specialty in non-surgical scoliosis treatment!

3D bracing scoliosis academy

With every scoliosis case the curve becomes larger, gravity can become the main “driving force.” Whatever was the original cause of the curve can become less of an issue than gravity itself. Past around 25 degrees in a lumbar curve, gravity tends to become the larger driving force of the curve.

Once gravity has a good pull on a curve, it can quickly grow out of control. Because of gravity, there is an exponential increase in the amount of work a patient must do to arrest a growing curve. It is exponentially more difficult to treat a 45 degree lumbar curve than it is to treat a 35 degree lumbar curve. Bracing is the most effective way to guard against the damage of gravity. At JJHC we use a cutting edge 3D asymmetrical brace, a combination of technologies from across the world to create a custom fitted, corrective and comfortable scoliosis brace for every curve type.

The larger the scoliosis, the more gravity pulls on it. Just consider the 90 degree curve shown above. Also, curves that occur in the lower parts of the spine have more upper body weight compressing them. By eliminating gravity, we area also addressing:

  • Bad Posture or slumped posture
  • Bone Distortion is minimized
  • Rib humps can be helped
  • Overstretched ligaments can grow shorter again to hold the spine straighter

With a good brace, we can put the spine in the straightest posture possible throughout the day AND during the night. The brace is full-time worn around 22 to 23 hours per day. If indicated by a doctor, it can potentially be worn just at night, however it is most often used as a full-time brace.

Why is it important to have a straighter spine while sleeping?
That’s when the spine and body do the most growing…hence, allowing the spine to “grow into” a new and straighter posture. Why allow the spine to “grow crooked” while sleeping, when you can have it straighter?

Three dimensional braces here at ScoliAcademy™ and JJHC, using ideologies from across the world, are built to address both the bending and the twisting of a scoliosis.

SCOLIACADEMY™ offers 3 different styles of bracing…

A 3D brace that is properly designed and fitted will help reduce both the bending and the twisting rotation of the scoliosis. ScoliAcademy™ offers a variety of braces for different situation, outlined below.

Daytime Brace
A corrective but comfortable brace that allows for all day wear, and may also be worn at night – the standard for most patients.
A ScoliAcademy Daytime Brace on fitting day!
Nighttime Brace
When laying down a scoliotic spine will naturally elongate and straighten up to 33%. This fact, along with the fact that it takes less pressure to straighten a spine when there is no gravity pulling on it, allows for a more hyper-corrective brace to be worn while sleeping.

A good nighttime brace is so corrective that wearing it while upright is too uncomfortable, however laying down in it will allow a comfortable fit. As long as the brace remains comfortable enough to sleep in, we can hold the spine much straighter at night than we can with a daytime brace.

Sport / Low Profile Brace
Smaller Sport or Reduced Profile Braces are a modified version of the Daytime 3D Brace that allows the patient a greater range of motion in a corrective pattern.

Not all curve types can wear one of the Sport / Low Profile Braces but they are a great tool for patients to feel comfortable wearing a brace that is less visible and allows for more activity.

Below, we have three images. A baseline scoliotic spine, in a Nighttime Brace and in a Sport Brace. This patient wears her more corrective Nighttime Brace sometimes during the day too!


The the right are images comparing a brace fitted by an orthotist (image on the RIGHT) versus the same brace being fitted by the ScoliAcademy (image on the LEFT).

The difference can be staggering and proves why the fit and design of a brace is just as important as the type!

Read below under “Bracing Myths” written by Dr. Matthew Janzen to learn more about why the fit of the brace is pivotal in scoliosis success.

Bracing Myths

Opponents of bracing scoliosis will propagate the following Myths:

1. Braces don’t work
2. Braces cause rib cage distortion, and loss of vital lung capacity
3. Braces cause the spine to become stiff, resulting in loss of spinal mobility
4. Wearing a brace will result in weaker muscles
5. All scoliosis braces have fundamentally the same above problems

Like many myths and misconceptions, the above statements contain elements of truth, and they reflect what can and does go wrong when using a brace, especially in the US where bracing technology lags behind that of the Europeans. So while the above statements reflect real concerns, common bracing problems can be rendered insignificant and irrelevant when a brace is designed and used correctly. What is most important to understand is, that nothing assures the cessation of rapid scoliosis progression like a well designed brace that is used and worn properly.

Myth 1: Braces don’t work.
Fact: A Brace CAN work, that is, a brace can help a spine grow straighter and stay straighter.

Rather than begin with philosophical debate on why a brace is good or bad, here is the clinical empirical evidence that they can work.

Dr. Min H. Mehta, recognized orthopedic surgeon, has some of the best cases published on long term outcomes with bracing. Here is just one of many cases that she documented dramatic long term improvement in using a brace (Growth as a corrective force in the early treatment of progressive infantile scoliosis MH Mehta JBJS 2005):

Notice that these patients have straight spines, normal rib cages, and apparently full range of motion. Dr. Hans Rudolf Weiss of Germany, Dr. Manuel Rigo of Spain, and Dr. Stefano Negrini of Italy have also published good findings using braces to treat scoliosis.

Below is a case from Dr. Weiss, published in Scoliosis. 2010; 5: 19. Published online Sep 6, 2010.

Myth 2: Braces cause rib cage distortion
Fact: Rib cage distortion occurs as a result of the scoliosis, and will happen even without a brace.

While some braces may worsen this distortion, other braces, like the Cheneau-style braces, reduce rib cage distortion, making the rib hump smaller.

In the US and in many other developed countries, the Boston brace is the first brace of choice for scoliosis. If your child was prescribed a brace by a medical doctor, chances are it was a Boston brace. The Boston brace design is suspected of over-compressing the ribs, and doing so in a way that can actually worsen the rotational twisting of the spine, and worsening the rib hump making it more pronounced.

The heavy dependency of US orthopedic surgeons on the Boston brace is probably why there exists pockets of rather vocal opposition to bracing. Most research cited by anti-brace advocates is looking at either the Boston brace, or designs that are similarly compressive like the Boston brace. Fortunately, there are many alternative Brace designs to the Boston brace. The Cheneau brace design solves this the problem of rib cage distortion, and a well-designed and properly worn Cheneau brace will typically result in a reduced rib cage.

The two images to the right show a Boston Brace versus a 3-D asymmetrical brace designed at ScoliAcademy™, showing the efficacy in reducing Cobb angle and rotation of the curve.

Myth 3: Braces cause the spine to become stiff, resulting in loss of spinal mobility
Fact: Scoliosis becomes stiff with loss of spinal motion even without a brace.

As a scoliosis becomes larger in size, the spine loses its ability to exercise through its normal range of motion; the spine can no longer straighten or bend out of the curve. This loss of range of motion that occurs with every scoliosis is what leads to the stiffness of scoliosis. A brace that is ineffective in straightening the spine, especially if used without an adequate exercise program, can make this stiffness even worse. It is important to note however, that brace can only worsen the problem of stiffness, and that the root cause of the stiffness is the scoliosis itself.

When a brace is a part of an effective exercise program, and the treatment results in straightening of the spine, an INCREASE in spinal range of motion is observed, not a loss. The spine, because it is now straighter, is better able to exercise through its intended range of motion, and becomes more flexible.

I stated earlier “nothing assures the cessation of rapid scoliosis progression like a well designed brace that is used and worn properly”. If this statement is true, and in our clinical observation it certainly is, then nothing assures the preservation of good spinal range of motion like a well designed brace that is used and worn properly. In fact, this is exactly what we are seeing: Patients that reduce their curves by using bracing and exercise have also restored their normal spinal range of motion.

Myth 4: Wearing a brace will result in weaker spinal muscles.
Fact: While wearing a hard brace has potential to make the muscles weak from disuse, it is possible to balance the immobilizing effect of a hard brace with an effective scoliosis exercise program, resulting in a stronger spine than when the patient first began wearing a brace.

Differing brace designs can vary in how much spinal motion they do or don’t allow. On one extreme are the soft flexible braces that may allow full range of motion but provide smaller corrective force, and on the other is a full-length hard brace that provides maximum corrective input but allows little spinal motion.

The bottom line in all this debate is what actually will work the most reliably to keep your child’s scoliosis from growing worse. We have seen than a well designed 3-Dimensional hard brace can be worn for 20+ hours a day, and when combined with a good spinal exercise program, results in both a straighter and a stronger spine.

Myth 5: All scoliosis braces have fundamentally the same problems discussed above.
This myth is often implied, rather than overtly stated, by those who oppose the use of bracing.

Fact: Scoliosis braces vary widely in design quality and there is great variety in the skill of the specialist fitting the brace to the patient’s body. Some braces are poorly designed, and improperly fit to the patient’s body. Other braces, like the Rigo-Cheneau brace, have excellent design characteristics and can be highly corrective when fit by a skilled specialist. Braces may be therefore capable of having all the problems mentioned above, or capable of solving all the problems above.

A well-designed 3-D brace that straightens the spine and reduces rib distortion can be a very valuable tool, especially when used in conjunction with exercises and stretches.

Most patients at ScoliAcademy™ end up with some kind of bracing, it complements the other therapies and makes them more effective! That’s why the ScoliAcademy™ provides all options for treatment. Every patient has a specific and individualized plan.

Head back to the TREATMENTS section or check out our Patient Success Stories!


Contact Janzen and Janzen Health Center now to discuss potential non surgical scoliosis care with us by contacting us via contact page or by calling us at (408) 379-0133

Janzen and Janzen Health Center and Scoliosis Academy is located in Campbell, CA.

Every scoliosis case is different, and must be treated as such. The ScoliAcademy™ at Janzen and Janzen Health Center is an individualized program that uses methods from across the world to achieve effective long-term success for each scoliosis case.

The ultimate goal of ScoliAcademy™ is to teach every scoliosis patient how they can take care of and manage their scoliosis for the rest of their life.

The ScoliAcademy™ is typically a 2-4 week initial in-office scoliosis treatment program with quarterly follow ups through skeletal maturity, or until goals are reached. Its purpose is to utilize the in-office treatment time to allow the doctors and therapists to determine what variety of scoliosis treatments will work best for each individuals.
* Schroth Based Physiotherapy
* Activities of Daily Living Training
* Strengthening Exercises
* Flexibility Training Protocols
* 3D Scoliosis Academy Brace
* Nerve Elongation Protocols
* Root cause testing and treatment
Contact Info
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Janzen & Janzen Health Center (JJHC)
256 East Hamilton Ave., Suite F Campbell, CA 95008 USA