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Thread: Looking forward to getting out of my brace

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Looking forward to getting out of my brace

    Hi all,

    I'm 20 weeks post-op today and I'm already getting really anxious about getting out of my brace. I was hoping to be out of it back in December, but my Dr. wanted me to continue with it for an additional 3 months. Well, the time is just around the corner and I have some questions.

    1. Are there any muscle building exercises I can do to help strengthen my back/abs prior to removing the brace?

    2. Did anybody go back to their prescription meds after brace removal?

    3. Did anyone have to cut back on work shift hours initially after removing the brace?

    4. What kinds of soreness/stiffness should I expect?

    Currently, I'm back to work fulltime. I sit all day long with the occasional run to the ladies room or the snack machine. I'm riding the bus into work which is about 50 minute commute each way.

    I'm fused from T4 to L4. Any info you could give me would be great! Thanks everyone!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    hiya Nicki

    You are doing fantastically well for 20 weeks-keep it up.

    I am now 6 months post op and have come out of my brace a few days ago.

    The best thing for you to do would be to get a referal to a physio. My doc said physio wasnt necesary but i thought i would be better prepared so he refered me.

    She initially started with gentle stretches of the neck and shoulders and then we worked up to balancing techniques on a gym ball and breathing excercises whilst laying down to strengthen the abdominal muscles that support the spine. Im still doing the same but now without the brace, this has also helped to strengthen my confidence without the brace-i sorta got attached to the thing

    Anyway good luck and let me know if you have any other questions


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Grand Rapids, MI

    Hi Nickie,

    That's great that you will soon be getting out of the brace! How exciting!
    I am 6 1/2 months post op from T5-L5 surgery and also started weaning out of my brace at 4-5 months.

    I would also recommend physical therapy as they can evaluate where you are stiff and weak and help you start gradually strengthening. I was a little more stiff and sore when I started and did make sure to take some pain relievers (usually tylenol) before therapy or if I was a bit stiff afterwards.

    I would recommend gradually weaning out of the brace by a few hours every day. It might be too much to just stop wearing it all together at work. Could you maybe go a few hours in the morning without it, then put it on for the afternoon and gradually lengthen the time without it? This is what has worked best for me. I still like to use it for long car rides or if I'm doing heavy housework or lifting, vacuuming to avoid over strain.

    Not sure what type of brace you have; mine is a soft corset type that velcros and laces and provides good support, but allows a little movement. I started out the first couple months with a hard plastic shell and then was able to go to the softer one. At first I had a lot of burning when I moved; the dr. said that there is scar tissue that has to start moving again.

    You will know if you have done too much if you get real stiff and sore the next day. Just try a little ice and pain relievers and it will subside soon.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Thanks guys for all your advice. I will contact my Dr. office next week and ask about physical therapy. I just know I'll need to do something to prepare myself.

    At this point, when I take off my brace for a little bit to get my back rubbed (my husband is wonderful), I usually run back into it in about 20 minutes - I just get too scared being out of it. I'm sure it will be an adjustment.

    Thanks. It's so nice to hear from others on their experience and also to hear words of encouragement.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Wheeling, WV
    Hi Nickie,

    My brace was my "security blanket"!!! When my Dr. told me to wean myself off of it over the next 5 weeks, I remember telling my husband I just don't think it was going to be possible. But within 2 weeks I was out of it. I may have rushed it, but I just couldn't wait to take it off!!!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Essex, UK

    Love it and hate it

    I have a love hate relationship with my brace....

    I HATE wearing it, it drives me nuts, the itching and restrictive nature of it, its still awkward to get my normal clothes to fit over etc all the normal stuff and then when I take it off for my bath/wash I feel very vulnerable without it like a turtle missing its shell LOL

    This is my second time around with a post-op brace, and believe me when I tell you how much they have improved since the last one I had! People think I'm mad when I say how nice it is to have a padded lining on this brace, the old ones didn't!

    Anyway, I believe core strengthening exercises are the most useful, physio would be the best people to advise you on what you are and aren't allowed to do though, and to all those in a brace - I promise one day you will not need it at all and you won't remember what it was like either

    1st Surgery in 1991 aged 15
    Fused T2 to L2
    'S' curve
    Before surgery T39 L49
    Revision surgery 6th Nov 2006

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