Category: Braces

“Back” it up with a Brace!

Most people have some type of back problem at one time or another in their lifetime. Back problems can occur anywhere from the neck to the tailbone and can be a result of wear and tear, overuse or injury. Injuries frequently occur when you use your back muscles in activities that you do not do very often such as lifting heavy objects, yard work, painting, etc. Overuse injuries are most often from improper movement or posture. Minor injuries also occur from tripping, falling a short distance or excessive twisting of the spine. Severe back injuries may result from vehicle accidents, falls from significant heights, direct blows, a high-energy fall onto the buttocks, or a penetrating injury such as a stab wound. Common medical conditions/deformities such as ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, kyphosis affect your daily activities, restrict movement and cause different levels of pain. There are many thoughts on the effect of a back brace. Some facts on back braces are:

    • Back braces physically restrict motion or movement
    • Back braces remind the wearer to avoid undesirable movements
    • Back braces help to achieve proper posture
    • Back braces provide some spinal decompression
    • Back braces stabilize the pelvis and spine

 

A very common myth is that wearing a back brace weakens the abdominal muscles and causes poor body mechanics. Back braces are designed help the wearer achieve proper posture and increase awareness of the position of the pelvis and spine. This constantly reminds individuals of their body positions, making it easier to avoid undesirable postures while in the healing process. By increasing the intra-abdominal pressure, a back support acts much like the stays and support rings of a barrel. If the support rings are tightened a stabilizing effect is achieved. A properly designed spinal support stabilizes the spine and acts in the same way. There are many types of back braces. It is important that the correct brace is selected for the condition or injury but as well, it is as important that the brace fit the shape of the individual. When the patient cannot avoid certain activities, such as work, then the use of a brace is an important part of the treatment process. It is important that you be assessed by a professional who takes all aspects of your health, life style and body type into consideration. Most insurance companies cover braces if prescribed by a medical professional.

Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Certified Fitter and Owner of Estabrooks Orthopedic Bracing providing no obligation, free assessments at my locations in Dartmouth and Halifax or home visits to those who prefer in home assessment. If you have any questions please contact us via email or call 902-225-3295.

 

Golf Season is Here – Golfers Elbow – Avoid the Pain!



Golfers elbow is one of the most common, frustrating golf injuries. Symptoms include pain and tenderness on the inner side of your elbow sometimes extending along the inner side of your forearm; weakness in your hands and wrists and numbness or tingling that radiates into one or more fingers. It will also get worse when you swing a golf club. 

  • Rest – you need to stop or at least lessen the activity/motion that is irritating your condition.  Ice the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time up to 4 times a day for the first couple of days.
  • Stretch Do three sets of 10 for each stretch.  First, slowly bend your wrist forward and backward as far as you can without excess pain.  Next, stretch your wrist. Keep your elbow straight during this stretch. With one hand, bend the opposite wrist down by pressing the back of your hand and holding it for 15 to 30 seconds. Then, stretch the hand back by pressing the fingers in a backward direction and holding it for 15 to 30 seconds.  For mobility, bend your elbow 90 degrees and keep the elbow at your side and bent throughout this exercise. Turn your palm up and hold for five seconds. Slowly turn your palm down and hold for five seconds.
  • Strengthen When the stretching is nearly painless, you can add these strengthening exercises. A can of soup makes a great starting weight. Start with one-half to one pound and work up to four or five pounds over time. Do three sets of 10 for each exercise. To strengthen the wrist flexion, hold the weight in your hand with your palm facing up. Bend your wrist upward. Slowly lower the weight and return to the starting position.  To strengthen wrist extension, hold the weight in your hand with your palm facing down. Slowly bend your wrist upward. Slowly lower the weight to the starting position.  To strengthen your grip, squeeze a rubber ball and hold for five seconds.  To strengthen the movement of your forearm, hold a weight in your hand and bend your elbow 90 degrees, keeping the elbow at your side. Slowly rotate your hand palm up and then palm down.  To strengthen elbow flexion and extension, hold a weight with your palm face up. Slowly bend your elbow so that your hand approaches your shoulder. Then lower the weight slowly until your elbow is completely straight.
  • Take the pressure off – wear a support/brace.  There are many types of golfers elbow braces available.  I recommend the Bauerfeind EpiTrain or the Ossur Airform Elbow Brace  The Bauerfeind EpiTrain Elbow support incorporates two anatomically contoured silicone inserts surrounding the  medial and lateral elbow bones (epicondyles) and lying over the flexor and extensor muscles.  The silicone inserts leave the elbow bones pressure-free and provide an intermittent compression to the soft tissue of the joint, leading to increased circulation, thus aiding in the resorption of swelling and edema. This promotes proprioception, thus heightening sensory awareness in the elbow for increased joint stabilization. The Ossur Airform Elbow Brace focuses compression on the forearm tendons to help decrease the stress at the elbow joint. This stress is the cause of many orthopedic conditions including medial and lateral epicondylitis. The Ossur Airform Elbow Brace is designed to conform and comfortably cushion the sensitive injured area. It is easy to apply and adjustable. 

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