The Best Shoulder Brace
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10 Best Shoulder Braces in 2023
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Shoulder Braces Buying Guide
So you've had shoulder pain and the doctor said it's a rotator cuff injury or tear? Or maybe your shoulder is simply arthritic, swollen with tendinitis, bursitis, has frozen up entirely, or was dislocated.
If you're looking for rotator cuff braces or shoulder immobilizers, there are many great options on the market today.
Depending on what you search for, there are a few different types of braces to consider.
We’ve compiled a guide, covering several factors for you to consider before you take the plunge to buy the best shoulder brace treatment for your needs.
Shoulder Pain and Injuries
If you experience pain in the shoulder region, a great healthcare treatment is to use a shoulder brace.
There are many different types of shoulder braces, and each works differently.
Shoulder braces are often used to treat rotator cuff tears, tendonitis, AC separations, bicipital tendonitis, labral tears, and shoulder instability.
The simplest way to get relief from shoulder pain is by wearing shoulder supports. It can reduce inflammation, relax muscles, improve range of motion, and relieve pressure on shoulder injuries.
Benefits of Shoulder Braces and Supports
For people who suffer from long-term pain or have undergone surgery, shoulder braces can help deal with the condition.
Shoulder braces can be worn during physical activity or work can help with pain and reduce joint damage in the long term.
Shoulder braces support and can restrict movement to allow the muscles and ligaments to heal.
It is important for people who suffer from a damaged rotator cuff to wear a shoulder brace when they are using their arm as this will cause further injury.
Always ensure you consult a healthcare professional to discuss your specific needs.
Features of Best Shoulder Braces and Supports
Types of Shoulder Braces and Supports
- Support - Shoulder braces are a medical device that provides greater support and stability for shoulder injuries than a shoulder sling. Shoulder stabilizers can also help to prevent future injuries and can provide relief for chronic pain.
- Mobility - Another great pain prevention is to use wraps. Although not as comfortable as a brace, they are more robust than a shoulder sling.
- Combat Ruptures - Shoulder braces are the best prevention against ruptures because they distribute some of the force across your shoulders, minimizing the risk of rupture (although not completely eliminate it).
- Compression - Braces that provide compression can be used during physical therapy and to help protect the shoulder while it is healing, allowing the muscles and bones to recover.
- Rotator Cuff Injury or Tear - If you tear your rotator cuff, you might need surgery as a last resort if it is severe enough. Shoulder braces will help keep your shoulders supported during recovery, preventing further damage.
It’s important to know the exact type of material used for shoulder braces so you can search for the right one for your ailment.
- Elastic or neoprene - A lightweight, breathable material that doesn't limit movement; most commonly used in underarm braces (for weightlifting and physical activities).
- Cotton/Polyester - A heavy, durable material that can rub against the skin if not fitted correctly; good for everyday shoulder braces that will be worn for long periods of time. Also, an option if you want a thermal or nonthermal brace.
Level of Support
Levels of support vary depending on the severity of your injury.
- Lightweight, flexible support - Provides freedom of movement while still maintaining some level of support.
- Medium level of support - This type of brace is good after the first week of injury because it provides enough support without limiting your range of motion.
- Heavy/Stable level of support - If you are looking for maximum support, this will be the type of brace that you need. It immobilizes your shoulder to gently stretch it.
Hot or Cold Therapy
After an injury or if you are suffering from pain in your shoulder(s), hot or cold therapy can be very helpful in reducing pain and inflammation.
Cold packs cause the blood vessels to constrict which reduces swelling and bleeding. However, heat packs cause the blood vessels to dilate so that they become larger than normal, allowing more blood to flow through them.
Both of these types of therapy help with pain management, but are used at different times so that there isn't any impact on your injury.
Some braces come with pockets where you can put packs in so that it provides cold or hot therapy throughout the day. Others provide elastic wraps with Velcro straps that allow you to put in gel packs.
Note, ice packs are not recommended for use over an extended period of time as they can reduce the temperature of the skin which can damage it.
Using hot packs is more efficient for treating injuries because they increase circulation, help with pain management, and induce relaxation.
Shoulder braces are made in many different sizes and should be chosen based on measurements of your arm length, the circumference of your wrist, and chest circumference. Alternatively, opt for a shoulder brace that is adjustable.
A simple neoprene strap is easily available for less than $10. If you are looking for a good quality shoulder brace at a mid-range price will set you back at around $40.
You should consider braces to be long-term investments in your health since they can decrease shoulder pain while allowing you to do the activities that are most important to you.
Shoulder Braces FAQ
Do shoulder braces help rotator cuff?
Shoulder braces are designed to help prevent injuries and help repair the damage that has already occurred to the shoulder.
They also serve to stabilize the joint for people who have injured their rotator cuff or damaged the ligaments in their shoulder.
A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that can tear or become strained from sports or other activities that involve repetitive overhead motion.
In order to prevent this, the surrounding tendons and tissues need to be strengthened through rehabilitation exercises.
Shoulder braces fall under one of two categories: immobilizers (non-movable) and stabilizers (movable).
Stabilizers are designed to provide support for the shoulder, but also allow some range of motion. Immobilizers prevent all movement of the shoulder.
Stabilizers are prescribed for those who have injured their rotator cuff or damaged the ligaments around their shoulder, or for those who are trying to protect a damaged area of their shoulder.
When should you wear a shoulder support brace?
Although shoulder supports are designed with the athlete/sports enthusiast in mind, they are also beneficial for others who work at office jobs because of how much time they spend on the computer.
Ideally, you should consider wearing shoulder braces during activities requiring some degree of movement, they should fit your shoulders snugly, but not be too tight.
Shoulder brace for dislocation?
Shoulder dislocation is an injury to the ball and socket joint of the shoulder in which the head of the humerus has become displaced from its normal position.
It's important that when a person sustains this injury, they seek immediate medical advice in order to reduce both pain and damage.
A shoulder brace is used to limit movement in patients who have sustained a shoulder injury.
Depending on the pain, some doctors may recommend a shoulder sling rather than a brace for shoulder dislocation as it provides minimal support.
Shoulder Braces Sources
- Evaluation of Shoulder-Stabilizing Braces – ResearchGate
- Rotator Cuff Tears: An Evidence-Based Approach – NCBI
- The Natural History of the Frozen Shoulder Syndrome – PubMed
- Shoulder Bursitis – John Hopkins Medicine
- Recent Advances in Shoulder Research – NCBI
- Cold and Compression in the Management of Musculoskeletal Injuries and Orthopedic Operative Procedures: A Narrative Review – NCBI
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