There are a number of different types of back braces, because each type serves different purposes and limits the spine’s range of motion in different ways. One example of these devices is the hyperextension back brace, which is designed to prevent the patient from bending excessively. This type of support brace for the back is often used for the purpose of treating a frontal compression fracture, especially when they occur between the lumbar spine and the thoracic spine. Following a spinal fusion operation, this type of brace is also effective in promoting healing by limiting the available range of motion of the spine.
Hyperextension back braces are capable of offering a type of support allowing frontal pressure unloading of the vertebrae in the thoracic spine. This is achieved by restricting the amount of flexion or bending that the lumbar and thoracic spine can reasonably achieve. By limiting the amount of bending that the spine can achieve, additional support is provided which can benefit quicker healing. A typical hyperextension brace will have a rectangular metal frame in the front, which places pressure on the pubic bone and the sternum. This is the basic mechanism for the effectiveness of this type of back support.
The main focus of the hyperextension brace is to encourage extension of the spine. These back braces are designed to apply an opposing pressure to the tenth thoracic spinal vertebra, known as the T-10 level. This offers what is known as a three-point stabilization to the patient’s spine through three pads, a pad on the front abdomen, one on the chest and one on the rear, which is against the level where the fracture exists. This three-point stabilization aids in healing of the spine following an injury by preventing unnecessary spinal movement and promoting good strength and stability of the vertebrae.
Because back braces like this apply pressure in three different points, the spine is both stretched and extended. The brace applies its pressure to a sternal point, a pubis point and a rear lumbo-sacral point. The sternum is a flat and narrow bone that is located in the middle of the patient’s thorax, and the thorax exists between the lower diaphragm and the base of the neck. There are several different types of hyperextension braces that can prove useful for this purpose, including the Knight Taylor brace and the Jewett brace. The physician will help the patient determine which brace will be most effective for his or her needs.