It used to be thought that bed rest would help you recover from a bad back, but it’s now recognised that people who get out and about are likely to recover faster (http://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/bed-rest-for-back-pain-a-little-bit-will-do-you).
Back braces, also called back support belts, can be used to support your back and relieve pain while you remain active.
Back Braces for Pain Relief
‘Common back braces such as the ones found in pharmacies or sporting goods stores are designed to lock the spine into a somewhat stationary position’, says New York-based anesthesiologist Dr. Luis Fandos M.D.
This limits movement in your back, helping to counter the effects of bad posture, strain or overuse.
‘The constant lifting and setting of heavy objects require a lot of spinal support, and a brace definitely absorbs and redirects the worst of the pressure. The brace diverts the tension enough to prevent further injuries and allow the muscles and joints in the back to heal’.
Recovery from the pain or discomfort is expedited now that the back muscles are relaxed and there’s much less external pressure working against the spine.
‘Additionally, in bracing the lower back, some of the support is transferred to the wearer’s abdominal region. This transference of weight can lead to improved posture, as the brace almost forces the body upright’, he explains.
Factors To Consider
Well-designed braces should provide various degrees of compressive support and be comfortable. To find one, consider the following features:
• Dual straps – These offer stronger and firmer support at levels that single-strapped braces simply cannot match. Both straps may individually be tightened or loosened to suit your pain levels or current activity. With dual straps, pressure is more evenly distributed around the belt, making it better at staying in position as you go about your daily activities.
• Material – Most braces are made of neoprene (think wetsuits), which keeps the muscles warm and replicates the effect of heat therapy to prevent soreness or stiffness. Newer braces have panels made from breathable material to prevent sweat from building up.
• Reinforcements – Made of metal or plastic, these may be found in the side or back panels of some braces for additional support.
• Lumbar Pads – For even more compression and support, some braces come with one or two removable lumbar pads, which are also sold separately.
Top 3 Back Braces for Pain Relief
Each of our bodies are made up differently, so there’s not going to be a perfect brace for everyone.
However, when looking for the best back brace for lower back pain, it’s easier if you start with a list of those that have the features recommended to provide you with good support and comfort. So, here it is:
With over 3800 reviews and counting, the Mueller® Lumbar Brace with Removable Pad is hands-down the best back brace for lower back pain in the market, and is certainly worth checking out.
My Experience + Pros & Cons
As a pretty active person, I spend at least a couple of hours a week walking my dog, doing light exercises or just working in my yard or garage.
These activities constantly involve bending over, lifting objects or standing still for some time. Wearing my brace during those activities has helped tremendously with my posture, one of the main causes of my back problems.
The Mueller® Lumbar Back Brace with Removable Pad is produced by Mueller Sports Medicine, an international sports medicine company founded in 1959.
A pioneer and innovator in sports medicine technology, Mueller is endorsed by several international athletes (Rafael Nadal and Alex Morgan, to name a few). Needless to say, their products are of good quality.
The brace itself is really well-made and for the price I paid ($24), it feels like a real bargain. As expected, compression is very evenly distributed around the brace, making it comfortable enough to wear for a couple of hours. Unlike other braces, I’ve had no problems with this one irritating my skin.
One additional feature that I really like is that the brace is specifically designed to prevent rolling or bunching, which was a real problem with my previous braces.
The only thing you should note is that braces may be used during any activity that places your back at risk, but should be removed once this ‘at risk’ activity is over. This is to ensure that your back muscles do not become over-reliant on your brace. Otherwise, you may wind up with a greater risk of injury than before.
Well, thanks for reading, and I hope that you’ve found this information to be useful. If so, please give it a like or share it with some of your cool friends!