Brace Yourself

Brace Yourself

Brace Yourself

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We see it all the time. The patient comes in to the office and peels off an old worn back brace. When asked why they are wearing it, they will have one of three reasons:

  1. they have a job with heavy lifting so they started wearing the brace at work and got into the habit of wearing it all the time
  2. they had an acute injury after a lift or a twist of their backs and someone recommended a brace. It felt better so they continued to wear it, or
  3. they have a medical condition such as a fracture, scoliosis or a post-op back fusion and have an actual physician order for the brace.

Let’s talk…

If your physician orders a brace, it is part of a plan of care. We aren’t touching that. Just remember to ask when, and for how long, you need to wear it. This is your physician’s decision.Our other two scenarios are more concerning. In the first one, many companies such as the “big box stores” supply back braces to their employees. Hospitals used to give them to the clinical staff with the instructions to “pull it tight when you lift someone”. In the second scenario, if is used post injury to stabilize the back, the patient doesn’t feel supported without it, so they wear it all the time.

Immediately following a mechanical injury to the back, a brace can add stability and pain relief, if you have to keep moving. Lifting and placement of heavy objects require spinal support, and the brace can redirect the pressure and tension in the back long enough for the back to heal and for any swelling to decrease.

Unfortunately, this is the only way a low back brace (usually bought at a drug store) is of great benefit for the acute but not terribly serious injury. It is definitely a safe guard and a reminder not to move in certain positions with a newly injured back. Unfortunately, prolonged use of the back brace will cause atrophy in the muscles that actually support the back. Instead of strengthening your support, you are weakening it.

The back brace almost becomes addictive as you feel weak and unprotected when you take it off and it becomes very difficult to give up. In the meantime you are gradually leaving your back with no support from your own body.

A back brace is a great support for a couple of days after an injury, but to wear it all the time is encouraging more problems. Much better to get through the worst of the discomfort and work on core strength so your spine support is an “inside job” and not dependent on a piece of neoprene that is actually hurting you.

Citations

  • Coenen P, Campbell A, Kemp-Smith K, O'Sullivan P, Straker L. Abdominal bracing during lifting alters trunk muscle activity and body kinematics. Appl Ergon. 2017 Sep;63:91-98. PubMed PMID: 28502411
  • Kawchuk GN, Edgecombe TL, Wong AY, Cojocaru A, Prasad N. A non-randomized clinical trial to assess the impact of nonrigid, inelastic corsets on spine function in low back pain participants and asymptomatic controls. Spine J. 2015 Oct 1;15(10):2222-7. PubMed PMID: 26101179

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 

The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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