What are Lumbar Spinal Braces?
Lumbar braces are external devices used to restrict the movement of the lumbar spine and provide support and stability to the lower back region, to relieve back pain and promote healing after surgery or injury.
What are the Basic Functions of a Lumbar Spinal Brace?
The basic functions of braces include:
- Immobilization of the spine, to help in healing
- Stabilization of the injured area
- Management of pain, by limiting the movement
Types of Braces
Braces, also called orthotics, are made from different materials such as nylon, rubber, molded plastic, and elastic cotton. Basically, braces are of two types, soft and hard braces. Soft braces provide support to the muscles and allow free movement while the hard braces limit the movement.
Soft Lumbar Corset
A soft lumbar corset provides support to the affected muscles of the lower back. It is recommended for major arthritis, mild lumbar instability, and low back pain.
The lumbar corset prevents excessive movement of the lower back and promotes proper body posture. However, long-term use of the soft lumbar corset can lead to the weakening of the lumbar muscles. Therefore, the braces should only be used for a specified time, as recommended by your doctor, along with regular muscle strengthening exercises.
Rigid Lumbar Braces
A rigid brace is recommended for providing additional immobilization so as to minimize the risk of further injury in conditions such as spinal fractures, unstable spine surgery, and other related disorders. The rigid brace provides external stability to the affected spinal area for better healing.
Who fits your Lumbar Spinal Brace?
In some cases, braces are fitted in consultation with an orthotist, as per the requirements of the treatment and your condition. The orthotist is trained in different fields such as anatomy, biomechanics, material engineering, physical science, and other related fields.
How Long should I wear my Brace?
Your doctor may recommend the specific time-period for wearing the braces, which may range from weeks to months, depending on the condition and the type of disorder.
How should I look after my Brace?
You should avoid activities that put undue strain on the affected area, such as driving, lifting, etc. Follow the instructions of your doctor regarding baths and performing other activities. If you are allowed to shower with the brace, ensure that you clean the brace thoroughly after your shower. Physical therapy may also be recommended along with braces.