Back Braces for Lower Back Pain

Back braces for lower back pain may be used to stop the progression of scoliosis, to protect the spine following surgery, to protect the spine following injuries, and to take pressure off of the spine. MDs are divided in the community as to if these braces really work, though there is a consensus that these devices often do work to slow the progression of lateral curvature for patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. This term means that the scoliosis first becomes present in adolescence, and doctors never find out what causes it.

Let's take a look at the types of braces for lower back pain that are available, and what specific conditions each are used for to treat certain spinal conditions.

Corset Brace: the vertebral bodies of the spinal bones are block shaped. This shape of this vertebral section is so designed as to bear the weight of gravity as forces press down on it. Sometimes, though, there is a partial collapse of the vertebral body, where it caves in on itself towards the front. This partial collapse of the vertebral body is known as a compression fracture. Now the vertebra has more of a wedge shape and is shorter in the front.

Osteoporosis is the most common cause of compression fractures. These types of breaks may heal on their own, or through surgical interventions where the disc is kind of re-inflated by injecting by filling it in with an artificial substance. A kyphoplasty describes the filling of collapsed vertebral bodies.

Mold to moderate compression fractures are treated with immobilization of back braces from time periods of 6 weeks to three months. These braces are used to prevent deformity, reduce the change of further degeneration, and to relieve pain.

Corset braces are so named because they have a similar look to the types of clothing accessories that were popular in the past. The braces cover most of the torso and cover an area from the top of the pelvis to the sternum. All of the material in these types of braces is flexible. The material is nylon or cotton, as opposed to other devices that use hard plastic molds or metal.

The concept of how corset braces work is that as this device hugs the body, it increases pressure on the abdominal cavity. This increase of intra-abdominal pressure directly results in less pressure being places on the lumbar and thoracic spine. The reduction in pressure on the spine gives it the time that it needs to heal.

The corset brace can be tightened or loosened from the back of it using Velcro straps or laces.

Hyperextension Brace: Hyperextension Braces are designed to prevent flexion of the spine (forward movement). Most forward bending is presented while allowing for some trunk rotation and side to side movement. This type of brace is often used to prevent further damage associated with compression fractures of the upper lumbar and lower thoracic spine. This brace hold the spine in the extended position by putting pressure on the chest and pelvic bone.

A typical hyperextension brace has a cross-shaped pattern with soft pads at the end of each end of the axis. The pads are situated over the mid-sternum, top of the pelvis, and around the sides of the body just above the lower back. Other designed have horizontal pads near the top of the sternum and just above the pubic symphysis (pubic bone) and an open area in between.

Molded Jacket: A molded jacket is a more rigid device that involves a custom mold being made to cover a person from the sacrum to the entire upper back. This device has a soft inner lining so that the hard plastic doesn't cut into a person's skin or muscles. This device is used for injuries where doctors want to limit or reduce any motion at all of the spine. This device limits any twisting, side bending, flexion, or bending of the spine.