Do Back Braces Help Lower Back Pain?

Back BracesIf you’re experiencing chronic lower back pain, a back brace is a remedy you may want to consider. Whether you’re suffering from a more short-term injury, such as a torn ligament, or a long-term condition like scoliosis, a back brace is a useful tool for providing individuals with lower back pain relief.

What Is A Back Brace? What Does It Do?

A back brace is a device used to support and protect the lower half of the back. It is worn to reduce strain and stress on the joints, bones, and muscles in the lower back, particularly during daily physical activity.

A brace works by limiting mobility in the lower back and spine. By reducing the range of motion in the spine and back, the brace allows for increased stability, greater core support, faster healing, improved posture, and reduced overall pain.

What Conditions Can Be Improved By Back Braces?

Back braces may be used to relieve lower back pain caused by a number of health conditions. Generally, back braces are most effective at relieving acute back pain caused by a strain-related injury or relieving the chronic pain experienced by patients with a long-standing lower back condition.

The most common causes of lower back pain include torn ligaments and muscles strains resulting from over-exertion.

Some of the most common health conditions treated with back braces include:

When Should I NOT Use a Back Brace?

In evaluating the pros and cons of back braces, one will find that the benefits of braces generally outweigh the risks.

Patients may find that wearing a brace initially causes them to experience increased back pain. This may result from an individual applying a back brace too soon after experiencing an injury or chronic pain flare-up. If this is the case, it is advised that you remove the back brace until the region is less sensitive. If for whatever reason your back brace is persistently uncomfortable or results in increased symptomatology, you may want purchase a different back brace, or avoid wearing one altogether.

As your condition improves, it is generally advised that you reduce your usage of a back brace. Long-term usage of a back brace can lead to weakened muscles and reduced range of movement; as such, it is advised that back braces only be used during periods of chronic pain, and only when most useful.

In general, back braces are useful in reducing chronic lower back pain. Patients should simply use common sense when applying a brace and choose a device that can be comfortably worn for a few hours a day.

Can I Prevent Lower Back Pain with a Back Brace?

Though some individuals claim that a back brace can prevent back pain, this claim is mostly unsubstantiated. Generally, back braces work as a remedy, but not as an effective preventative measure. Individuals will generally be better served by stretching, exercising, and avoiding back-straining activities than by wearing a back brace in an attempt to prevent injury.

Individuals with chronic back conditions, however, may indeed notice a certain preventative benefit in wearing a brace, as it may reduce the number of days they suffer from back pain in a given month. Ultimately, however, a brace, cannot cure or protect an individual from any given source of back pain.

What Type of Back Brace Do I Need?

There are a number of different back braces, many of which cater to different health conditions. Though most individuals can select a back brace on their own, you may want to speak with your doctor if you’re considering a brace as a form of treatment for a chronic back condition.

Back braces come in two general varieties, rigid braces and soft/elastic braces. There are a number of more specific brace types in each category.

Rigid braces are generally for serious back conditions, or may be used after experiencing a serious injury, such as a spinal fracture or break. A firm lumbar support brace may be used for a short period of time after back surgery on the lumbar or spine as well as a treatment for some cases of scoliosis.

These braces are made from a firm material (generally plastic) and can limit nearly half of all spinal motion. These braces are usually advisable for short-term use only, as they are hot, heavy, and somewhat uncomfortable. Rigid braces can be used during daily activity, but often must be taken off when lying down.

Types of rigid back braces include the rigid lumbar back brace, also known as the Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis (TLSO), the Boston Brace, and the Milwaukee Brace, all of which are often used in treating scoliosis. The Williams Brace is ideal for treating spondylolysis, and the chair-back LSO back brace is recommended for those needing increased spinal stability.

Soft Braces, also known as corset braces or elastic braces, are more commonly used for less serious back conditions. One common soft back brace is the lumbar corset, which is often used by patients suffering from osteoarthritis, spinal conditions, or posture problems. These braces may also be used after spinal surgeries. Most soft back braces come in a corset form, though may vary slightly in shape, material, and coverage.

In Conclusion:

Back problems cannot be healed with a back brace; braces, however, can help reduce chronic lower back pain, and aid in recovering from a number of surgeries and health conditions.

Remember to use a back brace as just one of many tools in treating your back pain. Doctors advise limited bed rest when suffering from a back condition. By using painkillers, staying active, exercising, and re-building muscle strength, you can improve your overall back and spinal health, reducing your back pain symptoms. Apply ice and heat to regions of pain, and consider losing weight and quitting smoking, if either of these issues may be contributing to your condition. Additionally, relaxation and talk therapy may benefit you in reducing your overall perception of pain.

If a brace is used for back support in conjunction with other back pain remedies, it is likely to be highly beneficial. By using a back brace and following these tips, you’re guaranteed to reduce your lower back pain.

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  1. Pingback: Scoliosis Surgery: What You Need To Know | Back Pain Health Center

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