Support braces are usually prescribed by doctors to alleviate or manage pain associated with joints or other ortho conditions. Mostly, it is worn to stabilize and immobilize the injured area. Sometimes, support braces are also worn by sports persons or other professionals for precautionary measures and additional support.
No matter whether it is prescribed or not, you can easily get a support brace from your nearest drug store or online. However, before getting one for yourself, it is imperative to understand if you need one. Moreover, if you use an ortho brace wrong or wear an ill-fitting one, it may do more harm than good.
In this article, we will get to know everything about support braces and the occasions to wear them.
What are support braces?
Support braces are medical devices specifically designed to assist persons with musculoskeletal problems. When used in consultation with a physiotherapist, they are very useful in correcting posture and properly aligning, supporting, and protecting specific parts of the body.
They can be used around the ankle, knee, elbow, back, wrist, and other areas to alleviate pain. Doctors often prescribe it for patients undergoing rehabilitation after an injury or any medical procedure.
Support braces are made of soft materials such as spandex, tightly-knit fabrics, and sometimes rigid materials such as plastic. You can find a range of high-quality support braces meant for different areas at Medi Braces, which serves as a holistic treatment option for you.
Support braces can help a person in the following ways:
- Restrict the movement to a certain range, or in some cases, restrict the complete movement
- Improves a person’s posture
- Support the injured or operated area.
- Reduce pressure
- Encourages tissue healing in the injured area
- Offer warmth to the specific area
- Improve physical function and alleviate pain associated with the movements
When does one need to wear it?
Now that we know what support braces are let us understand when to wear support braces.
It is becoming common nowadays due to desk jobs and lifestyle changes. Long sitting hours affect an individual’s mental and physical aspects, including their posture. If back pain stents bother you while doing some particular activities, you can use back braces to alleviate the pain.
For instance, you can use back braces during driving or while doing a sitting job. However, it is just an intermittent measure; consult a doctor for complete back pain management.
Further, you can use back braces for performing heavy lifting jobs. For example, athletes in the fitness industry commonly use back support to lift heavy weights.
If not for an injury, knee braces are very common among athletes. Knee braces not only support movement but also protect the ligaments from injuries. While wearing them lowers the chances of powerful impact on the secured area, knee braces serve many functions apart from this.
For instance, different knee braces, such as hinged and compression, are prescribed for different knee injuries. While wearing these braces for one or two occasions is not a problem, it is advisable to consult a doctor for regular use.
Osteoarthritis (OA) Pain
It is the most common form of arthritis in which the cartilage inside your joints breaks down. Due to this, it is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis or degenerative joint. This condition leads to stiffness and severe pain in the hands, neck, lower back, knees, or hips.
Depending on your condition and pain area, doctors can recommend support braces to alleviate pain and support movement. These braces can help you perform routine activities and provide warmth to the area at the same time.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Pain
It is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own body tissues, like small joints in fingers, hands, or knuckles. In such a case, working splints or braces are highly recommended, which offer great relief while allowing usual day-to-day activities. However, if the symptoms worsen, you need to see a medical practitioner to know whether or not support braces or splints can be of any use.
A normal break from the activity causing the overuse injuries, such as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, helps alleviate the pain. However, if you still need to do that same activity, it is highly recommended to wear a support brace below your elbow on the forearm to relieve pressure to some extent.
If you experience ankle sprains, braces can be used as a part of the standard at-home treatment, including rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In addition, wearing a padded foam brace or a compression foam brace at night while elevating ankles significantly eases the pain. However, if, even after a couple of days of treatment, the sprain won’t go away or you aren’t able to bear weight on your foot, you immediately need to see a medical practitioner.
Often incorrect posture or lifting technique to pick up something can lead to back pain. The correct way is to squat down while bending at the knees to pick up things rather than learning from the waist. Using back support braces can alleviate the pain and always reminds you to lift things in the right way.
It is a common condition affecting most people who spend the most time on their feet, like construction workers, teachers, and nurses. As a result of prolonged standing, the sole starts to hurt. A support brace is recommended in such a case as it can keep the foot and ankle in a neutral position at night to alleviate the pain.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When the nerve from the forearm to the hands gets squeezed, a syndrome known as Carpal Tunnel happens. The syndrome can be identified from symptoms such as:
- Soreness, weakness, or numbness in fingers, palm, or forearm
- Urge to shake out hands and wrists after a longer period of typing
If a person experiences any such symptoms, a doctor will recommend resting the wrist or hands that are bothering them. And wearing a support brace or splint at night can help relieve the symptoms.
After a spinal injury or surgery, a doctor recommends patients wear post-operational support braces. It works by immobilizing the spine and controls pain by restricting painful movements. However, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of a medical practitioner to get the right type of support brace which isn’t just comfortable but appropriate for your specific condition.
And as far as the duration is concerned, you are required to wear it for a minimum of two weeks or before your first post-operational visit. Further, it depends on the type of operation and the patient’s general conditions.
As evident, support braces can be beneficial in a number of conditions involving musculoskeletal issues. They can help you remain mobile while you heal. However, depending on your condition, you need to get an appropriate support brace for the best results.
Today, the market is full of support braces, which makes selecting the best device intimidating. As it is about your health, going for a quality support brace is always advisable instead of selecting a cheap one. Lastly, do online research and comparisons to get your hands on the best support brace.