Back braces can be bulky, hot, and are not the most cosmetically pleasing… so why do I have to wear it? No matter if you are wearing a back brace (CTLSO, TLSO, LSO, SO) because you injured your back in a car accident, being a weekend warrior, have a herniated disk, or a congenital disorder, back braces function in three main ways:

  1. To provide an increase intracavitary pressure thus reducing the amount of weight being put onto the spine.
  2. To restrict and prevent motion that may cause further injury.
  3. To provide a 3-point pressure system to provide proper symmetry of the spin and prevent unwanted motion.

-If you have been given a back brace for the treatment of scoliosis, the main goal is often to prevent the scoliotic curvature from worsening and to potentially aid in correcting the curve. Some scoliosis braces (TLSOs) are intended to be worn only during sleeping hours, while other types are made to be worn during the day and night. For more detailed information on scoliosis orthoses please see our blog article: 

-If you have been given a back brace due to a fracture or injury the above mechanisms help to reduce the amount of stress being placed onto the spine allowing it to heal and to decrease the amount of pain you may be in. When a person injures their back, it’s usually in a certain portion of the spine. The spine can be divided into three longitudinal sections: the anterior column, the middle column, and the posterior column. 

If the spine was injured in the anterior column (the section closest to the abdomen), the primary function of the spinal orthoses would be to limit forward flexion or to stop you from bending forward. 

By bending forward with a fracture in the anterior column of the spine, you would be putting more pressure on the fracture sight and potentially causing more damage.

The height of the back brace often depends on the location of the disorder. If it is in the location of the thoracic vertebrae, you will likely be fit with a TLSO (thoracic lumbar sacral orthosis). If the location is in the lumbar, you will likely be fit with a LSO (lumbar sacral orthosis) and so on. 

Many add on features can be put onto the orthosis but the majority of the functions are to reduce motion and decrease pressure on the spinal column. So bare with the bulky, obnoxious back brace. It will help you heal faster, prevent re-injury, and decrease pain in the long run.