There was a time during my childhood when in my mind, I was “Braces Boy” — part boy, part brace.
I was in middle school and already wearing ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) to help with my ankles, which were and continue to be weakened by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). During that same window of time, I got braces to straighten my teeth and a back brace for scoliosis and to prevent kyphosis from getting drastically worse.
I only needed to wear my back brace at home and when I was sleeping. But it was an interesting period of time for me. And although I like to think I handled wearing three different braces at the same time with good humor, I remember being relieved that I’d be able to leave that time of my life in the past.
And while every now and then I consider wearing AFOs again, I never thought I’d go back to wearing a back brace. After all, the physicians told me that the back brace was to take advantage of the rapid growth and development of my pubescent years. And those years are far behind me.
But things change and here I am, back at it again (no pun intended). Except I’m not following doctor’s orders this time. And I’m actually happy to be wearing a back brace again — at least for now.
It was my mother’s suggestion. She relies on one to get her through long hours of housework and errands and gifted it to me. Though it’s not anything fancy, just a simple over-the-counter back brace, it has helped me to manage the pain I get during long periods of working at my desk, driving, and intense physical activity.
Back problems from scoliosis to kyphosis are common enough among CMTers, and many of us experience additional pain in our feet, ankles, and legs. But I don’t think we talk about it as much for some reason. And I think it’s a topic worth exploring.
I know other CMTers have tried home remedies, medications, or essential oils. I think I’ve found a solution that works for me.
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.