What Is an LSO/TLSO? - Back Braces for Lower Back Pain - Brace Direct

What Is an LSO/TLSO? - Back Braces for Lower Back Pain

The most effective way to reduce lower back pain, rehabilitate, and prevent injury is to get the right back braces. These wearable supports are available as either TLSO or LSO, each serving a specific purpose and addressing a given section of the spine.

But what do the acronyms mean, and how effective are they in treating back pain? This detailed guide has all the answers.

What Is a TLSO or LSO Back Brace?

A back brace is a device you may wear to support your back to prevent injury, reduce pain, promote recovery, and encourage proper spine alignment and correct posture. The two main types of back braces for lower back pain include:

  • TLSO Back Brace - The Thoracic-Lumbar-Sacral Orthosis limits painful motion in the spine’s sacral, lumbar, and thoracic sections. It extends from the pelvis to the area below your collarbones, comprising a pair of anterior supports alongside rigid posterior support.  
  • LSO Back Brace - The Lumbar-Sacral Orthosis is a lower-profile TLSO version that stabilizes the spine for disc problems, fractured vertebrae, and other disorders or after surgery. 

Back braces feature rigid metals or plastic, elastic compression bands, or both. Numerous off-the-shelf or pre-fabricated designs, including a back brace for lifting, are readily available. However, braces for lower back pain are mostly custom-fitted. 

Common examples of TLSO and LSO include:

  • Jewett TLSO
  • CASH (Cruciform Anterior Spinal Hyperextension) TLSO
  • LSO Williams Flexion LSO
  • Scoliosis TLSO Body Jacket

Objectives and Mechanisms of LSO/TLSO Back Bracing 

tlso back brace for back pain

A doctor may prescribe an LSO/TLSO back brace to meet the following complementary purposes:

  • Manage low back muscle tension and pain
  • Enhance posture for even weight distribution in the spine
  • Create a healthy environment for healing spinal structures
  • Boost daily activity and function

The back brace’s primary use mechanisms can help you achieve the above goals. Pain relief mechanisms may vary by design, but generally, a back brace for men or women can:

Support Your Spine

A back brace can provide additional stability in case of injury or weakened spinal structures. It holds the torso in a supportive, safe posture, providing a healthy healing environment and preventing further harm.

Ease Spinal Structures’ Pressure

LSO and TLSO braces can unload significant weight on the lower back to ease pressure on the spinal muscles, discs, and joints. This cuts muscle tension, a standard protective reaction after a back injury.

Cuts The Range of Motion as You Bend

The brace can limit painful movements like bending or twisting the spine. By restricting such postures, the brace can boost awareness of your body’s proprioception. This allows you to adjust your posture consciously and improve your back health.  

Limit Vertebral Segment Micro-motion

Finally, braces can control micro-movements at particular segments or fractured areas. This reduces pain from irritated nerve roots or joints and muscle tension.  

Making the back brace a part of your treatment regimen can enhance pain and mobility scores than solely focusing on pain medication and physical therapy.

Who Should Use LSO/TLSO Back Braces?

older woman wearing an lso back brace

Besides helping with nonsurgical treatment, a lower back brace also comes through for anyone who needs relief from the following conditions:

Post-operative Healing

A physician can recommend a rigid brace following a spinal injury to ease pressure on the spinal column, limit movement, and micro-motions, and add stability.

This provides an environment of healthy healing. It’s advisable to use back braces between three and eight weeks following the procedure.  

Isthmic Spondylolisthesis

A rigid back brace can minimize vertebral slippage, reduce pain, and boost your walking ability. It limits excess motion around the injured area, regulating pain and reducing muscle, nerve, and joint damage.


A rigid or semi-rigid brace can control painful micro motions, relieve pain, and heal a fractured vertebral level. Experts believe a lumbar brace reduces or prevents isthmic spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage).  


Semi-rigid and rigid back braces can reduce painful micro-motions and instability. They also reduce pressure on facet joints to alleviate pain and simplify everyday movements.

Vertebral Compression Fractures

Back braces can help with vertebral compression fractures by easing pressure on the spinal column and limiting micro motions at the affected vertebral level.

Lumbar Herniated Disc or Degenerative Disc Disease

A back brace can limit micro-motions and stabilize a herniated disk. It also reduces twisting and bending and can handle some of the weight to allow the disc to recover.

Spinal Stenosis

By limiting micro-motions and easing pressure in the lower spine, bracing reduces the risk of irritated nerve roots and radicular pain. It can also shift weight to the abdomen or adjust the pressure to unload the weight on the spine.

Muscle Tension and Strain

Physicians may also recommend a flexible brace for low back muscle strain.

Reducing spinal pressure can alleviate muscle tension and reduce the strength required to sustain the spinal column. It can also produce heat to relax tense muscles and cut the pain. However, you shouldn’t use it for more than two to four days.

Always discuss your condition with a doctor before using back braces for lower back pain. This way, you’ll determine whether you need it, the right one, and how to use it.

Moreover, braces are a fraction of a comprehensive program. Using it without or against your physician’s recommendations can worsen the injury and increase pain.

Getting Used to Back Braces

man and woman walking with a bicycle wearing a back brace

Whether it’s a TLSO or LSO, getting comfortable with back braces for lower back pain is like adjusting to new shoes. The next stage will entail helping your muscles and skin adjust to the brace, a gradual build-up that can take two to three weeks.

It’s essential to go through a daily wear schedule involving five stages of brace wear. You’ll begin with six hours, build up to eight, and then try 14 before graduating to 16. Finally, you’ll move to 20 – 22 hours daily. You can also develop your own gradual schedule, provided you wear it full time after three weeks.

It helps to pin the daily wear schedule to a board and then check off one day after another as you progress. Also, never skip days.

Back Brace Use and Care Tips

Here are some vital tips for back brace usage and care:

  • Strictly follow the wear schedule – A physician-ordered LSO/TLSO brace is specifically designed to support your spine and provide immobilization to facilitate healing. So always maintain the prescribed wearing schedule.
  • Wearing the brace – Ensure proper positioning by feeling the indentations on both sides. It should fit with your waistline, below your ribs, and above the pelvic crests. Ensure the front end is right above your thigh and the rear section is slightly above the surface you’re sitting on.
  • Showering – Your physician should provide precautions and instructions for bathing. Generally, always dry your skin and the inner section of your brace thoroughly before you put it on again.
  • Skin Care – Always check the surface below the back brace daily for any signs of irritation. This can be attributed to accumulated skin bacteria or moisture, usually due to improper positioning.
  • Clothing – Always wear a well-fitting, dry, and clean cotton t-shirt before you put on the brace. Fold the excess fabric over your belly to get rid of fabric wrinkles.  
  • Skin products – Use alcohol wipes to reduce bacteria and wipes on the skin below the brace. Some powders are effective but don’t overuse them as they could worsen irritation. Water and mild soap are ideal, but avoid applying ointments, lotions, or oils under the brace.  
  • Rash – Try switching t-shirts more often if you notice some skin irritation or rashes. This could result from heat, sweat, fabric softeners, or laundry detergent.
  • Caring for your Brace – Clean your brace with water and mild soap and only put it on again if it’s thoroughly dry. You can also wipe it with rubbing alcohol to remove soap residue and bacteria. Finally, always check for signs of wear and schedule the necessary repairs.   

LSO and TLSO back braces for lower back pain are common recommendations to aid treatment and recovery from issues related to the spine. They’re available in different shapes and sizes, and what works for you may not work for another person. Therefore, discuss your condition or concerns with a physician to get the best remedy recommendation.

Get Medical-grade Back Braces From Brace Direct

man wearing a back brace walking with a woman through trees

Don’t let chronic back pains, strains, and sprains ruin the quality of your life. Get medical-grade back braces with unique stabilization features from Brace Direct.