Many of you who are suffering from lower back pain from things such as, disc herniations or degenerative disc disease consider the use of a back support. The first thing that you should ask yourself before considering wearing a back brace is if your back pain is in fact from either a disc injury or degenerative disc disease. Although disc injuries and degenerative disc disease are the most common causes of lower back pain, this can only be determined through a proper diagnosis by your chiropractor.
Once you are absolutely sure that you are suffering from a disc injury or have degenerative disc disease, you can then discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a back brace with your family chiropractor or other licensed health care provider to help you cope with your condition as using a back brace may help you recover faster and much easier, but it will not cure you.
How can a back brace help?
A back brace can help you by providing additional support for your spine and muscles. By keeping your body in the proper posture, it will help by keeping pressure off your spinal nerves and since this is the reason why you are experiencing pain, it can help ease your pain.
Using a back support can also help you go through your regular or daily activities without straining your back too much or causing yourself pain. If you bend or lift frequently or have recurring back pain that flares up with use, proper bending and lifting, and wearing a back brace can help you prevent back injury and lesson painful flare-ups. Along with good lifting technique and using a back brace to help support your back will help you avoid injury.
How often should you wear a back brace?
It depends on whether they are in pain and what activities you are doing. The more pain you have, the more frequently you will want to use a brace. However, the only time you should wear a brace for extended periods of time is if you are currently in pain. The pain can be acute (sudden strong onset), or chronic in which the back hurts most of the time. A back brace can help you get through the day, even if you aren’t lifting much. Fortunately, acute pain doesn’t last too long. Once you are in a lower level of pain (or, perhaps pain-free), you will be able to use the brace less often.
After the acute pain has passed, use the brace “as needed.” It should be used when you are going to ask a lot of your back. An “on-again, off again” approach will keep you from getting tired of wearing the brace.
Once you’re completely out of pain, the brace should only be worn with any bending or lifting activities.
Wearing a back brace can be a very important pain-prevention strategy for those with acute or chronic back pain. People without a past history of pain should also use a back brace to support their back during heavy exertion as a preventive measure.
Are there disadvantages to using a back brace?
Like any form of treatment, using a back brace does have its disadvantages. One of the disadvantages of using a back support is that it can bring about the weakness of your spine, if you wear it too excessively or rely on it too much. This can be easily avoidable if you do not rely on your back brace as a crutch.
Occasionally, patients say, it hurts more to wear a brace when they are in acute pain. If this happens to you, then the brace may not be for you at this time. Tell your family chiropractor or other licensed health care provider and don’t be afraid to try it again if he or she recommends it again once your at a different pain level.
If you want to wear a back brace, make sure to use it according to your family chiropractor’s or other licensed health care provider’s treatment plan. It would also be best if you try to develop and strengthen your spine through the proper low back exercises.
And don’t let a back brace fool you into a false sense of security and encourage you to lift with bad technique or lift more that usual. You must wear the brace and use proper lifting technique to achieve the greatest protection from injury.
Dr. Brandon Siegmund was born and raised outside of Fort Worth. After he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006, Dr. Siegmund performed clinical research at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Click Here To Read Full Bio