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What Is a Body Brace?

Body braces can be used to treat scoliosis, which is an abnormal curvature of the spine.
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  • Written By: Tony Anthony
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A body brace is a piece of medical equipment worn by someone with a severe back injury or a condition such as scoliosis. Its job is to keep the spine’s movement limited to within a certain range while the spine is healing. A body brace can be constructed from a variety of materials, both hard and soft, depending on the patient’s needs.

To wear a body brace correctly, several parts need to fit into the correct location. The lower part goes around the person’s pelvic area, while the middle portion of the body brace wraps around the patient’s abdomen. The upper part of the body brace fastens on the back and ribs.

Each part of the brace resembles a shell. The shell of the section that wraps around the back contains both a left and a right portion. The center section of the brace attaches to the lower portion of the brace via two swivels that snap into place. The separate parts of the upper section each then attach to the center section via a swivel that snaps into place.

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The brace also has holders that connect to the upper, lower, and center portions to keep the device in the proper position during wear. The design and placement of the brace allow for a patient to move around as much as possible without doing damage to the spine while the brace is on. While few people are likely to say they truly enjoy wearing a body brace, the alternatives are possibly damaging a surgically repaired spine enough that another painful and expensive surgery is required or failing to treat a medical condition that could lead to crippling pain down the road. With those possibilities in mind, wearing a body brace almost constantly during the necessary treatment or recovery time may not seem as bad.

A body brace can serve a purpose in many scenarios. Following spinal surgery, such as a spinal fusion, the brace prevents the patient from moving to the extent that the fusion could be damaged or destroyed. For someone with scoliosis — a condition in which the spine curves to the left or right by an angle of more than 10° — a brace can help force the spine into proper alignment and allow for proper body development. Wearing a body brace may be a long-term prospect, but it is a temporary one. Most people can safely remove the brace once they have healed from surgery or their spine has responded to the bracing treatment.

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