Spinal Bracing Aftercare

  • Reference Number: HEY1085/2020
  • Departments: Neurosurgery, Physiotherapy

Introduction

This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

Information about weaning from your brace

For healthy adults, full bone healing will take place over a 12 week period following your injury.

You will have been wearing your brace daily for a number of weeks to support your back and prevent movement around the fracture site. Your fracture has now healed and you can remove the brace.

It is advised that you remove your brace gradually to prevent sudden strain on your back. Your physiotherapist will have recommended you gradually decrease the time spent in your brace to aid strengthening of your spinal muscles. This should be done daily over a course of 1 – 2 weeks.

It is completely normal to feel stiff initially in the affected part of your spine, this will improve as your activity levels increase which could take a few weeks.

Can there be any complications or risks?

If the brace is removed quickly there may be a risk of muscle spasm and pain as your muscles have been supported by the brace for some time. If you follow the information above then this will reduce the risk of pain and spasm, as it will give time for your muscles to increase in strength.

The neurosurgeons have reviewed your X-rays and advised us that the fracture is sufficiently healed, therefore there are no other risks related to weaning from your brace.

Returning to activity

  • Heavy lifting should be avoided and return to activity should be gradual.
  • Low impact exercises activities such as swimming and cycling, are recommended. It is advised you start these activities in a controlled manner.
  • It is normal to experience discomfort when you begin the exercise regime. If you experience severe pain cease doing the exercises until the pain resolves, then recommence the exercise.

After your spinal fracture you may be worried that movement can cause more damage and therefore you restrict your movement. This can actually lead to more problems, as a lack of movement can further aggravate back pain. Anxiety and stress can also increase the amount of pain we feel. Tension can cause muscle spasms and this causes the muscles themselves to become painful.

What will happen afterwards?

Exercises                                        

To aid your recovery, we advise you to perform the exercises demonstrated to you by your physiotherapist at your appointment. These exercises are designed to build up your abdominal muscle strength which will support your back and improve your range of movement.  The exercises should be completed 2 – 3 times daily.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Neurosurgical Physiotherapy Department (01482) 674539

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