September 2

Using a Back Brace: Benefits & Misconceptions

Posture

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When selecting a brace, it is important to find a back brace that fits you well, is comfortable, Feels supportive, and perhaps gives you some pain relief, as there are many types of back braces on sale in the market today.

Good quality, bad quality, expensive ones, inexpensive ones, and braces for different parts of the back, (mid-spine and lower lumbar spine, and the tailbone or sacrum.)

There are also many different braces designs, materials such as elastic, soft plastic, hard plastic metal, Velcro, and laces are been used in its production.

Conditions That Calls For a Back Brace

  • Sprain /strain( acute)
  • Post-operative support: discectomy, fusion, laminectomy
  • Facet Syndrome
  • Instability: chronic or traumatic
  • Bulging or herniated disc
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Fracture management
  • Deconditioned or postural back pain
  • Degenerative Disc Disease

Benefits of Using a Back Brace

Most back braces today usually have a compression strap that pulls the back brace snugly around a person using it. When these straps are pulled, this causes a compression of the core musculature leading to an overall reduction in the volume of the intra-abdominal soft tissue. It is this reduction in the volume of soft tissue that acts as a stabilizer directly surrounding the spine.

Many back ailments end up in a revolving circle of inflammation and muscle spasm due to an acute injury or a chronic condition that flare up.  Though the causes of back pain differ, and the reason been that the anatomy and function demanded of our spinal column.

When there is back pain, the reaction of the spinal musculature is to contract into involuntary spasm or voluntary contraction of the muscles to guard the injured or inflamed joint or soft tissue structures.

The muscles usually go into an overdrive with intentions of protecting the spine, resulting in a vicious circle of pain and spasm. There are a lot of ways to break into that vicious circle with the aid of medication, physiotherapy (including ice, heat, modalities, stretching, strengthening, manual therapy etc.,)  and an external stabilizer (a back brace.)

Back brace allows the core muscles that support the spine to relax and not always be in an overdrive protection mode. When this occurs you are able to get up from sitting or lying down and move around more than you would with a back in spasm.

The other important advantage that a back brace provides is of proprioception. Proprioception is the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.

In humans, these stimuli are detected by nerves within the body itself, as well as by the semicircular canals of the inner ear. The back brace gives external proprioception to the person wearing the brace allowing them to move, sit, and maintain a better posture while recuperating from their injury.

Misconceptions on Back Brace

Weakens Muscles

We usually hear this often, that wearing a back brace will mostly result in weakness if you put the back brace on and lie down doing nothing for long periods of time. In fact, to be put quite simply,  putting a back brace on allows you to be up walking for longer periods, doing activities that you would not be able to do otherwise, and it is a positive move towards recovery.

The one thing that is very important when using/wearing a back brace is that you follow the exercise program for strengthening and stretching given to you by your Health Care Practitioner.  Keeping the core musculature that supports the spine strong and flexible is important whether your back is injured or not injured. The Exercise program becomes vital when wearing a back brace.

Rely on the Back Brace Forever

Once again this myth comes back to the importance of maintaining your core musculature by having and maintaining an exercise program. If you wear a back brace and allow it to do all the work all of the time, then you are asking for trouble.

Note: Professionally fit back braces provides a safe and non-invasive for treating a current back injury or in preventing a chronic condition from intensifying.   Expert guidance by a healthcare practitioner is advisable for your specific back condition with regards to the amount of time-worn, exercises etc.

There are a lot of back braces to choose from, make sure to choose carefully and look for good quality. Wearing the back brace can assist in healing, reducing the chance of further injury, support weakened muscles, aid in controlling pain, and promotes good posture. Back braces will not cure you but will help on so many levels. Try several on and Don’t overuse it but also don’t underuse it.


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