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rigid back brace question

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
hi everyone i notice that most that have the back surgeries have the rigid back brace on right after surgery. my dr. says he does not use them as he thinks it makes your muscles weak. but my muscles are super weak from months and months of being able to do nothing almost, in so much pain i lay in my recliner most days all day, so ive lost all muscle tone and am very weak. without the after surgery back brace it scares me about the moveing, that i may easily injure my surgery. any thouts on this or any others dr.'s not use them



  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    My doctor does. I personally like it when I've been prescribed braces (neck and back). It helps keep me in the correct alignment and prevents me from doing things I should not. Maybe your doctor would consider prescribing a soft brace that you can get via an orthotic/prosthetic service (so it's fitted) if it makes you more comfortable. You can always call his/her office and ask if that is an option.

    The rigid custom braces are VERY expensive and though insurance covers it the doctor would have to be willing to prescribe that. This is why I'm thinking perhaps he/she would agree to prescribe a fitting for a less rigid brace?

    If it's any consolation the brace for my surgery (2/3/10) is horribly uncomfortable and that is while practicing with it around the house. Post-surgically it will likely be bad as well. UGH.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • My doctor felt the same way as yours Deebra, he did not order back brace after spinal surgery, he told me that there is enough internal support and it is better to train the muscles properly. Personally I was very glad as I had my surgery in May and soon after that we had a heat wave, so I probably would not have been too comfortable waring one. Listen to your doctor, start walking (a lot) after your surgery, and once it is OK, you'll probably be referred to PT where you will work on the core muscle development. Hopefully the surgery will help eliminate your pain.

    Wishing you the best for your surgery and for the recovery,

  • Despite the constant reminding I do on this board on a regular basis for people to not do too much too soon, a lumbar fusion is a strong surgery and you are unlikely to "hurt" it. I assume you are having hardware of some kind. If you have rods and pedicle screws, they are designed to withstand a minor car crash. But you do have to constantly be vigilant to avoid any activity that requires bending at the waist, twisting or lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Instead of bending at the waist, you can do the "golfer's" bend, where you keep the back straight, stand on one leg, letting the other come up behind you while you bend at the hip joint. (the way a golfer gets the ball out of the cup)

    Many surgeons no longer use braces. There were designed for the old days prior to the regular use of hardware, when the bone was all that was holding the patient together...and while healing, it was easy to ruin the fusion...but now many surgeons feel as yours does. If you're having lower lumbar surgery, the brace ends right where the incision ends, and it is very uncomfortable.

    I felt the same way you do now when I had a PLIF at L4-5 two years ago. The first surgeon I got an opinion from always braces and I thought that was the way to go. Then a different surgeon ended up doing it and he never uses braces. We discussed it several times. He does not believe in them...so I didn't have one. It was not a problem. You just need to remember the no "BLT" rule, and stay off roller-coasters.

  • thanks everyone for the replies and the information
    just nervous and scared, dont want to do anything to damage the surgery they do, just anxious i guess.
  • Why do't you discuss it with your doctor? Tell him exactly what are your fears. He probably assumes no one wants to wear a brace, and might be amenable to you getting one...like Spine AZ suggested....
  • Deeebra, how are ya? Did you say once that you'll be recovering pretty much by yourself? I ask on account of that brace is a real trick to get in and out of for the first little while! I've been wearing the full TLSO turtle shell brace for 3 months now. I gripe about it constantly, but there are positives to it. I kind of feel like if I get in a fender bender, it'll be of some support to me. Likewise if I fall on the ice or something slick. I see your point about the secure feeling it might give you. I think once I get back to riding my motorcycle I might wear it even if I don't have to, just for the protection factor.

    Gwennnie is right about lumbar incisions being bad uncomfortable with the brace. Especially in the car. Sometimes I'll tape some 4x4's over the incision even now to prevent the brace chaffing me.

    Go with what the Dr says..he's going to be the one who knows eh?

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