Since many folks complain about chronic back pain, it should come as no surprise that they often resort to wearing a back brace for support. In fact, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center, between 60 and 80% of U.S. adults have low back pain, and back pain is the leading cause for disability in the country!
While most back pain comes from strained muscles due to improper lifting of heavy objects, poor posture, or sudden awkward bursts of movement, those aren’t the only reasons for back discomfort. Genetics and disease also play a part. For instance, Scoliosis and other spinal deformities often convince sufferers to purchase a back brace. Other reasons include arthritis, weak or underdeveloped spinal muscles, osteoporosis, and stress.
Back braces, a type of orthotic device, are designed to support, immobilize and treat muscles, joints, and skeletal problems, and it is not uncommon for a doctor to prescribe them. Back braces fall into two wide categories: the hard, rigid types and the soft, elastic versions. The rigid design is used to treat more serious conditions like scoliosis and these braces tend to restrict movement in patients by as much as 50%. The more common soft, elastic back brace is used to compress the abdominal cavity and the joints and muscles associated with that area. The compression helps to stabilize and support muscles and allows for forward motion of the spine. Many back brace users wear the device primarily during times of physical stress to help avoid injury.
Back brace benefits, as prescribed by your physician, may bring pain relief and promote healing, discomfort and weakness as well as help prevent future problems. Back braces may:
- Immobilize injured areas and assist in recovery
- Stabilize areas of weakness immediately after surgery
- Help lessen strain and pressure on the spine while heavy lifting
- Improve posture and elongate the spine
- Make transitional movements, such as sitting to standing, more comfortable
- Alleviate back pain
- Be used as non-invasive treatments as an alternative to surgery
Remember, if you believe you may benefit from a back brace, be sure to contact your physician or physical therapist for advice on the type and use that would most benefit you, and Aeroflow Healthcare to see if you qualify for a brace through insurance!