Pain meds have led to overuse and addiction – one safe and effective treatment method? Orthopedic bracing. Here’s what you need to know to heal.
Got back or knee pain? Consider orthopedic bracing as a treatment option.
For many, this debilitating illness can alter the quality of their life. If you’re among one of the 31 million who experience consistent back pain or 19.5% of adults with knee pain, then you definitely need a solution.
Pain medications often carry the risk of overuse, misuse, and addiction. Is there another way to tackle back and knee pain?
Yes, there is! Let’s take a look at one of the most effective, non-surgical alternatives to pain medications. It’s called orthopedic bracing!
What are the kinds of orthopedic bracing?
If you pay attention when you visit the pharmacy, you’ll have seen a brace before. There is a wide range. They are available for many different parts of the body (even your neck, if you happen to have neck pain!). As you may have guessed, they help you to use an injured or hurting part of your body with less pain.
Orthopedic bracing works by supporting the soft tissues of the affected area – usually ligaments or muscles, or by supporting joints.
Braces that support soft tissues are made from a stretchy rubber that serves three main purposes:
- Preserve local heat in the area, to aid in alleviating pain
- Make relative movement possible for the wearer of the brace
- Provide compression for the affected area, aiding in the relief of any swelling
The braces that support joints or keep adjacent bones in the right position are made from nylon straps wrapped around a hard material. Knee braces fall into this category.
- These braces are custom made to suit the size of the patient and intended purpose
- The more hard the material that is used in the brace, the more custom made it is – and the more expensive it is
- Hinges are sometimes incorporated to facilitate the movement of a joint
However, now you must be wondering – how do orthopedic braces work?
How does orthopedic bracing work?
Orthopedic bracing works by putting pressure on the affected area. This pressure helps to stabilize the joint, reduce pain and inflammation in the areas. They also help eventually strengthen the affected area.
When it comes to braces – especially the ones made of nylon straps with a hard material – the pressure is put on the sides of the joint. This pressure forces the joint to realign into its natural position.
The effects of this pressure are two-fold. Mobility in the joint is increased, and the contact between the two joint surfaces is reduced. This is especially helpful since knee pain is caused by the joints rubbing together.
Speaking of knee pain, let’s take a moment to zero in on how an orthopedic brace can help you if you suffer from knee pain.
Orthopedic bracing combats knee pain without surgery
If you have knee pain, you must have often heard surgery tossed around as an alternative. However, orthopedic bracing is one of the most effective non-surgical methods to finally have peace from the pain.
There are three kinds of orthopedic bracing for knees available, depending on your issue:
- Prophylactic braces – these are designed to help individuals with knees that have been injured through sport or strenuous activity
- Functional braces – they support knees that have already been injured, making daily movement easier with less pain
- Rehabilitative braces – these braces are used when you’ve recently had surgery; they limit dangerous movements of the knee while it is healing
- Unloader braces – these braces help individuals who suffer from arthritis in the knee, and need support in order to relieve pain associated with this condition
However, this list is not exhaustive, since there are many different kinds of knee braces. More than likely, you’ll need a prohylactic or unloader brace. Your doctor will help you decide.
Your doctor will know which knee brace is best for you
Since there are so many different kinds of knee braces available, it isn’t recommended that you just walk into a pharmacy and purchase whichever brace you feel would suit you best. Instead, have a conversation with you doctor, who will lead you in the right direction when it comes to selecting the best knee brace for your needs.
Leaning towards getting an orthopedic brace? If so, here are a few tips you should keep in mind.
Things to consider when for orthopedic bracing
Just because you’ve gotten an orthopedic brace doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. There are a few things you have to consider in order to make the best use of it.
- An improperly worn brace is better than no brace at all. Orthopedic braces only work when they’re worn the way they were designed to. Ensure that you wear your brace as prescribed at all times, or you risk doing more harm than good.
- An orthopedic brace doesn’t protect you from injury. For example, if you wear a knee brace, you’ll still be susceptible to injuring it while wearing a knee brace. Braces don’t protect you from hurting the braced area. They are just meant to support it and alleviate pain and swelling.
- Exercise while wearing your orthopedic brace is important. Since you’re still susceptible to injury, it’s important to do strengthening exercises for the area that is affected. In the case of your knee or back, stretching and improvement techniques can do a world of good.
- Caring for your brace is important too. Just like any outerwear, your orthopedic brace should be clean and well taken care of. Wiping down the plastic areas is recommended, and regular cleaning with water and a mild detergent is good for the fabric area of your brace.
All in all, orthopedic bracing may be the solution you need to your back or knee pain. You don’t have to continue living life in pain anymore. And you certainly don’t have to fear being addicted to pain medications.
Looking to talk to a specialist about your back or knee pain, or want to see if an orthopedic brace will be the right fit for you? Book an appointment with us, or submit your query through our contact form to our team of qualified medical staff.
We’ll be waiting!