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What is an orthopedic back brace used for?

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Quick Answer

Orthopedic back braces are used to treat spinal and soft tissue injury, aid with post-surgical recovery, reduce pain by stabilizing and restricting movement of the trunk, and support the muscles adjacent to the spine, according to Aetna. Supportive braces are considered medically necessary in some cases.

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Full Answer

Back braces provide external structural support to the spine and neck as a way of treating spinal deformities and disorders, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Braces are effective tools for preventing further injury, and there are over 30 types used for spine disorders, including hyperextension braces, rigid braces, corsets, molded jackets and neck braces.

Rigid braces are stiff braces that provide stability for the lower back, lumbar spine and pelvis, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. Rigid models work by restricting certain types of motion, including bending and rotating. Hyperextension braces prevent excessive flexion of the thoracic and lumbar spine. They are commonly used during recovery from spinal fusion surgery.

Trochanteric, lumbosacral and sacroiliac belts work to support areas around the pelvis, lower back, hips and sacrum, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. Braces that stabilize the neck include the Philadelphia collar, the halo and the sterno-occipital mandibular immobilization device, or SOMI. Most neck braces demobilize the head and neck to different degrees ranging from mild to severely restricted range of motion.

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