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Back Braces - A Complete Guide

What is one of the most challenging aspects when facing a medical condition? For many people not knowing the cause of a symptom is often very difficult to cope with. Unfortunately this is often the case in terms of back pain. This is the physical symptom of so many conditions that finding the root cause often takes a while. 

Luckily there are solutions that can bring relief and protect the body whether you know the cause of the problem or not. That’s what back braces are for: Back support for lower back pain can bring relief from certain symptoms, prevent these symptoms from ever happening or at least keep them from worsening.

Because they’re so effective back braces make up part of treatment methods in many situations:

  • A preventative measure against injuries in certain work conditions
  • Protective wear to prevent injury or help the body heal
  • Treatment for adverse health challenges

The benefit of back braces is that they are non-invasive tools to help treat or prevent physical problems. This can be the preferred treatment before other options are considered such as surgery, medication or physical therapy.

Let’s discuss this important medical device in detail.


Types of Back Support Brace Products

Because of their efficacy there is a large market for back braces. The brace you pick can fall into categories such as:

  • Flexible braces or corsets made of soft material
  • Rigid braces which include rigid panels for optimum support
  • Semi-rigid orthoses that are mixtures of the two types mentioned above

You can also pick between lumbar supports and full back braces. Your condition determines how much support you need and therefore which of these you’ll have to invest in. 


When Do You Need a Back Brace?

Back braces are effective tools to help with medical treatments but they’re also a great way of preventing injury. You can get an over the counter purchase or one as part of a doctor’s prescription.

 

Medical Conditions that Require Back Support

Your doctor may write a prescription for a specific back brace. As mentioned this can relate to a variety of situations such as:

  • Back problems
  • Treatment after back surgery
  • Pregnancies or after pregnancy to support the back
  • Trauma to the back or spine
  • Arthritis
  • Hernias including disc herniation
  • Complications relating to posture
  • Scoliosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lumbar disc bulge

 

A back brace can’t always ensure complete healing but it can slow down the deterioration. Therefore the more these devices are used the better.

 

In all these situations the back brace usually aids by limiting pain thanks to:

  • Creating a healthy environment for recovery
  • Better posture
  • Correct weight distribution
  • Tension relief
  • Improved function

 

The specific unit must align with the required treatment:

  • Your spine needs support: A back brace can help the body heal by creating a more suitable environment for healing. By taking some of the pressure off the back, an injured—or weak—spine will heal faster.
  • When minimal movement is preferred: After a medical procedure your back may need extensive healing. This will take long if it moves too much. However, it’s difficult to learn new habits. With certain back braces your movements are restricted to protect the spine and muscles, but also to remind you which movements can be damaging. You may not be able to bend forward easily so your back won’t be placed under that pressure for a while.
  • Special care for certain vertebrae: For optimum healing after a fracture you need to limit micro movements. A back brace can be very specific in its effects on your movements to limit unnecessary activity.
  • Assist to relieve tension: Apart from your spine your muscles may also need help. A back brace can carry some of the weight to relieve pain and tension. This is helpful after a variety of injuries doctors treat.

 

Environments Requiring Back Support Belts for Work

It’s not always necessary to get a prescription. According to a doctor’s advice or as a self help method you can use back support belts for:

  • Protecting your back during weight lifting
  • Treating back pain during or after pregnancy
  • Self treatment after whiplash injury
  • Providing support when your job requires you being on your feet all day, bending a lot or climbing on structures often
  • Giving your back support for heavy lifting at work

 

Basic Parts You’ll Find in Most Back Braces

Each back brace is unique but you’ll usually find these components:

  • Front panel: The front component is often also the two parts that fold over each other to close the brace after it’s wrapped around your body. This must be sturdy so pressure is applied to your abdomen.
  • Back panel: A back panel can be rigid or semi-rigid. The strength in this part is essential to provide support to muscles and the spine. The support can be provided by products such as plastic panels inserted into the fabric. If you need one after a spinal surgery your brace should have a gap in the spinal area to prevent any pressure directly on the wound. This could irritate the wound and prevent healing.
  • Wings: These are the parts wrapping around the sides of your body. These are the stretchable parts of the back brace. If needed they can also have supportive elements such as metal or plastic panels. These are inserted into the wings’ fabric. Occasionally one of the wings can also be the part of the brace which overlaps and fastens.
  • Adjustment features: For an optimum customized fit some braces have cords which you can pull to ensure a tight fit that provides more support.

 

4 Characteristics of a Quality Back Brace

As mentioned you can get an over the counter back brace. This means you won’t always have your doctor’s assistance to pick the best lower back brace for you. It’s important your back support belt helps your condition and doesn’t aggravate it. The listed characteristics will help you find the ideal option.

 

Can You Get a Perfect Fit?

When you wear a back brace its positioning is vital. If it doesn’t provide support in the correct areas, to the right muscles and vertebrae, it can cause more harm than do good. To ensure it will fit well you must look for these features:

  • A size that matches your waist
  • Fasteners with adjustable features
  • Handles with grips that make it easy to find the right fit and pull it tight around your body

 

If a brace doesn’t allow adjustment there’s little chance of you finding if effective.

 

Level of Support

There will never be one best back brace for lower back pain that works for everyone. Back braces for lower back pain differ from a back support belt for lifting. The brace’s features must match the user’s particular needs such as the level of support required to help with the condition.

This level of support is determined by the fabric and items the brace is constructed from. This can include:

  • Aluminum parts for ultimate support and strength.
  • Removable lumbar pads so you can customize the level of support the brace provides.

 

Comfort

Whether it’s a back brace for heavy lifting at work or lower back brace for recovery after injury, chances are you’ll be wearing it for extensive periods. This should be a device that improves your day, not one that makes it more painful or uncomfortable.

 

Comfort is therefore a vital aspect on your shopping priority list. This is determined by:

  • The fabric used which should be soft and smooth
  • There shouldn’t be any sharp parts poking into your skin
  • Breathable parts—such as mesh fabric—ensure that the wearer doesn’t feel overly hot

 

Most braces are only effective when worn for extensive periods. The benefit of a comfortable back brace is that you won’t be tempted to take if off too soon.

 

Maintenance

Looking after your lower back brace should be easy, otherwise it will be more a frustration than a benefit to your lifestyle. Ideally lower lumbar back brace support belts should be washable so they can always smells fresh.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Must You Wear Your Back Brace?

Timelines for wearing a back brace depends on your condition. If you wear a back brace for lifting work you’ll always have to wear it when busy with those tasks.

 

If you’re using a back brace for posture or health conditions, such as scoliosis, it will be temporary but for a long period to try and rectify the problem. Your condition is checked every four to six months to determine whether it’s still needed.

 

Do Back Braces Help Lower Back Pain?

What creates the back pain so many people live with? Often this pain comes from too much tension in the back muscles and the spine. When you find your best back support belt for lower back pain the device will provide support to the muscles. This minimizes the tension and therefore counters the pain. It may not always stop the pain completely but it can at least minimize it.

 

Where Can I Buy a Back Brace for Work?

Some braces can be purchased with a prescription. This type of medical back brace can be ordered by your doctor, purchased at a pharmacy or other medical experts such as orthopaedic centers.

 

If you know your back needs support for the type of work you do it may not be necessary to get a prescription. A simple back brace for work can be available as an over the counter product from:

  • Pharmacies
  • Large retail stores
  • Online shopping platforms

 

When you use a back brace for lifting at work or other applications it’s vital you keep to the directions provided by the manufacturer. In the absence of doctor’s advice this will ensure the lower back support belt will work as best as possible.

 

Should You Sleep With Your Back Brace?

A brace can still relieve tension and support your back when you’re lying down. However it should only be worn in bed if you feel comfortable with it on. Sometimes it can help to position a pillow underneath your body while wearing it.

 

Do You Wear a Back Brace Over or Under Your Clothes?

Ideally you should wear a shirt under your back brace. This can make it more comfortable and will prevent adverse sweating. Keep this in mind when you pick the size brace you purchase.

 

Can Back Braces for Lower Back Pain Help With Weight Loss?

It can help you exercise with less pain or difficulty, but simply wearing it won’t affect your weight.

 

What is the Best Back Brace for Heavy Lifting?

A back brace for heavy lifting is necessary in work such as construction and recreational environments such as body building when lifting weights. For practical reasons you need a brace that’s breathable as these movements can make you feel hot quite quickly.

 

Depending on your specific movements you can consider:

  • An industrial strength brace supports your muscles but also promotes the correct movements for lifting without injuring yourself.
  • A brace with suspenders is comfortable while relieving a lot of tension.
  • Women find corset braces comfortable for the female body.
  • For less strenuous exercise a compression brace allows much mobility while still providing support.

Conclusion

To get the best back brace for work, life or recovery you must match its characteristics with your unique needs. With the perfect fit you’ll experience what many happy back brace users enjoy: Less pain and more comfort. With the information above you can make that informed decision now. Click here for the best back brace support belt on the market!