I believe that braces and supports have a role to play in recovery from low back pain and preventing its recurrence.
For those with low back problems, there are two major types of supports that could be useful.
One type cinches you tightly around the waist, sucking in your abdominal wall, and supplementing the role of your deeper-lying abdominal muscles in supporting the lumbar spine. Here’s an example of a simple version. There are many other variations available too.
This type of brace is usually called a lumbar brace, lumbar support, or a lumbosacral brace. You might benefit from this type of brace if you have problems with the intervertebral discs, or, more generally, if you have midline low back pain, or sciatic pain spreading down the leg into the calf or foot.
The other type is usually called a sacroiliac belt or trochanter belt. It’s thinner, and you wear it lower down, around the widest parts of your hips. Here’s an example:
You might benefit from this type of support if you have sacroiliac pain, buttock pain, or pain in the region of the trochanter (the outer part of the thigh bone (usually called the “hip bone.”)
Some physicians steer away from the use of supports because they fear that using them will substitute for the patient’s own muscle activation, and in the long run lead to muscle weakness. I don’t think that’s often a problem. First of all, the use of the brace doesn’t stop you from using your own muscles. And also, you don’t necessarily have to wear the brace 24 hours a day. If you wear a lumbosacral support for 6 hours a day, for instance, you’ve just spared your lumbar discs from 6 hours of wear and tear. That will help in your recovery.
If you think one of these supports will help you, there’s probably little risk in trying one of them out and assessing the benefit for yourself. But to find the optimal approach to your own self-care, you’ll need your musculoskeletal system fully evaluated. That’s my job – call or e-mail me for an appointment.