Pros and Cons of Back Support Belts
Almost 50 percent of people in the United States experience lower back pain every year, leading lower back pain to be one of the most common reasons that Americans visit their health care providers. Between the ages of 25 and 45 is the most common age bracket when people claim to experience lower back pain. Not only do people spend money treating their back pain, but it can also result in lost wages due to missing work and decreased productivity.
One method of treating back pain is using a back support belt. A back support belt is a type of belt that is worn around the lower back area in order to support the lumbar portion of the spine. Back support belts aim to reduce excessive forces on the spine, help to stiffen the spine, and increase abdominal pressure. But do they really help or is it all just a myth? Read on to learn some of the pros and cons of back support belt.
Pros of Using Back Support Belts
- Providing Back Support. People who wear back support belts claim that during periods of lower back pain, their back support belt provides extra support when switching between lying down, sitting, and standing.
- Limits Movement. If you've had a back injury, too much movement can limit your body's ability to heal. Back support belts, similar to a neck brace, limit movement and range of motion so that your body has a chance to heal properly.
- Reduces Pain. Some back support belts have heating elements, and some have massaging capabilities. Both heat and massaging back support belts can help to relieve back pain.
- Improves Posture. Back support belt users claim that when wearing their back support belt that they can more easily maintain a better posture with a straighter back instead of slouching over with a rounder back.
Cons of Using Back Support Belts
- The Research is Inconclusive. Research has NOT conclusively shown that back support belts are helpful in dealing with existing back pain or in preventing future injuries from happening.
- Skin Irritation. If your back support belt isn't fitting properly they can cause lesions, skin irritation, or rashes where they rub on your skin.
- False Sense of Safety. While back support belts can improve your posture and reduce pain, they don't eliminate the possibility of future injuries. You shouldn't lift more than you can safely handle simply because you're using a back support belt.
Back support belts can be helpful in certain circumstances, but they are not an end all be all to all lower back problems. Consult with your spine specialist to diagnose your back pain and for recommendations on proper treatment.