Getting used to your spinal brace

You have been recommended a spinal brace. This page from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) explains the programme for gradually increasing the amount of time each day you spend wearing the brace. It also says what sort of checks you need to do each day when you are wearing the brace.Your orthotist will give you an information sheet giving your individual programme for building up the amount of time you spend wearing your brace.

Checking your skin

Initially, you should check your skin for pressure areas every 30 to 60 minutes or so – you will have to take off the brace to do this, you should be able to look at your front easily enough but you may need help to check the skin on your back. Once you are more used to the brace, you should check your skin every time you take off the brace.

  • The spinal brace may make faint red marks on your skin, in the same way your trouser waistband may leave a mark. These marks should fade within 20 to 30 minutes of taking off the brace.
  • The brace should not hurt, cause blisters or broken skin or sore areas – if any of these happen, stop using the brace and contact the Orthotics team as soon as possible.

Caring for the brace

  • Clean the jacket with a damp cloth and soapy water, then leave to air dry – away from any heat sources such as a radiator or in direct sunlight.
  • If the jacket breaks or the straps become worn, contact your orthotist immediately as it can take up to four weeks to make a new jacket.

Everyday life with the brace

  • You should wear the brace as instructed above but take it off when you have a shower or bath and make sure your skin is completely dry before you put it back on. We also recommend removing it for PE, exercise, swimming or sports.
  • You should be able to wear your usual clothes over the top of the brace but you might find looser styles more comfortable and easier to put on and take off. 
  • Wearing a brace can make your tummy and back muscles a bit ‘lazy’ as the brace is doing a lot of the work. We suggest increasing the amount of activity you do to maintain a strong core. Recommended activities include swimming, yoga/Pilates, gymnastics, martial arts or dance.
Compiled by:
The Orthotics team in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date:
February 2019