lower back painIf you’re experiencing lower back pain, you may be considering a back brace. But does a back brace help lower back pain? Below, we look at the evidence.

A back brace is used to support and protect the lower half of your back. They are used to relieve lower back pain caused by torn ligaments and muscles strains resulting from over-exertion. They are also used to help with pain caused by chronic conditions of the lower spine such as sciatica, lower back sprain, and herniated and bulging discs.

 

Does a Back Brace Help Lower Back Pain?

How a Back Brace Can Help:

  • A back brace works by providing additional support for your spine and muscles. By bracing the lower back, some of the support is transferred to your abdominal region. This transference of weight maintains your body in the correct posture as the brace almost forces the body upright. A brace also keeps pressure off your spinal nerves so helping to ease your pain.

 

  • If can’t just stop all activities and rest while your lower back is painful, or if your job involves constantly lifting and moving heavy objects and you have a flare-up of back pain, then a back brace can be useful. A back brace takes a lot of pressure off your spine and absorbs and redirects the worst of the pressure on your back. This allows the muscles and joints in the back to heal.

 

  • You should only wear a back brace when you are suffering chronic pain or following a strain or back injury. Back braces work as a remedy, not as a method of preventing an injury. Claims that they can be used a preventative measure are unsubstantiated.

 

  • Make sure the back brace fits you. Choose one that you can comfortably wear for a few hours a day. There are different types of back braces that cater for different health conditions. You can choose a back brace yourself but it may be worthwhile to get advice from your doctor if you have a chronic back condition.

 

  • Sometimes, wearing a brace initially causes increased back pain. This may be you wore it too soon after an injury or flare-up of chronic pain. If this occurs, remove the back brace until the sensitivity reduces. If it is persistently uncomfortable or triggers further symptoms, you should stop wearing it.

 

  • Reduce your use of the back brace as your condition improves. Long-term usage can cause atrophy and weaken your back muscles. Extended use of a back brace can also reduce your range of movement. Don’t use a lumbar back brace for more than a few hours a day.

 

  • Don’t become reliant on the back brace for support. When lifting, wearing a back brace may make you feel overconfident and so lift more than you should. This leads to injury or making an existing injury worse.

  

There is some debate about the effectiveness of wearing a back brace. Given there are some disadvantages in wearing one, does a back brace help lower back pain? Well, it appears that if you use a brace in conjunction with other back pain remedies, it is a useful tool for lower back pain relief.

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