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Corsets: A Type of Spinal Brace

A Treatment Option for Low Back Pain

There are many types of spinal braces, which are also known as orthotics or orthoses. This article will focus on corsets, a type of spinal brace commonly used to treat low back pain. If you'd like to read a comprehensive article about all types of spinal bracing, please read our spinal bracing overview.

Low back pain can be caused by a number of things. Corset braces are often prescribed to treat low back pain associated with:

A corset brace may also be used to immobilize your back after spine surgery.

What Does a Corset Brace Look Like?
A corset brace is fairly easy to visualize. It looks similar to the corsets women wore centuries ago. Corset braces are tightened using laces that can be tied in the back, front, or side. In most cases, these braces are made of cotton or nylon. And unlike its fashionable counterpart, corset braces are actually quite comfortable.

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Corset braces are held up with straps that go over the shoulder. From the front, the corset usually covers the area from the sternum down to the pelvic area. From the back, it covers from the shoulder down to below the buttocks.

How Does a Corset Brace Work?
Corsets work by increasing the pressure in the abdomen, thus reducing the amount of weight placed on sensitive spinal structures, such as vertebrae and joints. By reducing the stress on these structures, it creates an environment that allows your spine to heal faster.

Though the corset brace is made of lightweight cloth, it may contain metal bars that provide rigid reinforcements to prevent movement and help improve posture. These bars may be added or removed based on your specific treatment needs. For instance, if you need a brace to help you recover from lumbar spine surgery, the metal bars will restrict movement and allow the sensitive surgical area to heal easier.

Special Considerations
As with all spinal braces, the effectiveness of a corset brace is dependent on how well it has been tailored to you. In other words, bracing isn't a one-size-fits-all treatment. It's essential that your brace fits you properly.

Fortunately, there are specialists known as orthotists who will ensure that your corset brace is created just for you. There's also no standard length of time that you will wear the brace. How long you'll wear the corset brace varies among patients, so always follow your doctor's specific instructions. He or she will show you how to care for the brace and make specific recommendations to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.

Updated on: 10/17/14
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