Spinal Bracing & Cervical Collars

Spinal Bracing & Cervical Collars

Spinal Bracing & Cervical Collars

Spinal Bracing can be used for various reasons such as supporting injured joints or soft tissue, as a preventative measure or for post-operative support. There are vast amounts of braces available that have numerous different uses and applications. We at Chin & Partners do continuous evaluation of the braces on offer from suppliers around the globe, to try and offer the best possible product options available. Below is a list of some of our commonly used braces, but our product offering is much more extensive. We manufacture custom bracing when needed.

Lower back pain:

Lower back pain is one of the most common job-related injuries.  It is caused by muscle strains due to poor body alignment while lifting heavy objects or muscle strains caused by sudden movements.

Other factors that may cause lower back pain are:

  •  Arthritis in the spine,
  • Spinal infection,
  • Ruptured or herniated disks,
  • Age.

Age related back pain can be caused by the reduction of fluid between the vertebrae that causes symptoms relating to discomfort or pain of the spine. Muscle atrophy also makes the spine more prone to injury due to lack of stability. Lack of flexibility and the resultant increased stiffness also contributes to the increased likelihood of injury.

Acute back pain: Back pain that last for a couple of days to even a few weeks.

Chronic back pain: Back pain that lasts for more than 3 months.

Orthotics Treatment:

Bracing can be an effective tool if the holistic treatment plan. It can provide support to the muscles and bony structures providing symptomatic relief. The support can also relieve the strain on these structures allowing for improved mobility and the ability to performs daily activities. Braces for the spine are particularly effective during the rehabilitation period. 

An LSO (Lumbosacral Orthosis) can be prescribed by a doctor or can be fitted over the counter, depending on the diagnoses. 

Goals of back bracing for pain relief.

  • To reduce muscle tension in the lower back
  • To distribute weight evenly in the spine and help improve posture.
  • Increase function when doing activities.

Mechanisms of the back Support:

Provides additional spinal support: When the lower back (spinal structure) is unstable due to weakness or injury, the brace can aid in providing more stability. It helps to keep the torso in a safe, supported posture and provides a healthy healing environment for the current injury as well as help to prevent additional injuries that may occur.

  • Reduces pressure on the spinal column: By reducing the pressure on the spine, the tension on the spinal muscles are reduced. The back brace helps to unload the weight that is normally placed on the spinal column, intervertebral discs and joints.
  • Range of Movement (ROM) is reduced: The back brace helps to restrict painful movement in the spine such as side to side bending, forwards and backwards bending as well as rotation. The brace helps with proprioception (awareness of the body’s position) which in turn makes the wearer more aware of their posture and their range of movement in order to limit the pain. The increased proprioception also enhances the support of the structures of the spine.
  •  Micro movement between the vertebra is reduced: The back-brace aids in limiting micro movements that occur at the spinal segments or at the vertebral Fracture.

Stretching and strengthening of your back muscles are key to preventing lower back pain and to prevent injury.

Different Levels of Bracing

Determining what device needs to be used is dependant on the diagnosis as well as the level of injury/ pain.


  • Cervical region:  C1 – C7
  • Thoracic region:  T1 – T12
  • Lumbar region:  L1 – L5
  • Sacral region: S1 – S5

Levels of Bracing and commonly used items:

  • Cervical regions: Soft Collars; Miami J Collar, Philadelphia Collar; Poly Pad.
  • Thoracic Regions: Posture Braces, Hyperextension Brace (Jewett’s brace) 
  • CTLSO (Cervical Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis) – Often a custom brace is considered in severe cases. 
  • TLSO (Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis) – Smart spine TLSO or Custom Bracing
  • LSO (Lumbar Sacral Orthosis) – Miami LSO; Immostrap; Actistrap
  • Sacral Region: SI belt (Sacroiliac).

Cervical region bracing:

Bracing in this area of the spine is usually prescribed after surgery, trauma or injury to the neck. It is one of the most common spinal braces. The type of brace prescribed is dependant on the severity of the injury or how supportive or immobilising the brace needs to be. They can stabilize the neck after cervical spine surgery, or they can provide non-surgical  support and relief if there has been trauma or injury to your neck such as whiplash.

Posture/ Thoracic Bracing:

This type of bracing is suitable for users with poor upper and mid back posture and related pain in the thoracic spine region. Awareness of the body (proprioception) is improved and the spine is actively straightened as the shoulder girdle is repositioned.

  • The thoracic spine is guided back to its normal position.
  • There can be improved activation of the back muscles resulting from the postural training effect of the brace.

Lumbar Bracing:

There is a wide variety of lumbar bracing and prescription will depend on the diagnosis and the requirements of the back support which may vary from immobilization of the spine or just to support the soft tissue structures. Lumbar bracing provides intra-abdominal compression. The increased pressure in this cavity causes distraction of the spine which in turn relieves pressure between the vertebral discs. The brace also provides support to the affected region that it is in contact with. The posterior (back) panel can vary in stiffness from soft and flexible to rigid and this will have a direct impact on what the function is of the brace.

Sacral Iliac region:

The right SI belt is highly effective in providing stabilization of the sacroiliac (SI) joint through direct compression of the pelvis.

Indications: Sacroiliac pain; low back pain; low back sprains/strains.

Custom Back Bracing:

Depending on the diagnosis and the level of the injury or support needed, custom back supports can also be manufactured. This is usually done in more severe cases or when an OTS Spinal orthosis will not provide the required stability or will not fit according to the desired specifications.

The steps relating to custom bracing is as follows:

  1. Referral from a medical professional.
  2. Clinical evaluation from the orthotist, looking at the diagnosis – determining level of bracing (TLSO, CTLSO)
  3. Casting/moulding the patient’s torso.
  4. Manufacturing of the Spinal orthosis.
  5. Test fit if needed (depending on the function of the brace)
  6. Making necessary adjustments.
  7. Manufacturing of final Spinal Orthosis
  8. Final fitting.
  9. Follow up in 2 weeks to check fit as well as make modifications if necessary.

Different types of Custom Spinal Braces:

  • Supportive.
  • Corrective

Supportive Custom Spinal Bracing:

This is generally used after a traumatic accident or post spinal surgery. With this type of bracing the main goal is to support the injured/ operated site and provide enough stability in the correct position, and limiting movement to allow healing.

Corrective Custom Spinal Bracing

In this case it is generally used for patients that have a curvature of the spine, scoliosis patients  that have a non-structural curve and/or have not reached skeletal maturity. When one of the two conditions are met, a corrective scoliosis brace can be prescribed:

  • When the Cobb angle has reached at least 25 degrees and there is still a significant amount of growth left for the individual until skeletal maturity is met.
  • When the Cobb angle is less than 25 degrees, but the patient’s curve has rapidly progressed at the 4- to 6-month follow-up appointment by 5° or more.

Skeletal maturity: On an x-ray in an adolescent patient the Risser factor is used to determine the level of skeletal maturity ( how much more growth will occur).

Cobb AngleThe Cobb Angle is a standard measurement to help determine and track the progression and severity of the curvature / scoliosis.

Off The Shelf Bracing:

Off the shelf bracing can be divided into two categories:

  • Supportive.
  • Immobilising.

Each brace is dependant on the diagnosis as well as what is required in order to aid and improve the rehabilitation period. These braces can used post-operatively as well as after traumatic or sports injuries.

Certain types of off the shelf bracing can be bought over the counter but when immobilising and corrective bracing is required, a prescription for a doctor may be required.

Chin & Partners Benefits

Conveniently located

We have four practices across Cape Town and cater to international patients as well

Licensed Professionals

Our healthcare professionals provide the highest quality care and are fully licensed

A Solution For All

We provide cost-effective solutions for all prosthesis, orthotics, mobility and bracing

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