The Types of Back Braces and Their Benefits

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The Types of Back Braces and Their Benefits

The technology used in orthotics today has advanced to an incredible degree. Not only is there a brace for every condition and situation, but you will find one that helps correct the adverse effects of your specific condition.

The two main varieties of back braces are the soft and hard (or rigid) types. Given the number of conditions for which back braces are used, there are sub-categories within these two broad types of back brace. Each one has specific benefits for those needing a custom back brace in Arkansas.

Soft Braces

Soft braces are made with soft, breathable fabric and adjustable elastic or Velcro closures. Soft braces compress the abdominal region and relieve pressure from the spine by supporting the muscles that usually need to hold up the skeletal structure. Soft braces allow for forward motion of the spine.

Some soft braces are designed for support while the wearer is engaged in heavy lifting at work or at home. Others just provide lightweight, all-day support. These orthotics come in different shapes and sizes depending on the area of need. Some extend from just below the chest to the hips. Other, narrower ones resemble a large belt.

Because most of these soft braces are adjustable, you probably will not need to be measured for a customized one in an orthotics office. Your medical or orthotics team, however, can show you how to wear your brace most effectively.

Rigid Braces

Some rigid braces are designed to provide support following an injury or surgery. Plastic parts are placed over the lower back and stomach, and are attached with Velcro straps.

In addition, most scoliosis braces are the rigid type, and are designed to prevent further curvature of the spine as preteens and teens grow.

Among the more common of the rigid type of braces are:

  • Boston brace: which provides support from the shoulder to tailbone in back and from below the chest to the pelvis in front. It has to be worn at all times, except when bathing or swimming.
  • Milwaukee brace: another “23 hour” rigid brace. It is shaped like the Boston brace, but has an additional piece which braces the neck area.
  • Charleston brace: designed to be worn by scoliosis patients only while sleeping. This brace is asymmetrical so that it exerts a force that “overcorrects” the spine during the night, to help it grow straight.

Take the Guesswork Out of Your Back Condition

Scoliosis and post-surgical patients are often given a customized brace, tailored to factors such as individual measurements and spine curvature. But too many people with chronic pain go the “do it yourself” route, or make do with a drugstore version.

Often these DIY fixes simply do not do the trick, because your spine and surrounding muscles need specialized support. To schedule a consultation for a brace fitting, contact Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics by calling (501) 683-8889 for more information.

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