Custom TLSO (Spinal Brace)
Your spinal brace was custom made to fit your torso. If you had a traumatic injury, you may notice that your abdomen has swelled from the medications and fluids you have been given. This will slowly decrease and affect the way your TLSO fits.
Applying your Spinal Brace
Having an assistant help you is recommended until you demonstrate the ability to apply the brace yourself.
- Apply a tight fitting t-shirt. Your orthotist may have provided a special t-shirt for you to wear. If not, apply a hospital gown or tight shirt that will not wrinkle under the TLSO.
- While lying on your back, roll to your side and slide the brace around your back. Line up the waist pads on your brace with your waist. Roll back over onto your back. You may need to reposition the TLSO brace again as it may have moved when you rolled back. If so, make sure the waist pads are in the correct area.
- Apply the front part of your brace so that it lines up with the back portion. Some braces will have the front piece fit over the back piece. Check to make sure you have it applied correctly. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the padding on the front matches the padding on the back. If the padding touches plastic, you probably have it on incorrectly.
- Secure the velcro straps, starting with the middle strap first. Your orthotist may have marked the velcro straps for you. Make sure the straps are secured to these marks. If your abdomen is swollen, these marks may need to be adjusted as your volume changes.
Your physician must indicate that your back is stable enough to stand.
- Standing up, apply the posterior section of your TLSO around your back. Line up the waist pads in the brace to match your waist. Stand against a wall or door to hold the back section while you apply the front section.
- Apply the front section making sure that the front either goes over the back or inside the back section.
- Secure the straps to the marks indicated. During this process it is important to keep as straight as possible to insure your spine is aligned correctly. Standing in front of a mirror is helpful
Taking Care of Your Brace
Wash your brace as needed with soap and water. The soap you use to bathe will work fine. Apply soap and water, and use a washcloth to thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the brace. Rinse the brace with water in the shower. Towel dry. Do not use a hair dryer as the foam padding on the inside may melt.
Taking Care of Your Skin
Wearing a tight fitting spinal brace result in redness to your skin. Redness should only last for a maximum of 20 minutes after you remove your brace. If redness persists longer than 20 minutes you should either contact your orthotist for assistance or apply rubbing alcohol over the reddened areas. The rubbing alcohol will toughen your skin. Also make sure that you applied the brace correctly and that you did not have wrinkles in your t-shirt.
Depending on the extent of your injury or surgery, you may be advised by your physician to wear your brace 23 hours per day, removing only for bathing or you may be advised to only wear it when you are out of bed.
Troubleshooting Problems with Your TLSO Brace
A common problem is that your brace migrate up your body when lying in bed. The cause is one of two things:
- Your body has changed in shape, (lost volume due to medications, post injury swelling or even excessive weight loss) Solution: Tighten the straps or contact your orthotist to make adjustments. Additional padding may need to be applied to the inside of your brace.
- You are not tightening the straps to the proper marks or are placing the brace in the wrong location on your body. Solution: Apply the brace lying down and tighten to the marks on your straps. If you can tighten the straps past the marks go ahead as long as it is comfortable. Make sure the TLSO is sitting correctly at your waist before you tighten and lock it in place.