Following spine surgery, there’s a need to keep the affected part of the spine stable and reduce motion as much as possible to promote healing. A back brace may be recommended to achieve this goal. It’s meant to be worn on a temporary basis until muscles supporting the spine become stronger or recover from trauma sustained during surgery or until a fusion forms.
What a Spinal Brace Does
A spinal brace provides the support soft tissues around the spine cannot provide during the recovery process. A brace also restricts movement, prevents re-injury to the parts of the spine affected by surgery, and keeps the spine in correct alignment.
Types of Spinal Braces
Braces can be either soft or hard, depending on the amount of stability needed. The main difference is the level of support provided. A cervical collar is an example of a soft brace. Usually made of foam with an easy-to-open strap, soft braces mainly limit movement. A hard brace is made of plastic or other solid materials to provide immediate support. This type of brace may be recommended to provide stability as a fusion forms or a fracture heals. Specific types of braces include:
- Sterno-occipital-mandibular immobilization device: A headband is worn with this brace to prevent the head and neck from moving in any direction.
- Halo ring: Used to stabilize the cervical spine, a halo ring encircles the head and keeps the neck in place.
- Halo vest: A padded vest is combined with a halo ring for this type of brace, which provides stability while allowing some mobility.
Wearing a Spinal Brace
Soft braces are only meant to be worn off and on throughout the day and taken off at night. Hard braces, on the other hand, are worn 24-hours a day. Your doctor will provide wearing instructions.
Back pain should be minimized while wearing a spinal brace. Should you experience any unusual discomfort or increased pain, however, let your doctor know. Some adjustments to a hard brace that’s worn continuously, or an entirely different type of soft brace if enough support is provided, may be necessary at some point.
Learn more about treatments for chronic back pain by calling The Spine Institute Center in Los Angeles at (310) 828-7757. One of our experienced spine specialists can walk you through different procedures including fusion spine surgery and fusion alternatives. Reach out today.