Lumbar Back Support
A Lumbar Back Support is a particular type of back brace which can be used to support the low back and provide pain relief during the duration of your care.
This type of brace may be prescribed for you by your doctor to help reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication for your low back pain, while also assisting to re-train some of the muscles in the low back and improve posture.
This type of brace is a functional brace, meaning it is used as a tool to help improve function and mobility, rather than to restrict motion of the spine.
How It Works
In the back of this kind of brace you will see a pulley system, attached to two tabs in the front of the brace. After the brace is fitted to you, you will pull these tabs which will then pull the pulley system in the back.
This will help unload some of the weight normally placed on the lower back, in this process reducing pressure on the spine’s joints, discs and muscles. By reducing spinal pressure a back brace may lessen painful muscle tension that is a common protective reaction following an injury.
In a study done with 900 patients who received this type of back brace, 65% reported pain relief within the first hour. 30% reported pain relief within 24 hours.
This type of brace has proven to be very effective in temporarily relieving low back pain. Your doctor may suggest you try wearing the brace for 15-20 minutes the next time you are in pain, or feel that you need to take a pain reliever. In many cases the brace has proven to replace the need to take a pain reliever. This could also be the case for you.
Your doctor will advise you on how long, and how frequently you should wear this brace.
A similar study showed that—when surveyed—65% of patients were able to resume activities that they had previously discontinued because of their back pain, while wearing the functional brace. Some of these activities included, running, sitting at a desk, playing with children, driving and exercising.
As part of your care, we will be working with you to improve function and increase activity. The back brace is a tool to assist you throughout this process, with the end goal of you being able to resume the activities of your choosing without any external support or needing to wear the brace.
Caring for the Back Brace
The back brace you receive will be fitted for your size and comfort. Our experienced staff will show you how to put the brace on and take it off.
You may wear the brace under clothing, but it is recommended that the brace we worn over at least an undershirt or T-shirt to keep the brace clean.
If necessary, your brace can be cleaned by wiping the fabric down with warm water, mild soap, and a wash cloth. Lay the brace out flat to air dry. Do not submerge the brace in water, or put it into the washing machine or dryer as this may ruin the brace. For any additional questions contact the office.
Unloader Knee Brace
An unloader knee brace is one of several types of knee braces that can be used to provide stability, support, and pain relief if you have knee osteoarthritis affecting primarily only one side of your knee joint. This kind of knee brace is designed to transfer pressure within the knee, “unloading” one side of the joint to the other. In other words, an unloader knee brace does exactly what its name suggests—it shifts stress from the affected side of the joint to the healthier side of the joint.
Using an unloader knee brace may provide you with enough comfort to improve your mobility and diminish your pain while at rest. It does not cure or reverse osteoarthritis or any other disease of the joints.
How It Works
The unloader knee brace is a specially-designed brace made of molded plastic, foam, and steel struts to stabilize your knee joint, limiting side movement of the joint. It fits all the way around the leg at the level of your knee joint, allowing flexibility for movement.
It’s designed to put three points of pressure on the thigh bone, which forces the knee to bend away from the painful area of the joint. Some versions can unload either the medial (inner) or lateral (outer) part of the knee simply by adjusting the unloading hinge.
About 27 million Americans have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, a painful condition that usually affects the hands, knees, or hips. Knee osteoarthritis, in particular, has increased in the United States due to obesity.
Most often, unloader knee braces are prescribed for people who have medial compartment knee osteoarthritis, which is arthritis that affects the inner portion of the knee. In these cases, knee instability can make the knee wobble toward the inside of the leg when walking. An unloader knee brace transfers the pressure away from the weak area of your knee to provide you with more stability. Again, this is only helpful if you have another healthy joint in the knee to assume the load.
Studies show that unloader knee braces can delay knee replacement surgery if you have uni-compartmental (only on one side) osteoarthritis. It is generally considered a cost-effective treatment that offers pain relief without side effects. It can also improve stability and even replace the need for surgery when combined with other alternative treatments such as injections and rehab.
Use After Joint Injection Therapy
There are several reasons your doctor may be prescribing this brace to you to wear after receiving a joint injection. The first reason is to return the joint to it’s proper position during the healing process, ensuring the joint does heal correctly.
Second would be to open up the degenerated compartment of the joint, thus making space for the regeneration of tissue to occur.
And third, to keep pressure and excessive inflammation away from the joint. Inflammation is necessary for the healing process to occur, which is why you will be advised not to take anti-inflammatory medication after receiving this type of injection. But by keeping the pressure and any possible excessive inflammation away from the joint, this type of brace will be creating an optimum environment for the joint injection to be effective.
Using an Unloader Knee Brace
If you begin to wear an unloader knee brace, know that they are usually used along with your other osteoarthritis treatments, not instead of them. Your plan for care will include other and following the instructions given by your doctor. Your doctor will provide you with instructions regarding how often you should wear your brace, situations when you must wear it, and situations when you shouldn’t.
On a more practical note, unloader knee braces can be bulky, so opt for loose-fitting pants, shorts, or a skirt. The brace should be ideally worn against your skin. Though during your fitting it may be determined to add a thin sleeve underneath the brace for comfort. You may also wear the brace over thin athletic leggings if you prefer.