To wear or not to wear? That is the question when deciding whether a back brace will relieve your pain or stiffness, and/or correct a back problem.
Some patients with back problems are reluctant to wear a brace because they fear they may become dependent and have to wear it all the time. Others believe it could make their muscles weaken with atrophy, or that it might prevent them from performing certain activities, such as driving. Other considerations are how it will fit under clothing, how it might look to others, and how restrictive it might be to breathing and movement in general.
Back Conditions Helped By Bracing
These concerns aside, there are numerous conditions for which a back brace has been shown to be helpful. These conditions include:
- Acute sprain or strain
- Post-operative support following discectomy, fusion, or laminectomy
- Facet syndrome
- Chronic or traumatic instability
- Bulging or herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Scoliosis (lateral curvature of the spine)
- Fracture management
- Deconditioned or postural back pain
Types of Back Braces
Back braces of varying quality and price are available, including braces for different areas of the back – such as the mid-spine, low lumbar spine, and tailbone or sacrum. Back braces also come in various designs, using materials including elastic, soft plastic, metal, Velcro, and laces.
What’s important is finding a back brace that fits you comfortably, provides support, and offers some relief from pain and imbalance.
How Braces Work
Most back braces have a compression strap that adjusts the brace snugly around your torso. When you pull the strap or straps, it compresses the core musculature. This decreases the volume of your intra-abdominal soft tissue, which acts as a stabilizer directly around your spine.
Despite the fact that there are various causes of back pain or stiffness ranging from acute injuries to chronic conditions, bracing provides a viable conservative treatment. That’s because of the structure and function demanded of your spinal column. With any form of back discomfort, the reaction of the spinal musculature is to contract into involuntary spasms or voluntary contraction of the muscles. It does this to protect the affected or inflamed joint or soft tissue.
A Stabilizing Force for Your Spine
There are several ways to deal with this cycle of pain and inflammation, including medication, and physiotherapy (such as icing, heat, stretching, strengthening, and manual therapy).
Alternatively, a back brace serves as an external stabilizer with a constant presence. It allows the core muscles that are supporting your spine to relax, enabling you to sit or lie down, and move about more freely than you would when your back is in spasm.
In addition, a back brace allows you to remain active and maintain better posture while you are recovering from an injury.
Spine Specialists in St. Louis Area
If a back condition or injury is hampering your ability to perform the activities you normally enjoy doing, the orthopedic specialists at Advanced Bone & Joint can help get you back into the swing of things. We can diagnose your condition and offer effective treatment using cutting-edge techniques.
Don’t let back problems disrupt your life. Contact us today at (636) 229-4222 or simply request an appointment online.