What is a TLSO Brace?

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  • Written By: Donn Saylor
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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A TLSO brace is a spinal brace primarily used for children with scoliosis. The brace fits over the torso and supports the back. In addition to its role in scoliosis treatment, a TLSO brace is also used for adults and children who have suffered back injuries or are recovering from back surgery.

TLSO is an acronym standing for thoracolumbar sacral orthosis. A TLSO brace may also be known as a Boston brace or an underarm brace. They are typically made of durable plastic and specially molded to fit a child's body.

A thoracolumbar sacral orthosis brace work to combat scoliosis by exerting pressure on various points along the spine. Over time, the spine gives way to the pressure of the brace, and the curvature of the back slowly straightens. These types of scoliosis braces are worn beneath clothing and are virtually invisible to onlookers. Children wearing a TLSO brace commonly keep it on up to 23 hours a day, though it is usually removed during strenuous physical activity.


Though the children's models of TLSO braces are usually made of plastic, adult models are available in different styles and materials. Some are made of mesh-like fabric, allowing for a cool, breathable feel. Others may be made of more malleable types of plastic that permit more freedom in bending and twisting. There are also styles comprised of foam and elastic, which provide patients with a low level of restriction in their movements and reduced pressure on their torsos.

There are some guidelines that are nearly universal amongst the various types of TLSO braces on the market. A T-shirt or other shirt of lightweight material is worn under the brace to enhance comfort and soak up sweat. The wearer is typically instructed to keep a close eye on any skin rashes or other irritations that may develop from wearing the brace. A TLSO brace is never worn while taking a shower of bath; traditionally, doctors will give patients special types of braces to wear in the shower.

Anyone sporting a TLSO brace will find it necessary to move with mindfulness. The back brace will inhibit the wearer's capacity to move in certain directions and at certain speeds. Particular types of chairs are uncomfortable for the brace-bearer; soft or overstuffed couches — especially those low to the ground — are a hassle. Sturdy chairs with arms are the preferred method of seating for those with a TLSO brace.


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Post 4

I had to wear a back brace after I fell off the roof of my house. Most people probably adapt well to them, but since I have ultra sensitive skin, I developed an itchy rash under mine.

I did as I was told and wore a cotton shirt underneath it. However, anything that holds sweat against my body for hours will make me break out.

My doctor told me to try using baby powder on my skin after my shower and before I put the shirt and brace back on. I used the unscented kind, and it really helped. I kept a large supply of it on hand during this time!

Post 3

I knew a kid in elementary school with scoliosis. He had to wear a TLSO back brace, but only his close friends even knew about it.

The brace fit under his arms and across his chest and back. It was made to conform to his shape, and he said it wasn't even all that uncomfortable. He even forgot he was wearing it after a few months.

Once he hit puberty, the doctor said it was safe for him to remove the brace. His bones had stopped growing by this point, so there was no need to urge them into the proper position.

Post 2

@OeKc05 – The limited activity that people wearing a back brace can participate in can cause them to lose more than just their abdominal muscle definition. I have a friend who is an excellent drummer, but he had to give up playing for six months after a car accident.

He wore the back brace for his back pain, which bothered him constantly. Even if he hadn't had the brace on, he wouldn't have felt like drumming, but with the brace, it wasn't possible for him to have the fluidity of movement that made him such a good drummer in the first place.

Post 1

I have often wondered what people with this type of brace did about showering. It seems to me that removing it at all would make your body crumple, since you have gotten used to the support.

A kid in my class had to wear a back brace after being injured in a football game. He used to have spectacular abdominal muscles, but because he had to wear the brace for so long and he could not exercise, he lost a lot of his muscle tone.

He cared enough about his appearance to start working out again as soon as the doctor said he could, though. A year after the brace had been removed, he had fully regained his well-defined muscles.

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