Back Brace

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Man wearing an upper back brace (posture brace)

Injuries Treatable With A Back Brace

A back brace or support (or splint) is a device that will help you with upper or lower back pain or with other injuries that can cause general back pain. The injuries that are treatable with a back splint include:

  1. Upper back pain due to poor posture or over stressed upper back muscles;
  2. Lower back pain due to overstressed lower back muscles or sprains or strains.This type of back pain frequently arises as a result of frequent lifting of heavy loads, especially when you do not follow proper technique.when lifting.
  3. General back pain due to other injuries like herniated discs,  pinched nerves as a result of herniated discs, spondylolesthesis or other problems.

Types Of Back Brace

Broadly speaking, there are three types of back brace – those for postural problems, those for lower back pain due to excessive stress on the lower (lumbar) spine and the surrounding muscles and a third category that employs targeted compression to address certain other types of back problems.

People sometimes refer to back braces for postural problems as posture braces. They are normally worn on the upper back. Another name for a back brace that provides support to the lumbar spine area is a “back belt“.  You wear this brace on the lower back (lumbar spine area).

Upper Back Braces (Posture Braces)

Upper back braces support your upper back and help you to maintain proper posture. They do this by encouraging you to adjust posture by straightening your shoulders and keeping your upper back straight. This in turn will help you to avoid or relieve pain in your lower back that may be due to improper curvature (inadequate lordosis) of your spine.

Lordosis usually refers to the normal curvature of your spine (although this term is sometimes used to mean excess curvature). Maintaining normal curvature reduces the load on your lower back due to the weight of your upper body. Many people fail to maintain proper lordosis by “hunching” their shoulders forward as they walk or sit. In particular, they have a tendency to do this after sitting for long periods.

A back support for the upper back can help you to keep your shoulders straight.  As a result, you will maintain proper posture that will reduce the risk of experiencing lower back pain due to the pressure of your upper body’s weight on the lower back. This is the reason that this type of back brace is also called a  “posture brace”.

Lower Back Braces (Back Belts)

As we mentioned earlier, you wear a lower back brace around your lumbar spine area. The thinking behind these back support braces is that they reduce forces on your spine and increase intra-abdominal pressure.

As we also mentioned, another term for this back splint is “back belt”. Other names for them are “lumbar support belts”  and “lumbar braces”. The main reason is this brace actually looks like a large belt and is usually worn just above your waist and over your lumbar spine area.

If your job requires you to frequently lift heavy objects as part of your daily activities, you should probably look into wearing a back belt. It can help you to keep your spine stable while lifting and thus avoid back injuries. However, you should nevertheless be careful to maintain proper lifting technique by bending your legs and keeping your spine straight while lifting. This will ensure that you are lifting the weight using your powerful leg muscles instead of your back.

In addition to wearing a back belt, you should also look into starting a course of physical therapy that will strengthen your lower back muscles. Your doctor can refer you to a physiotherapist for this purpose.

Targeted Compression Back Braces

The third category of back splints includes back supports that treat other causes of back pain such as herniated discs, spondylolesthesis (displaced vertebrae), degenerative disc disease and even osteoarthritis. The braces in this category operate by applying targeted compression to specific areas. Compression helps to improve blood circulation and accelerate the removal of waste materials that cause pain and inflammation. We can call this third category “targeted compression back braces“.

The targeted compression from these types of back splints differs from the compression that you get from back belts. Back belts apply compression to the entire lumbar spine region and do not target specific areas

In addition to compression, these back braces may include built in hot and cold packs that supplement the pain relief from compression. Hot & cold therapy can be particularly effective in treating causes of pain such as osteoarthritis.

It is important to understand that although these braces may be effective in treating back pain due to the conditions we have mentioned, they do not necessarily address the underlying problem. To do that, your physicians may need to use additional approaches up to and including possible surgical intervention.

Questions?

If you have questions about the various back brace models on this website, we would encourage you to contact our customer service personnel. They will only be too pleased to clarify any issues that may be causing you uncertainty.

However, if you have any questions about the back injuries that may be causing you pain, we would advise you to contact your healthcare advisor for professional medical advice. Please note that back pain can in certain situations be due to extremely serious medical conditions such as gall stones or even cancer. Therefore, you should always get medical professional help in identifying the cause of your back pain before deciding whether or not a back brace will help you.

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