What Are Back Braces for Back Pain?
Table Of Contents of Back Braces for Back Pain
- Why Wear a Back Brace?
- The Benefits of Wearing a Back Brace
- What Are Some Types of Back Braces?
- Where Can You Buy a Back Brace?
Many people suffer from chronic pain in their upper and lower back. As such, it comes as no surprise that back braces for back pain are so important. In fact, the University of Maryland Medical Center estimates that between 60% and 80% of Americans wear these braces and that back pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the US.
When the lower (or lumbar) spine moves, it delays healing in post-operative fusions and fractures. To enhance the process at which bone heals in all types of back conditions, it is essential that you limit the movement of the spine. Doing so will also decrease lower back pain and any discomfort you might be feeling. This is where back braces for lumbar support come in.
In the same way, if you have a desk job, the chances are high that you will have to sit in your desk chair for long hours on end. This might prove to be uncomfortable – particularly for your back. In such a situation, you might need lumbar support braces to make work easier and more comfortable for you.
However, finding the right lumbar back brace support is easier said than done. This is because there are so many back braces out there that it might be difficult for you to choose the right one.
Before you do that, you should first understand the causes of back pain. While most of the pains in the back come from poor posture, sudden awkward movements, and lifting heavy objects improperly, these are not the only reasons why your back constantly feels uncomfortable.
Today, researchers and medics alike have discovered that disease and genetics also have a part to play. Spinal deformities such as scoliosis, for instance, will often compel you to start shopping for the right back braces for back pain. The other reasons why you may have to buy a brace includes stress, osteoporosis, underdeveloped or weak spinal muscles, and arthritis.
That said, the back is one of the most complicated segments of your body. This is because it is comprised of bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, and muscles. Since the interconnecting network is so vast, you can understand why the back is so highly susceptible to pain and injury.
Some of the other reasons why your back ligaments and muscles might become strained and cause back pain include:
- Awkward and abrupt movements
- Bending awkwardly
- Bending down for prolonged periods
- Carrying objects
- Driving for long distances without taking a break
- Lifting objects improperly
- Lifting objects that are too heavy for you
- Muscle tension
- Pulling objects
- Pushing objects
- Sitting in the hunched position for prolonged periods, such as while working
- Standing for prolonged periods
While strained ligaments and muscles might be more painful than you anticipated, the injuries arising from the above causes tend to heal in 1 to 3 weeks – or even after a couple of days. However, you might also develop severe back pain, which could be categorized as structural. Some of the causes of these structural forms of back pain include, but are not limited to:
- Abnormal spinal curvature
- Bulging disks
- Degeneration disc
- Ruptured disks
- Spinal Stenosis
These causes of structural back pain tend to be more severe than merely lifting something heavier than usual, and do not tend to heal on their own.
With back braces, however, you should be able to treat your back problems effectively. Still, you might do better to try and maintain a healthier lifestyle – such as working out to stretch and strengthen your core and back, improving your posture, and trying not to overwork yourself.
You might also want to talk to a therapist or doctor so that they can recommend exercises that are specific to your back problems. Before you start any exercise routine, visit a doctor and ask them if it is okay for you to proceed.
Over and above using back braces, other things you can do to improve the health, strength, and stability of your back include:
- Eating a balanced diet that is rich in protein, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium – nutrients that improve bone health
- Getting massages on a regular basis to soothe tight and tired muscles and reduce/manage pain
- Keeping your weight in balance with your body size because carrying too much weight around the midsection will stress your back and cause pain
- Placing a pillow between or under your knees when you sleep to relieve pressure on the back and hips
- Sleeping on as firm a mattress as you can manage
- Using insoles and orthotics to correct the alignment of your body
- Wearing high-quality shoes with plenty of support
- Working out and including resistance training, cardio, balance training, and flexibility to keep your spine healthy
Why Wear a Back Brace?
SHORT ANSWER: What is the purpose of a back brace?
- Relieve Pain
- Live Life Fully
- Intelligent Medical Technology
- Non-Invasive Treatment
- Keep Moving
IN-DEPTH ANSWER: Do back braces really help?
Whether you buy neoprene back braces or invest in a medical lumber back brace, it is imperative that you understand why you should wear one. There are many reasons – most of which are medically related – why people wear back braces. Similarly, these back braces help with a variety of conditions. In particular, wearing a back brace for your broken back will promote proper posture, reduce further risk of injury, promote recovery, and help to relieve the pain you are feeling.
Consider the following:
A) Relieve Pain
Almost everyone who has a problem with the alignment and structural integrity of their back can and may feel pain. You will also exacerbate this pain when certain positions and movements place a strain on the affected areas of your back.
With a proper back brace, you can deal with this pain because it will effectively limit your movements. This way, the affected area will have a higher chance of healing. Additionally, the back brace will alleviate some of the pain you are feeling by compressing your abdomen and unloading the vertebrae and intervertebral discs.
Another benefit that comes with wearing back braces is that it will reduce back pain, meaning that you may no longer need to continue taking the medication that was prescribed for your pain. Reducing your dependence on medications will save money while alleviating undesired side effects most of these drugs can come with.
B) Live Life Fully
Whether you get a universal surgical back brace or the best back brace for spondylolisthesis, it will help you live your life more fully. Most people buy these braces so that they are able to remain active and deal with the pain in their back.
Luckily, most back braces are so versatile that they will help you continue performing your daily physical activities less painfully, more comfortably, and much easier than you were able to without one. Therefore, you will have an easier time exercising, lifting, and even doing hard labor in your yard.
However, this will only be possible if you are able to look for braces that actually aim to correct concerns you are experiencing (i.e. high-quality lumbosacral support braces). The brace should have some basic features – including breathability, precise fit, easy care requirements, and sturdiness.
You may, therefore, want to talk to a licensed healthcare practitioner for professional guidance, particularly if your back condition is chronic. Similarly, try a couple of back braces first before you settle on the one that fits best.
Most spinal conditions will require that your back is immobilized for some time following surgery or traumatic injury. For instance, if you invest in a rigid back brace or back brace belt, it will immobilize your back and limit movement in and close to the site of injury. This way, the injured area will heal easier and faster.
If you do not immobilize the area with a proper back brace, you might end up causing further injury to the area as you go about your day to day life. Therefore, as you shop, look for a design that will effectively limit motions, such as flexing, extending, and rotating.
D) Intelligent Medical Technology
You should also check that the back brace you wish to buy comes with high-quality features. As far as possible, try to get a product that is versatile, comes with universal fit, steel support, and an adjustable strap. This way, it will be easier for you to secure the back brace and ensure that the fit is sturdy.
Alternatively, look for a back support brace that has an innovative design – such as a removable lumbar pad. This will provide better comfort and allow you to move as freely as you need or want to.
While looking for extra stability, get a back brace that comes with double compression technology and reinforcing struts. These are essential features that will prevent the brace from slipping and ensure that you get as much support as your back needs.
If the brace is for the pelvic area, get one with a soft pad on the back support as well as an adjustable tension strap (in a non-elastic fabric). This would be the ideal option, and a good choice would be a lumbar support belt.
E) Non-Invasive Treatment
If you are suffering from severe or chronic back pain, you may have to undergo such invasive treatments as nerve blocks and surgery to correct the problem. However, a better alternative would require that you wear the best back brace or an orthopedic lumbar support belt – although this will depend on your doctor’s prescription. This option is particularly appealing if you do not want to undergo surgery.
F) Keep Moving
There are so many different options – in terms of features, materials, and brands – of shoulder braces and lumbar supports that you might have a hard time finding the best one. However, as long as what you buy will keep you moving, then you can be sure that it is a better deal than bearing the same pain for years on end.
The Benefits of Wearing a Back Brace
Other benefits you stand to gain by wearing a rigid back brace for compression fracture or investing in surgical corsets for back pain include:
- Immobilize the injured areas of your back and help you recover faster
- Stabilize all weak areas immediately following surgery
- Lessening pressure and strain on your spine when you lift heavy objects
- Improving posture
- Elongating the spine
- Making it more comfortable for you to engage in such transitional movements as standing, sitting, and so on
- Alleviating back pain
If you think that you might benefit from wearing a back brace, take some time and look for the best back brace you can. You can also talk to a physical therapist or physician for medical advice on the best type of back brace and how it would be of benefit to you.
What Are Some Types of Back Braces? Part 1
SHORT ANSWER: What is the best back brace for work?
- Functional Back Supports for Lordosis
- Trochanteric Belts
- Lumbosacral and Sacroiliac Belts
- Rigid Braces
- Elastic Braces
IN-DEPTH ANSWER: Do back braces really work?
From back brace support belts to universal waist back support belts, there are so many different types of back braces that finding the right one can prove to be something of a challenge.
Designed as orthotic devices, back braces are effective at treating, immobilizing, and supporting joints, muscles, and skeletal problems. As such, it is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe these products.
Most of these back brace belts can be used to deal with different kinds of back alignment problems – including vertebral compression fractures, scoliosis, and fast recovery from surgery.
Whatever the case, you can be sure that irrespective of the type of back brace you invest in, it will help treat the back pain you are experiencing – ranging from acute pain to chronic back pain.
These braces will also help to correct any deformity by straightening the curves in your spine while others will provide support to the bones and muscles of the spine and – in the process – help them heal faster and reduce further injury.
A) Functional Back Supports for Lordosis
These lumbar supports and back braces are comfortable, light, and flat. They are designed in such a way that they will deliver control over the lower back and help you correctly balance your activity and stability. They may even restrict rotational movements and ensure that your spine has maximum support.
B) Trochanteric Belts
Trochanteric belts are usually prescribed by doctors for pelvic fractures and sacroiliac joint pain. The belt will fit perfectly around the pelvis – right between the trochanter (the bony portion right below the thigh bone’s neck) and the pelvis (iliac) crests and ridges. They buckle in front - much in the same way as a regular belt – and are between 5 and 8 centimeters wide.
C) Lumbosacral and Sacroiliac Belts
Lumbosacral belts are designed to stabilize the lower back. They are typically made of heavy cotton that is reinforced using lightweight stays. You can also adjust the pressure on the back braces by tightening or loosening the laces on the back or side of the belt.
Sacroiliac belts will prevent motion by compressing the joints between the sacrum (at the base of your spine) and your hipbone.
What Are Some Types of Back Braces? Part 2
Apart from the above, there are other types of back braces – which are full length in design. These back braces fall into 2 broad categories: the soft and elastic versions and the rigid and hard types.
Rigid full body back support braces are effective in treating such serious conditions as scoliosis. They work by restricting movement by as much as 50%.
However, most common braces are full length back braces. They come with a soft and elastic backing designed to compress the muscles, joints, and abdominal cavity around the area that you were hurt. The compression will support and stabilize muscle and allow your spine to move forward.
Full back support belts, on the other hand, will provide full support to your upper and lower back. They are designed in such a way that you can wrap them tightly around your lower back and attach them to the front so that your lower back is fully secured.
The full-length back brace also comes with shoulder straps. You can use these straps to pull yourself into the right posture and – in the process – help to realign your spine so that you have an easier time recovering.
Most full body back support braces also come with crisscross straps that are designed to shape your body into the neutral position. In the process, they will protect you from back and shoulder pain. However, you can also wear the full back brace under or over your clothing – all you have to do is first measure your waistband so that you have the right full back support brace to provide you with the perfect amount of support needed to speed up your healing and recovery.
What Are Some Types of Back Braces? Part 3
From corset style back braces to hardback braces, there are other types of back braces for back pain. Consider the following:
Rigid braces, such as flex support back braces and the hardback varieties are form fitting. In most cases, they are made of plastic to ensure that you have a proper fit and that your spine’s range of motion is limited by approximately 50%.
These rigid lace up back braces are effective because they will treat fractures and broken bones. You can also use them following your fusion strategy to speed up the rate at which your back heals. However, since most of these therapeutic back braces are heavy (and hot) and tend to get uncomfortable, you should only wear them when you are up and remove them when you have to lie down.
There are also elastic braces, including but not limited to waist support bands, softback braces, back brace vests, and lumbar support straps – among others. These elastic braces are effective at limiting spinal motion, particularly after lumbar fusion.
The brace will also limit your back’s motion as the fusion tries to set up by ensuring that you cannot bend forward. In the process, your bones will start growing better due to the limited motion. If no device or instrumentation has been used to aid your stability, the brace may prove helpful in making your fusion solid.
If your job involves heavy lifting, you might also want to wear a corset brace. It will limit your motion and act as a reminder to ensure that you are in the right posture whenever you have to lift something heavy.
Where Can You Buy a Back Brace?
At this point, you are probably asking yourself “where can I buy a back brace?” Even as you look for information on where to purchase back braces, you should first consider the main factors to help you buy back braces that will prove useful over the long haul.
To this end, some of the factors you should keep in mind as you look for more information on where to buy a back brace include:
- The quality of the materials used
- The durability of the back brace
- The construction of the brace
- The types of inserts used
- How adjustable the back brace is
- The padding and how comfortable it feels
- The size of the brace, to ensure it fits perfectly
- The type of brace and whether it is geared toward the problem you are experiencing
Whether you have a herniated or degenerative disc condition, you suffer from arthritis, or you pulled a muscle while on the job or working out, it is essential that you know where can you buy a back brace.
Our recommendation would be that you check out some of the products we have here at Zero Compression. We have a variety of back braces to help your condition. Since we focus on helping people overcome their back pain problems, you can be sure that we have some of the best solutions for back pain that you will find on the market today.
While shopping with us, we also advise that you choose the right style and design. Think about the main activities you are likely to engage in on a day to day basis. For instance, if you work in an office, it is highly likely that you are always tilted up against your office desk looking at a screen. This means that your posture might be off.
On the other hand, if you work in a lumber yard, you will probably be required to lift heavy objects from time to time – ranging in size and weight from heavy branches and tree trunks to pieces of equipment and machinery.
You should also consider whether the back braces for back pain you intend to buy are designed for work, for your hobbies, or to help your recovery from a serious injury or severe strain and stress. In these situations, it would be better if you talked to your doctor or to us for a recommendation.
Of course, irrespective of the type of back braces you choose, always ensure that the design is as comfortable as possible and that the materials used to make it are not harsh on your skin. Instead, look for something that is breathable so that you do not feel too hot while wearing it.
Overall, finding the right back braces for back pain should not be too hard. As long as you know where to go for the back braces, what you intend to use it for, and how long you might have to wear it, you should soon have a good brace to hold onto until your back gets better, stronger, and better able to deal with heavy lifting, turning, and moving.