Back injuries are often caused by car accidents, overexertion, falling, or simply bending down to pick something up. If you've injured your back and the pain hasn't subsided after a week or two, you might be wondering what to do next.
Fortunately, back injuries are common and easy to treat. A back brace can support your back so it can heal faster.
At this point you might be thinking, "don't back braces make your back weak?" "If I wear a back brace, will I become dependent on it?"
Nope – back braces are clinically proven to be an effective treatment method.
How Back Braces Work
The right back brace will hold your back up so your injured muscles don't have to work as hard while you stand, walk and bend over. Once the pressure is off those injured muscles, they can heal faster. Here's how the process works:
When you injure a muscle or group of muscles in your back, the muscles around the injury naturally tighten to prevent further damage.
This muscle‑guarding phenomenon can overwork the muscles surrounding the injury, leading to muscle spasm, fatigue and pain.
This video explains how this works:
A back brace helps relax overworked muscles, increase trunk stability, prevent muscle spasms, and allow injured muscles to heal.
The back brace is no longer needed once the overworked muscles have relaxed, the injured muscles have healed, and the pain is gone.
Fast Facts About Bracing
- 65% of patients given a brace to use in conjunction with physical therapy reported clinically significant pain relief.
- 88% of patients would recommend a back brace to a colleague.
- Patients who use back braces experience up to 93% increases in mobility levels.
- Physical therapy (PT) patients who received a low back brace were 4.7 times more likely to have a clinically significant improvement vs PT only group.
What About Muscle Atrophy?
The idea that back braces cause muscle breakdown is a common misconception. In the past 45 years of research, there has been no scientific evidence that lumbar bracing causes muscle atrophy.
Thirty-five studies were reviewed, two recent systematic reviews were done, and a meta-analysis was conducted concluding that there is no research supporting the common misbelief that bracing with a corset style lumbar brace leads to muscle atrophy.
Unlike casting an extremity where a joint is completely immobilized and atrophy is known to occur, spinal bracing does not immobilize the spine. By supporting these structures, the brace reduces muscle guarding, promoting dynamic contractions. Because the trunk muscles continue to work, there is no atrophy. The pain relief provided by the brace assists patients in becoming active again.
Current research shows that supporting the lower back can:
- Reduce pain
- Improve functional status
- Lower the need for medication
Bio-mechanical research indicates that back braces provide significant relief to patients by reducing excessive trunk muscle co-contraction, which prevents muscle fatigue and spasms while helping spine stability.
Back Braces for Pain Relief
We carry three pulley-system back braces that are ideal for back injuries.
The Low Back Lacer Brace
This is a basic brace that's best for minor injuries, as it relieves lower back pain caused by sitting for extended periods of time, overuse strains, and muscle fatigue.
The Dynamic High Profile Brace
This brace has a back panel that provides extra stability to the spine. It's better for injuries that need a higher level of support, like car accident trauma and falls.
Aspen Summit 456 TLSO
This back brace supports the spine from top to bottom. It's best for patients with more serious injuries like compression or burst fractures, kyphosis and fusions.
Innovative Tightening System
These back braces are designed with a pulley lace system, which allows you to get more compression than you would be able to by simply pulling the brace around yourself. It also lets you customize the compression level to your needs. The tab on the right side tightens the top of the brace and the tab on the left tightens the bottom.
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