Back Braces And Lower Back Pain

 

 

Back Braces And Lower Back Pain

 

 

Back PainAn estimated 80% of all the population will suffer with back pain at least once in their life. For a lot of people, this is an ongoing, chronic ailment that interferes with their daily life. In this article we discuss what back braces are, how to use them correctly, and advise on the best back braces available.

There is not much worse than a stiff and painful back when you get out of bed in the morning, let alone having to struggle through a day at work. Sometimes you just have to 'get on with it'. For some people back braces and lower back pain go hand in hand as they try to go about their business, with some relief for back pain.

Back braces are a great way to provide some much needed support and stability to an aching back, but there are some definite downsides that you need to be aware of first if you are considering using one.

What Is A Back Brace?

41ll2nacJuLA back brace is a devise that is worn around the waist to give your lumbar spine some extra support. They also serve as a reminder to use proper body posture. They come in a range of designs and are made from a variety of materials, depending on the intended purpose. Back braces act like an external set of muscles to to give extra support your spine.

Soft braces are often made out of neoprene. They provide warmth and support that can help to relieve pain, reduce muscle spasms and help the healing process.

Rigid braces feature plastic or metal reinforcement to limit the movement of the spine. They are particularly effective in back pain prevention for people who need support during heavy lifting and handling, post-surgical rehabilitation, and after a serious injury such as a spinal fracture or broken bone.

Posture braces are specifically design to help correct poor posture. Posture braces lend support more to the upper back and shoulders. Others are designed to assist sitting posture.

Pregnancy braces sit lower down and support the sacrum, often giving a great deal of relief for expectant mums.

When To Use A Back Brace.

Back braces can be of benefit to people who suffer from lower back pain or injury. They can be used in the acute stage and for chronic back pain sufferers. As a general rule, patients with back pain should try to avoid activities that aggravate their condition and use correct body mechanics and lifting techniques. However, if this is unavoidable, say for example at work, back braces can provide extra stability and support to reduce the chance of aggravation.

'Often wearing a back brace can immediately and drastically reduce your level of back pain.'

The recommended usage for back braces depends on the severity of the underlying spinal condition, and the particular activities engaged in by the individual. It is important to be aware that there is a real risk of developing further problems when using a back brace for extended periods (more on this below).

Generally, only wear a back brace when you are doing activities that cause or aggravate your back pain. This might be gardening, hanging out washing, sports, or even your job. Back braces and lower back pain are common with people who have physical jobs, such as labourers, factory workers or truck drivers.

Again, you should only wear a brace when you are actually doing the task that causes you trouble. It might be when you are lifting, or in a bent over or twisted position for an extended time. If you are doing a heavy or strenuous task, you may want to tighten your brace, then loosen it again when doing lighter activities. Remove it all together when at home or on a lunch break.

Don't think that you can lift more or use your back incorrectly while you are wearing a brace either. This is just asking for trouble! Wearing a brace will not prevent further injury if you are pushing the limits, which is often how you can hurt yourself in the first place.

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When Not To Wear A Back Brace.

Your spine is supported and stabilised by your back, abdominal, and core muscles. Because back braces act as an external set of muscles, wearing one for long periods of time can actually weaken the real muscles. When you are wearing a brace, the spinal muscles don't need to work as much, so they relax slightly, creating weaker muscles over time. 

This potential weakening of the muscles is going to make your spine even more unstable, increasing your chance of further injury.

So it is highly recommended that you DON'T wear your back brace as much as possible. Only use them as a bit of extra support when you really need it. Take it off even if you only have a 10 minute break so as to allow your real muscles to stay active and strong.

If you do suffer from chronic back pain, you need to get a proper diagnosis as to the cause of your back pain. Back braces should only be used as a temporary support until the underlying condition is resolved. This goes for all supports really. Foot orthotics such as arch supports are another example of this.

Recommended Back Braces

The following back braces are Healthy Spines recommendations. They cover a range of budgets and are all good quality and highly reviewed.

1. Aspen Medical Grade Back Brace Quikdraw PRO

41ll2nacJuLThe QuikDraw Pro back brace by Aspen Medical Products is the next level in effective back pain relief. Proven effective in clinical practice and published research, the QuickDraw PRO (Pain Relief Orthosis) relieves or reduces low back pain for many without drugs Easy to take on and off and easy to tighten, the QuickDraw increases trunk stability, giving over taxed muscles the relief they need. If you need relief from serious back pain you want science, not hype. The QuikDrawTM PRO is the SOLUTION. Based on clinical research published in leading medical journals, the inelastic QuikDrawTM PRO, with its patented tightening system, has been proven to increase your trunk stability which reduces your pain. Elastic braces can't do this, so don't be fooled by spokespeople paid to promise you pain relief. It's your back and you owe yourself a medically proven product.

Buy here North America, UK/Europe.

2. ComfyMed Premium Quality Back Brace

71GIT2tvWPL._SX522_The Adjustable Back Brace with Lumbar Pad helps provide relief from injuries and strenuous activity to keep you active. Recommended to help relieve lower back pain from strains, sprains and muscle spasms.

Buy here North America.

3. ActiveBak Lower Back Brace

81NPGF1beBL._SL1500_The advanced double-adjustment mechanism provides flexible compression that moves with you while ensuring proper muscular and skeletal alignment. Reduces the strain on pain-generating structures like muscles, nerves, ligaments, and discs. Quickly relieves central backache and radiating/shooting pain. Unlike many belts, ours doesn't ride up or fold over-so you feel secure and supported during any activity, whether it's golf, moving around the house or rock climbing!

ActiveBak is simply the best fitness belt you'll find anywhere on the market today! The inner elastic boning acts like a corset to provide vital support and posture correction for your lower back during exercises such as squats or just lifting heavy items. At the same time, the Neoprene wrap provides a thermogenic effect that burns belly fat for that slimmer mid-section you've been striving for.

Buy here UK/Europe

4. Betterback Perfect Posture Support Belts

51usv7sRD7L._SX522_As seen on the Shark Tank, the BetterBack is a postural back brace for office workers and those that sit for long periods. It makes every chair ergonomic for one low cost and fits in a purse or backpack so you can take it anywhere. Provides relief for your painful back and body when you sit ergonomically, you can have perfect seated posture in 5 seconds flat.

Nothing to charge, download or sync. 100{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} tech-free. Fits up to 6’8” or 41” waist

Buy here North America.

Buy UK/Europe equivalent.

5. Comfort Posture Corrector Brace

Comfort Posture Corrector BraceThis comfortable posture brace is the most cost effective way to prevent slouching and long term pain that's associated with it. It's so comfortable you can wear it all day without realizing you even have it on. With straighter posture during all of your daily activities spinal pressure on your discs is relieved, reducing pain and in some cases inflammation due to bad posture.

The waist belt and shoulder straps are fully adjustable to give you an exact custom fit that molds to your body.

Buy here North America.

It is very important to have some knowledge regarding back braces and lower back pain. There is a real risk in over using a brace, and they can possibly make the underlying condition worse. By following the tips and advice provided here, you will be getting the most benefit out of your back brace, without creating more problems in the future. If you do suffer from chronic back pain, it is always advisable to learn more about your condition, and seek out professional advice.

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

Also, if you have found this article helpful, please share it so we can help even more people! Thankyou.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you for this useful tips about back braces, the types and how to use them. I have a colleague before who used to wear the back brace no. 3. She used to wear it at work for protection. Our work requires standing for long hours if we are assisting major surgical operations. The back brace has helped her in relieving back pains due to prolong standing. Does it also help to protect our backs from long hours of standing or does it tends to do the opposite if you wear it for more than 4 hours?

    • Hi Adel,

      A god back brace will definitely help your back when you are standing for long periods. But 4 hours is a long time to wear a brace and will lead to future problems. You really need an exercise program to strengthen and stabilise your spine to protect it in those situations. Check out our Total Back Pain Solution.

      Regards,

      Dr Brad

  2. Around six months ago, I severely broke my ankle. As I learn to walk again, I’m getting a bit of back pain due to the way my muscles are trying to compensate.
    Would one of these braces help, or would just trying to strengthen my core be enough?
    Great article. Thanks

    • Hi Andrew,

      In your case I would not recommend a back brace. If you are waling with even a slight limp, you will be creating mechanical stress on your spine, resulting in pain. As your ankle heals and your gait returns to normal, your back should be fine unless there are other underlying issues.

      Al the best,

      Dr Brad

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