Neck and back braces — purpose and pain relief treatment


Patients who have undergone a spinal fusion surgery may be required to wear a neck or back brace during the postoperative recovery process to help the spine fuse properly. There are several types of braces for the neck or back; your surgeon will determine the types of brace required based on the type and location of surgery and your projected recovery time.

In some cases, a neck or back brace may be required to help support and stabilize the spine before a spinal fusion surgery is performed. If you suffer from chronic neck or back pain and you are experiencing difficulty moving or maintaining balance due to your spine condition, you may want to consult your physician about wearing a neck or back brace until your spine surgery is performed.

Purpose of wearing a neck or back brace to relieve pain

For patients who have not undergone spine surgery, a neck or back brace is a great way to support the spine and help relieve constant pain before a spinal fusion surgery is performed. Most spine stabilization surgeries are performed because a component of the spine, usually a disc or joint, has deteriorated due to compression from a degenerative spine condition.

A degenerative spine condition describes the gradual deterioration of spinal components, like discs and joints, due to the natural aging process. Over time, the vertebrae become compressed due to weight gain and continual motion, and they clamp the disc and joint found between each set of vertebrae. The disc and joint begin to deteriorate over extended periods of time of being compressed between the vertebrae. If the disc or joint becomes too degenerative, the vertebrae in that section of the spine will lose stability and possibly move out of alignment, most likely impacting a nerve in the spinal canal.

Now, the spine is unstable due to compression and the patient is experiencing chronic pain due to the compressed nerve.
A neck or back brace that is worn in the area of the spine condition helps to lift pressure off of the weak vertebrae, allowing it to decompress the impacted nerve and stabilize the spine. However, a neck or back brace does not treat the spine condition, only the symptom of pain and instability. An individual must still seek surgical treatment to fully treat the spine condition.

Minimally invasive stabilization surgery to help treat neck and back pain

If you are experiencing chronic pain and instability in the spine, and you have been ordered to wear a neck or back brace to help alleviate the pain, you might want to consider a surgical treatment to heal your spine condition at its root source.

Spine instability, as described above, is commonly caused by a degenerative spine condition that has gradually deteriorated the disc or joint between a set of vertebrae. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a minimally invasive stabilization surgery to treat the chronic pain and stabilize the spine to help prevent further pain and complications. Our minimally invasive stabilization surgery is a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open back fusion.

During the surgery, the surgeon will make a small incision in the neck or back to access the spine. Unlike a traditional open back fusion that cuts through the muscles next to the spine, our procedure gently moves aside the muscle and soft tissue surrounding the spine to avoid disruption. This results in a shorter recovery time* because your muscles do not have to heal after being severed, as is the case with traditional open back fusion. Once the spine is accessed, the deteriorated disc or joint is removed and an implant is fused into the empty space, stabilizing the two surrounding vertebrae.

Some patients may be required to wear a neck or back brace following surgery to help prevent movement and promote efficient and proper healing of the spine. If you have any questions about our minimally invasive stabilization surgery or the recovery process, we encourage you to reach out to our care team for answers. Our goal is to help inform you about your spine condition and the treatments available to you so you can make the best decision for your needs.