Using Your Jewett Spinal Orthosis (Brace) at Home
Your Jewett Hyperextension Spinal Orthosis helps control and support your spinal posture, helps reduce pain, prevents further injury and promotes healing. It will remind you to keep your back upright and straight. It is often prescribed for the treatment of compression fractures or fractures on the front side of the spine.
Wearing your Jewett
The Jewett brace will keep you from bending forward. It should be uncomfortable when you begin moving into positions you should avoid. You should be able to do many normal activities by yourself or with a little help from caregivers or special tools. Ask your doctor or Occupational Therapist for detailed guidelines.
Preparing for your trip home
Arrange for someone to drive you home. Bend at your hips and knees, but not your back when getting into and out of a car, sitting, or standing. To relieve pressure from the front pads when sitting, try leaning back over a firm pillow, towel, or blanket behind the back pad of your Jewett or sit in a reclining chair. Do not loosen the Jewett strap.
Taking off your Jewett
You must wear your Jewett as ordered by your doctor. To remove it, lie down and open the straps. While the Jewett is open or off, be careful not to twist or bend your back.
1. Log roll onto your right side.
2. Flip open latch on left side.
3. Roll to your back.
4. Open the keyhole latch on the right side and open brace like a book.
Have a helper slide the brace out from under you.
Putting on your Jewett
Always wear the Jewett orthosis over a clean, dry T-shirt. Put on your Jewett while lying down. Roll onto the back pad and strap without twisting or bending your back (you may need help from a caregiver). You may also have a helper slide the back pad under you while you are lying on your back. To close the straps, insert the right side "keyhole" shaped piece over the peg and pull to tighten (slip the bigger end of the hole over the peg, then pull to engage the smaller part of the hole). Then close the brace like a book over the front of your body "Flip the latch on the other side to make it snug. You do not have to adjust the strap each time. Close the strap snugly so the Jewett controls your back movement. Be sure the clear sliding pads are under the straps so the straps don’t dig into your sides. If the Jewett “rides up” or twists out of position, it is too loose. For the Jewett to support and protect your spine in the proper manner, it must be worn very tight.
If this method is difficult for you, try this:
1. Move to the side of your bed.
- Use your arms and legs to move your hips over, or
- Have a caregiver pull the sheet under you over to one side.
2. Roll to the opposite side of the bed almost onto your stomach.
- Bend both legs by sliding your heels toward your buttocks.
- Push with your heels and roll onto your side. Do not twist! Roll like a log.
3. Your caregiver should position the front half of the brace with you lying on your side. Make sure the upper pad is across your breastbone or sternum and the lower pad is across the front of your lower trunk or pubic bone.
4. Next, position the back of the brace around to your back or slide it under the side of your body.
5. Hold the pieces of your brace in place and log roll onto your back.
6. Attach the front and back pieces of the brace together.
- Pull the latch out and down into the attachment.
- Tighten the latch until the brace feels snug.
- Check to see that the brace is aligned before getting up. Adjust if needed.
If your doctor has told you to wear your Jewett at all times when standing or sitting, you can wear the Jewett in the shower or have sponge baths while lying on your bed without the brace. If you cannot wash and dry under pads of the Jewett while wearing it, you will need to lie on your bed and remove the Jewett for a short time. Be careful not to twist or bend your back while the Jewett is off. After your skin and the pads are all dry, put on a T-shirt and apply the Jewett snugly before sitting or standing. The Jewett may be worn with wet straps or you can dry the straps with a hair dryer set on low.
If your doctor allows you to shower without the Jewett, remove it just before starting the water and put it on again as soon as you dry off. While the Jewett is off, be careful not to twist or bend your back. This option is ONLY for patients who have their doctor’s permission.
Sleeping in the Jewett
Your doctor will tell you if you should wear your Jewett while sleeping or lying down. Your doctor may change these instructions during your course of treatment based on changes in your condition. If you are allowed to remove the Jewett while sleeping, be sure to put it on before you get up. If you need to go to the bathroom during the night, it may be easier to keep the brace on.
Cleaning the outside of your Jewett
Wipe off the outside with a damp or soapy cloth, and then dry. The straps can air dry while the Jewett is being worn. The hook fastener will hold best if all the lint is removed.
Cleaning the inside of your Jewett
When your Jewett is removed for your bath, wipe the inside with a damp cloth. If you prefer, you may also use a mild soap that you would use on your skin. Rinse the soap from the Jewett and dry the entire inside before you put it on again.
How long do I need to wear the Jewett?
Your doctor will decide how long you need to wear your Jewett. Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice, even if you feel better and would like to stop wearing it sooner. Your doctor will be checking your progress and will decide what is in your best long-term interest.
Things to Remember
Do not expect to be able to move in all directions or sit in all types of chairs. The brace is designed to limit certain motions and positions.
If you have redness in certain spots or around your brace, call your orthotist, the person who made or fit your brace. They can make changes to your brace so it will not rub. Redness over a large area of skin or pink skin is normal.
What should I do if my neurological symptoms get worse?
If you have more numbness, tingling, pain or are less able to move or do daily activities, call
Patients of the Neurosurgery Clinic: (608) 263-1410
Patients of the Orthopedic Rehabilitation Spine Clinic: (608) 265-3207
After hours, nights, weekends, and holidays, this will give you the paging operator. Ask for the resident on call for your clinic. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942 and ask for your clinic.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #6721.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/29/2013
Copyright © 05/29/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5394
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