Posture Brace -for Neck and Back Pain Relief.
Posture braces can be of great assistance in the management of back and neck pain when used with expertise and care. I use posture braces on clients who have very poor posture due to genetically inherited conditions and on clients who have very weak postural muscles as a result of bad sitting and/or standing posture that has developed over years.
However, they must be used with care!
If you over rely on a posture brace, or use it excessively over time, this can lead to further back and neck problems. This is due to the postural brace taking over the role of your postural muscles.
If your postural muscles are not allowed to work, then over time they will weaken. Other muscles in your back may be required to work differently as a result of wearing a postural brace, and they may become too strong or tight. The end result can lead to muscle imbalances, which if not resolved may result in back or neck pain.
When to use a Posture Brace
If you have posture-related back pain and your muscles are very weak, your physiotherapist may use a posture brace on you for three weeks. However, they will typically use this brace to help unload your painful back in conjunction with an intensive posture exercise programme designed to strengthen your postural muscles. I have found that this combination is very effective.
It makes sense - “IF YOU DONT USE IT YOU LOSE IT!” - if you don’t use your postural muscles over time then you will lose their effectiveness. So, seek a solution to your poor posture and don’t rely on posture bracing in the long term, unless absolutely necessary.
Now, when I decide to use a brace with my client, initially, I will have them doing postural exercises with the posture brace on. Progression will involve doing half your exercises with your brace on and half with your brace off. Eventually, we will remove your brace, usually after three weeks, and teach you exercises to do without the brace.
I only use posture bracing for longer than three weeks in clients with severe scoliosis or other spinal instabilities.
In summary - Please do not use posture braces for the long term without professional guidance or advice.
While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.
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