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What Are the Different Kinds of Back Braces?

Those who have undergone back surgery can benefit from wearing a back brace afterwards.
Some back braces are designed to help wearers avoid back injury.
Back braces are sometimes used in scoliosis cases.
A posture back brace may help alleviate back pain.
Article Details
  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Since back braces are used to treat and cure a wide range of spinal problems, there is a wide range of types of back braces available. Two kinds of braces are often used to treat scoliosis, or a curvature in the spine. Other kinds of braces are used to support the pelvis, lower back, and other areas after an injury or surgery.

While some cases of scoliosis do not need treatment, some children with the condition may need to wear a brace to prevent their scoliosis from worsening, particularly if they are still growing. The two back braces used to treat scoliosis are the Milwaukee brace and the thoracolumbar-sacral orthosis brace (TLSO), or underarm brace. While the TLSO brace is less noticeable than the Milwaukee brace, it does not effectively treat scoliosis in the upper spine.

The Milwaukee brace, also known as a full torso brace, needs to be worn nearly around the clock. It is a cumbersome brace that encases the entire tors, from the neck down. TLSO braces have their own sets of problems. They are worn against the skin and feel hot, and they can reduce a person's lung capacity and can alter the way the kidneys function.

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Other back braces for scoliosis are worn only while the patient sleeps. The Charleston bending brace is a custom brace molded to a person's body while she is bent in the opposite direction of the curve of her spine. Since the brace is only worn at night time, it has the least impact on a child's life.

Older people with back pain or who have undergone surgery, such as a spinal fusion, can benefit from a range of back braces. Lumbosacral belts are worn to support the lower part of the back. The belts put pressure on a person's stomach, taking it away from the back. They are particularly useful for people who have strained their lower back.

People who need more support than a lumbosacral belt can provide may wear a corset or a rigid brace. A corset, which resembles the garment worn by women to hold in the waist, is usually used on a patient after he has undergone a spinal fusion. The corset prevents a person's spine from moving too much while it heals. Corsets can also help protect the backs of people who work in jobs that require heavy lifting. Rigid back braces are also often used after a spinal fusion or to help a broken bone heal.

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Discuss this Article

candyquilt
Post 3

My grandfather was a farmer and to protect his lower back while working on the farm, he would take a long durable fabric and wrap it around his lower back tightly. He used to say that it protects his back.

Back braces weren't as available then, but my grandfather basically did the same thing. Now those who work in heavy, strenuous jobs like farmers and those in construction work regularly wear back braces to protect themselves.

stoneMason
Post 2

@discographer-- It sounds like the belt you have is for more serious back conditions like scoliosis. You will probably benefit from a different brace that uses less tension. Your back may not be as straight but it will still relieve back pain considerably.

I agree with you that a back brace shouldn't just be effective but also comfortable.

discographer
Post 1

The upper back braces that go around the arms and pull the arms backward to straighten the spine are quite uncomfortable. I bought one because I inevitably have bad posture while sitting at work which causes chronic back pain.

Unfortunately, the kind of brace I bought straightens the back by pulling the arms back. It uses a lot of tension to do that so it's uncomfortable. The straps are very tight and leave huge red marks afterward.

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