Back pain and especially lower back pain has been found to affect a majority of the population at one time in their life causing debilitating discomfort and even demobilizing the sufferers. In some cases, the back and spinal injury resolves itself within a short time. In others there is need for specialized pain treatment which includes in most cases the use of back braces. These help in reducing the pain in the short term while also increasing mobility and accelerating the healing process. While there are different types and sizes of braces, they primarily work to support a healing spine and prevent further injury.
When the backbone is injured, the surrounding muscles go on a protective mode and work overtime to protect the injured part. This happens mostly when there is movement that affects the injured part. This muscle spasm is the pain one with a back injury experiences. Back braces help to alleviate this pain by supporting the injured part and thereby reducing or eliminating the muscle spasms. The brace also helps to support the core muscles during strengthening exercises that are very vital for a sturdy back.
Most back injuries can be treated using non-invasive means but even after surgery there may be need for a back brace as a means to speed up the healing. This works in a way that provides stability to the spinal column, reduces pressure and limits small movements to aid healing. In such instances, the duration the brace is worn depends on the patient needs although the brace is not worn immediately after the surgery but is introduced three weeks post surgery and can be worn for up to two months.
Back braces may also be worn to help treat vertebral compression fractures by reducing pressure and minimize movement of the affected area. Degenerative disc disease is another condition that benefits greatly from back braces so as to limit movement in addition to assisting to handle some of the weight that the affected discs carry. Flexible braces are also used to alleviate muscle strain and tension where muscle injury or weakness has been diagnosed. The brace then supports the spinal column in the same way the muscles do. This treatment is however very short term and should not exceed two to four days.
Ideally, a sedentary lifestyle is not healthy and it is a major cause of back problems amongst other complications. However, there are instances where one is required to be seated for long hours due to the nature of their work. In such instances a back brace is useful in maintain good posture which aligns the spine and relieves any tension the muscles may be under. The brace is designed in such a way as to pull the shoulders back while enhancing the natural curve of the spine and relieving tension on overworked muscles. It is also important to get up every so often so as to stretch not only the back muscles but the legs as well as to promote healthy blood flow.
How Long Can You Wear Back Braces?
The duration in a day that one wears a back brace is dependent upon the need. Posture braces are recommended to be worn for periods not exceeding 30 minutes in a day with significant results. This is because they are intended to correct posture issues and there may or may not be pain associated with the bad posture. The only time back braces should be worn for long periods of time is if there is pain whether acute or chronic in which case the brace will make daily activities more bearable. The important thing to remember is that the brace must be comfortable so if there is need to sleep in it, comfort is paramount and all efforts must be made to ensure that.
What Are the Benefits of Wearing Back Braces?
Clearly, the advantages of back braces are tremendous to the user; however, there are some myths that surround this crucial treatment option. There is the misconception that since the brace helps to prevent muscle spasm and hence increase painless mobility during the healing process that it results in the weakening of the supported muscles. The truth is that the core muscles that support the spine need to be strengthened whether one has an injury or not. It is important to continue exercising the core even when there is injury to the spine as this will speed up the healing process.
Another myth or misconception about the use of back braces is that the wearer gets addicted to wearing one and cannot do without one even after the healing process is complete. While this is not true, it is important to note that the brace is a temporary support that will help the injured part to heal. This then means that it should not be relied upon to do all the work that the muscles are meant to be doing otherwise it will indeed end up being an addiction.
Essentially, the back brace is meant to assist the wearer to be more mobile and continue with their regular activities with minimal to no pain at all until the healing process is complete. It is important to note that the brace is used as a complementary treatment to other avenues of treatment for back pain. A healthy lifestyle that incorporates exercises especially for the back and core muscles will limit the duration a brace is required to be worn. Additionally, it may actually prevent the incidence of back injury.