Bracing For Spine Surgery: How Back Braces Aid in Recovery

After undergoing spine surgery, your surgeon may recommend a back brace to aid in your healing process. A brace is used to provide support to your back and/or neck, depending upon your surgical procedure. Wearing a brace may sound like an ugly inconvenience (and uncomfortable at that!), but you may be surprised at the comfort it brings while performing everyday tasks, such as driving.

Why Might a Back Brace be Recommended?

Your spine specialist may recommend a back brace for many reasons. The main functions of a back brace are as follows:

  • Speed your recovery
  • Immobilize your spine during healing
  • Stabilize weak or affected areas
  • Minimize pain by restricting movement

Following spine surgery, you may find yourself needing added support while you heal and regain strength, which is where the back brace comes into play. Even though it may not seem useful at times, wearing your back brace as recommended by your spine specialist can help ensure you are back to your old self in no time.

Types of Back Braces

Much like people, back braces come in all shapes and sizes. Additionally they can be made with both hard and soft constructions. Below you will find examples of a type of brace that may be recommended for each area of the spine.

  1. Your neck (cervical): Following neck or spine surgery, your surgeon may recommend a neck brace known as a cervical collar. Cervical collars come in both hard and soft versions, though many patients find the soft version far more comfortable. Hard cervical collars are generally used for more serious cases. If you have questions regarding which brace is right for you, speak with your spine specialist.
  2. Your upper back (thoracic): Recommended for thoracic support, specially after a spinal fusion surgery, the Thoracic-Lumbar-Sacral Orthosis (TSLO) is a stiff brace employing a clamshell design. It uses a low-weight, high-strength plastic in a two-piece configuration. Because of its stiff design, padding is included to add extra comfort. This brace helps to eliminate excessive movement, therefore providing additional mechanical spine stabilization. Following a spinal fusion surgery, you may need to wear this brace for several months.
    Your lower back (lumbar): Following surgery on your lumbar spine, it may be recommended you wear a Soft
  3. Lumbar Corset. The primary function of the soft lumbar corset is to provide muscle support to your lower back. This brace is commonly used after lumbar spinal surgeries to provide the support necessary for the muscles to recover. For the first six weeks, your spine specialist may recommend that you wear the corset if you’ll be out of bed for longer than 15 minutes. The corset serves as a constant reminder to minimize your back motion while you heal. It also encourages proper body posture.

If you have questions regarding the use of back braces after spine surgery, talk to you spine specialist today.

Contact Pacific Spine Specialists

Spine specialist, Dr. Keenen of Pacific Spine Specialists is an expert in all matters of the spine and is available to answer any questions you may have. If spine surgery is in your future, you will benefit from Dr. Keenen’s knowledge, skill, and passion. Schedule a complimentary MRI review or schedule an appointment today!