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Back Brace Weaning

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

My NS has given me four weeks to wean off of my turtle shell brace. Previously, I had to wear it except when sleeping or showering, as many of you. I have started taking it off for 3 - 5 hours during the day. My question for those of you that have had the same situation, did you notice an increase in hip and groin pain? I feel fantastic with the brace, but when I take it off, I develop those pesky pains. If they are normal, great. I have not taken any meds since week 3.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.


  • I am on week 20. I weaned it off for standing and walking over the course of 7 weeks. Sitting without it starts the end of this week. I had great advice......wean slowly. I only took it off for 20 min. out of the hour to begin with then more n more otherwise my muscles really clamped down. As for sitting without it, I'll have to let you know, that seems to be a bigger deal for me.
  • Carol had great advice for you.
    I'v never had to wear one as my dr dislikes them.
    But believe me sometimes I wish I had one.

    So like she said take it slow. All those core muscles have to build back up their strength to get back to "norm" its going to take awhile.

    Terri O:) >:D<
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  • Thanks, Carol and Terri! I like the idea of taking it off for a little while each hour. That makes more sense to me as far as being less stress on the body. I have really depended on it. Sometimes I hate that I had to wear it, but I am sure that the NS had his reasons.

  • Hello Ann, I am 8 weeks out and I am weaning my brace over 2 weeks. I previously wore in when up and active, while driving, walking, but did not have to wear it to sit and rest. I thought it would be a cinch, but I am finding I am more dependent on it than I realized. I am having increase SI joint pain and upper back pain, as well as those pesky tight muscles in the low back. I just had a PT eval on Thursday, and they want me to start taking walks without it, but I haven't tried yet. I did drive without it last night and my back felt very weak. I feel kinda naked without it ;) Good-luck, I think it is just a process and the longer you have used it, the more hours per day, the longer it will take to get out of it. >:D< Sue
  • I will have my PT eval on this Tuesday. My biggest problem so far has been the driving...or lack of driving! I tried to back the car out of the driveway, and that was all the farther I got. With starting PT and going back to work, I have to be able to drive! My husband and I are going to try it again tomorrow. If I am unsuccessful, I will be calling a cab for PT!

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  • I had surgery the same day as you-my doc will not even discuss taking it off until my appt in November!! I guess he will then tell me to wean off of it-or go cold turkey.?
  • shay7721 said:
    I had surgery the same day as you-my doc will not even discuss taking it off until my appt in November!! I guess he will then tell me to wean off of it-or go cold turkey.?

    I think docs are different. I had to wear mine until 13 weeks but I took it off a lot to just walk through the house or puts around earlier than that. I agree that it's a pain to wean off of but the PA told me that in my case, L4 was hypermobile and he wanted to protect it and let the muscles, which get cut all the way through, heal and then work on getting the brace off. It did make me feel 'naked' at first, now I just want rid of it but know better.
    As for beginning the weaning the doc told me to get use to walking without it first, then move onto sitting. I would walk for two houses without it while hubby carried it and worked my way up to the whole 2 miles. Go slow girls and your other muscles will tighten up to compensate. Thank God I've had my friends here to coach me through it!! Just go nice and easy.
  • My surgeon said I could drive at 2 weeks, I didn't try it until 3 weeks and yep it wasn't very comfy. I have just slowly increased the frequency until now I am used to it (with the brace). I definitely feel more secure driving with it on. I did take my first outside walk without the brace today, about 8 blocks, felt sore but did okay. I was at the point where I was ready to stop my pain meds, but now with brace weaning and pt, that is not gonna happen :( Oh well, gotta get through this. Good-luck all my fellow brace weaners :D Sue
  • Thanks! I am SOOOO ready to get rid of it-still have about 6 weeks until my next appt though :( . I can not weat ANY of my own clothes-I bought a couple of size 14 pants (I wear a 10) and elastic waisted pants to wear over the brace-so my clothing choices are limited. I even bought one pair of materninty capris!!! (they were only $5 at Penny's)
  • Oh my gosh! I have had to do the same thing! Depending on the maker, I wear a size 8 or 10. I have tried on 14's and some of them were still too tight. I, too, have went the elastic waist route, purchasing some actually OK looking pants from the store well know for its "blue light specials". It helps me to know that this is normal.

    Every day seems to be a little bit better as far as my brace weaning is concerned. I do better without it when I am sitting. Walking is OK for a short period of time. Tuesday will mark the end of the first week of weaning and my first day of PT. It feels like a return to semi-normalcy.
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