My Milwaukee Brace Story

I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 8. My father had severe scoliosis as a young man, but at that time they had not developed very effective treatments for scoliosis ( my dad was born in 1919). So I was convinced very early on that scoliosis is hereditary.
I began treatment at Shriners Hospital in St. Louis Missouri for scoliosis in 1971. Talk about a sad birthday present.....I was actually in the hospital and received my Milwaukee brace on my 8th birthday! 

I have many memories of my years of treatment. I will never forget the time I had a exam at Shriners prior to the fitting of my brace. In one exam, the doctor actually lifted me up off of the floor by placing each palm flat against the sides of my head to apparently stretch out my spine. I wore my brace 23 hours a day from the time I was 8 until I was 13 and in the 8th grade. I will always remember the exercises that were prescribed for me to do, that sometimes I would do faithfully, and sometimes I would not. Its's kinda like, when you are a kid in a Milwaukee brace, and you are a prisoner in the brace for 23 hours a day, the last thing on your mind to do during your hour of freedom is doing push ups, sit ups, and as my Dr. called them, "turtle exercises. (lifted your chest of of the floor)

I remember how my hips got really bad abrasions and open sores from the leather girdle that encased my hips. Even wearing a tee shirt under my brace, my hips still took a beating from the abrasions. I still have scars on my hips to this day (and I'm now 48) as a reminder of those times. I remember all the cruel remarks a stares I got from kids my age about the brace I wore. It did major damage to my self esteem as a kid. So to this day, I have much sympathy for any child with disabilities. I KNOW how cruel kids can be.

After wearing my brace for 5 years, in 1977 I had to get 11 of my 12 thoracic vertebrae fused. Now 35 years later, I really only have problems with my back a couple of times a year, when my lower back will suddenly get strained and it will be sore for a couple of days. Other than that, I'm OK.

blessed63 blessed63
May 23, 2012