The Benefits & Drawbacks of Back Braces

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 6, 2016

back brace

Although physical therapy and surgery generally do a better job of addressing the underlying cause of back pain, back braces are sometimes beneficial for managing and treating symptoms. Back braces are usually reserved for patients whose back pain is a result of a structural or mechanical issue, not because of a pinched nerve, strained muscle, or injured ligaments. Here’s a quick look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of back braces.

The Pros of Back Braces

Back braces a beneficial for numerous reasons. Here’s why a doctor may recommend a back brace for your spinal issue.

  1. It Limits Movement – Whether you need to have your spine stabilized after surgery or because movement causes pain after an acute injury like a herniated disc, a brace can help prevent painful shifting.
  2. Proper Posture – Back braces are designed to support a person’s frame and naturally guide their spine into the correct position.
  3. Deformity Prevention – If you have an abnormal curvature of your spine due to a condition like scoliosis or lordosis, a back brace can help prevent further damage. A brace likely will not reverse the condition, but it can help keep it from getting worse.
  4. Avoids Overstressing – The back brace is designed in part to limit the stress exerted on the spine, which helps you avoid re-injury while you’re waiting for your injury to fully heal.

The Cons of Back Braces

Back braces do have a few drawbacks that should be noted. Some common concerns with back braces include:

  1. Long Term Atrophy – If you need to wear a back brace for a long time, there’s a chance that the muscle groups that are supported by the brace can become weakened. You know how astronauts can lose muscle mass in space because their muscles aren’t tasked like they are on earth? A similar situation can take place if you are forced to wear a back brace for months.
  2. Shifted Stress – Hopefully the back brace is absorbing the stress that would be displaced on your spine, but sometimes it only shifts the stress to another area of your body. This can cause other muscle or ligament groups to become injured.
  3. Can Be Uncomfortable – Although manufacturers are doing a much better job of making comfortable back braces, odds are you’ll still find the device a little cumbersome during the first few days of bracing.

For more information on back braces, and to see if a back brace could help with your condition, speak to a spine specialist today!

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