If you have suffered a back injury, a back brace is likely in your future. The type of bracing required depends on your specific diagnosis and needs.
Bracing serves to control back pain by motion limitation or stabilizing a weakened area of the spine. Limiting motion helps prevent the patient from harming his or her back further by sudden movement.
Bracing is also used to correct spinal deformities, such as scoliosis. In some cases, wearing a brace may eliminate the need for spinal surgery. For those whose job requires lifting and other tasks that put their back in jeopardy, a back brace can prevent an injury.
A Tampa Bay spine surgeon will find the right bracing for your spinal needs and thoroughly explain how and when it is worn.
Different Types of Bracing
The use of bracing for orthopedic disorders dates back centuries. Two basic types of bracing are currently used for back ailments and to limit spinal motion: rigid or corset braces.
Rigid Braces – As the name implies, these are stiff, hard braces. When properly fitted, a rigid brace limits about half of all spinal motion. Spinal fractures are often treated with this type of brace. These braces are not that comfortable, as they are heavy and hot. However, a patient does not necessarily need to wear a rigid brace 24/7 – it may be removed for sleep or when the patient is otherwise lying down. These braces are custom tailored to the patient.
Corset braces – These elastic braces are often used after a lumbar fusion or to relieve pain resulting from degenerative discs or trauma. They are worn regularly by patients with back problems who need additional support, as they are much more flexible and comfortable than rigid braces. Corset braces are generally constructed of nylon and cotton, making them relatively comfortable to wear.
Young people dealing with scoliosis are fitted with one of several braces. An “underarm” brace is worn virtually all the time except when the child is showering, bathing or swimming. The underarm brace applies pressure on three points of the spine, preventing future progression of the curvature.
Another type of brace is worn only at night. This “bending” brace is often preferred by adolescents since it is more discreet and their peers will not know they are wearing it.
Spinal Bracing Treatment
Doctors prescribe bracing for a variety of spinal conditions, and it is just one component of back pain treatment. The brace may be worn for a short time, or long term.
For spinal fractures, the brace is worn while the bones heal, usually for a few months. If the neck is involved in the injury, the patient may wear a halo brace, which serves as a type of traction. Another type of neck brace is the cervical collar.
Follow the doctor’s orders when it comes to wearing the brace, as well as sticking to a physical therapy regimen. The treatment plan informs a patient when and where to use the brace, and for which activities.
When it comes to relieving back pain and related issues, a holistic treatment of bracing, exercise, therapy, and medication should bring the best results.
Contact Our Surgeon Today
Bracing offers many benefits for patients suffering from back pain and disability. For more information on bracing, contact an experienced Tampa Bay spine surgeon to help you make the right decision for your back issues.