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A back brace prescription should always come with an instruction guide from the doctor on how to use it and for how long. The instructions can include a range of information on putting on the brace and taking it off, fitting the brace along with cleaning and care options. It’s important to wear a back brace according to relevant instructions either come with it or as prescribed by your physician.
Most back braces are usually fitted to accommodate the patient’s body and needs for a particular condition. This means that wearing a back brace wrongly can worsen the pain or cause further injury. Those who suffer from lower back pain from different things like back sprains or strains, herniated disc and degenerative disc diseases always consider using support back braces.
Disc herniations, back strains or sprains and degenerative disc diseases are some of the most common causes of lower back pain. Once you ascertain through a proper diagnosis from a doctor that you are dealing with any of these conditions, then you can consider getting a back brace as a treatment option. Back braces are lightweight, easy to wear and take off and most of them offer instant pain relief.
How Back Braces Help
Generally, surgery and physical therapy work remarkably well when it comes to addressing underlying causes of lower back pains. However, back braces are better alternatives and sometimes quite beneficial in helping manage and treat the symptoms. Back braces are meant for patients dealing with back pains resulting from mechanical or structural issues and not because of injured ligaments, strained muscle od pinched nerve.
A back brace helps by providing the right amount of compression and support on the affected area to alleviate pain along with supporting the spine and muscles. It helps you maintain correct posture, which in turn, helps keep the pressure off the muscles, joints and spinal nerves to significantly reduce pain. Wearing a back brace also helps you go about your business without having to worry about adding more strain to the back especially when lifting and bending.
Save for exceptional lifting techniques, back braces also help speed up the recovery process in case of acute injury and prevent further injuries on the affected area. You might have to explore other treatment options for severe back problems.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to back braces. This is because just like any other treatment options, they also come with their fair share of limitations. Here are some of the common concerns:
For starters, back braces tend to cause spine weakness especially when you wear it excessively. In medical terms, this is known as long-term atrophy. Back braces usually work like crutches as they offer back support but you should not be overly dependent on it. This typically means that you can use a back brace as a long-term strategy to help manage your pain.
In some occasions, patients may experience increased pain when wearing a back brace. You know astronauts tend to lose some muscle mass when in space since their muscles don’t work as they normally would when on earth. You might experience the same when you wear a back brace for a long period.
Secondly, you can only wear a back brace for a limited amount of time depending on the severity of your condition. You might want to wear the brace for longer if you’re in a lot of pain but you can’t have it on the whole day as it can lead to development of other problems or worse, further injuries.
Since ligaments and muscles tend to weaken over time when using a back brace. In this case, the spine will become vulnerable when you don’t wear a back brace. This means that the spine would be more susceptible to further injury than it would have been if you hadn’t used the back brace in the first place. The only way to solve this problem is by wearing a back brace when it’s absolutely necessary and even so, limit the amount of time you have it on as much as possible.
Don’t wear a back brace if you experience pain when resting because it’ll become less beneficial. Plus, as earlier mentioned, overly relying on back braces can weaken postural muscles making the spine more susceptible to further injuries and that beats its purpose.
When wearing a back brace, there are some ligaments and muscles that will stop working owing to the support of the brace. This tends to weaken them since more demand is put on the brace. At some point, the back brace will fail to offer the necessary support and that will result in an injury.
In some cases, the back brace shifts the stress to a different part of the body instead of absorbing that particular stress that is displaced on the spine. This might result in injury of other ligament groups or muscles. In this scenario, the back brace will be causing further injuries as opposed to working to provide instant relief which is its intended purpose in the first place.
Wearing a Back Brace Can Sometimes be Uncomfortable
We have to give it to the manufacturers for trying to design super comfortable back braces thanks to technological advancements. However, you might still find that some back braces are slightly uncomfortable because they designed to offer firm support and compression to help alleviate pain. However, it takes some getting used to but the first few days of bracing will take a toll on you.
Sometimes its Less Beneficial
For instance, there are teenagers that wear back braces to prevent spinal curvature advancement when they have scoliosis. Few of those who choose not to use back braces don’t experience any problems and neither do their curves worsen. Then there are those that wear back braces for a few years without any success since they end up in the operation room for a back surgery.