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What is a Shoulder Brace?

By Troy Holmes
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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A shoulder brace is a device designed to assist the shoulder by supporting the muscles and rotator cuff area through load sharing from the chest area opposite of the injured shoulder. This brace typically consists of elastic straps that support the injured shoulder by wrapping the arm and chest area, thereby leveraging support on the injured shoulder throughout the upper body. The shoulder brace is a tool used for preventing future dislocations in the shoulders.

When an individual suffers shoulder injury due to dislocation or shoulder impingement, a shoulder brace can be used for supporting the shoulder socket area, which can reduce some discomfort. This brace securely compresses the shoulder area, which adds support. When a individual strains the shoulder area, the shoulder brace is a beneficial tool for providing rest and support to the injured area, which will allow sufficient time for healing.

Shoulder injuries are a common problem with athletes and older individuals. These injuries range from simple strains to complex dislocations and torn ligaments. The shoulder brace can help prevent further injury, such as any additional strain on an injured ligament that could lead to a full tear. Shoulder tears typically require surgery.

A common side effect of injury to the shoulder area is frozen shoulder syndrome. This happens when an individual injures the shoulder area and the pain is mitigated by reducing the usage of the shoulder in general. Frozen shoulder syndrome occurs when scar tissue develops around the injured area, which may require surgery for repair. While wearing a shoulder brace through rehabilitation, it is important to continue daily shoulder exercises and not allow the area to become frozen.

Treatments for shoulder injury range from therapy to surgery, depending on the complexity of the issue. Before selecting a treatment it is critical to first determine the cause of the problem. This can be done by seeking medical advice, which will include a medical exam and in some cases require a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test, to determine the underlying problem within the shoulder ligaments.

The shoulder brace is a temporary solution, as it attempts to keep the muscle from developing additional strains that aggravate the earlier injury. This brace should be considered a device to assist in the management of pain as well as support for the shoulder muscle area in general. Typically this device is used for less complex injuries that do not require surgical intervention.

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Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Sep 21, 2014

I was a little skeptical about the benefit of a shoulder brace after injury but it truly makes a difference. It's a little tight but that's how it keeps everything together and reduces too much movement. This is necessary for healing to take place.

By turquoise — On Sep 20, 2014

@SteamLouis-- Are you using one that's adjustable? You should be able to adjust the tightness and position of the strap to some degree. You should also wear a thin sleeveless shirt underneath to prevent any chafing or discomfort from the brace.

If despite these changes, the brace is still not working for you, then I think you just have a bad product in your hands.

By SteamLouis — On Sep 20, 2014

The main issue with shoulder braces seems to be comfort. Most shoulder braces, or at least the ones I have seen, hold the arm and shoulder piece in place with a strap. This strap goes around underneath the other arm. The strap is often too comfortable and too tight.

I have a bad shoulder and I'm looking for a brace that will give me the support without causing too much discomfort or limiting movements too much. I've yet to find one.

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