Are Back Braces Worth It?
At My Chirocare, we frequently get asked questions about back braces. “Will they work?” “What do they do?” “Should I get one?”
The answer to all these questions is that it’s not so straightforward! To explain why, we need to understand how back braces function.
How Does A Back Brace Work?
A back brace is used to provide additional back support. Typically, it works by holding up the back, supporting the spine and back muscles. Back braces improve posture, relieve pain and reduce back strain.
Back braces are used by people with acute back pain, such as disc herniations (think conditions like slipped or ruptured disc) and degenerative disc diseases. In these cases, back braces reduce the pain experienced while bending, lifting and twisting. The structural support eases the pressure exerted on spinal nerves, which are already irritated by disc-related issues.
Back braces are typically only used for acute conditions and even then only for very short periods of time to reduce the risk of over-reliance.
I Have Back Pain—Should I Get A Back Brace?
Before making your decision, you should always consult your chiropractor to determine the root cause of your pain! Sometimes, there are better solutions to your issues, such as specific strengthening exercises.
Some of the disadvantages of wearing a back brace include its failure to target the underlying causes of your pain! When you rely on back braces too much, the postural muscles in your back become underused. As they weaken, your spine and joints become more prone to further injuries. Your condition may end up worsened!
Back braces should thus never be worn for too long. If you decide on a back brace, keep it on for a short period of time, and not so much that the body starts relying on it. Better yet, only wear a back brace with your chiropractor’s guidance. Back braces are merely assistive devices, not long-term and permanent solutions.
Back braces should only be worn with professional guidance and as an assistive device.
Specific (non-exhaustive) circumstances which may warrant a back brace include:
Pain that is sudden and strong (acute), but remove the back brace once it has passed
Chronic, long-term pain, in which a back brace should be used with proper professional guidance
At My Chirocare, we sometimes show our patients how to use a posture brace for specific rehabilitation exercises. In such cases, a back brace may enhance the benefits of the exercises and reduce the risk of injury—and is used sparingly.
What Should I Do Then?
Back, neck and postural issues are often indicators of deeper-rooted biomechanical dysfunction. Such dysfunction causes abnormal structural changes to our joints, nerves, muscles and other soft tissues—problems which back braces cannot directly resolve.
Biomechanical issues are usually best resolved through long-term conditioning and chiropractic treatment. For example, a common misconception is that rounded shoulders can be corrected over time by a brace. However, by relying on an upper back brace, the muscles that hold up the shoulders and neck are neglected, exacerbating the slouch. The most appropriate solution is to strengthen the muscles in the shoulders, neck and back, as well as consciously practice good posture. This approach actively trains, shapes and corrects the body’s faulty biomechanics, eliminating the need for a back brace (and saving money!).
Training and conditioning directly strengthen the back muscles, accelerating recovery.
Chiropractic treatment is the most comprehensive course of action for those with back and neck issues. Chiropractors help restore proper joint biomechanics and provide specific, tailored advice on physical rehabilitation and exercise. Your chiropractor can also advise you on the use of back or posture braces if needed.
If you would like to get your back or neck pain checked out, feel free to read more about them here and here! You may schedule an appointment with us by calling us at 62084669 or dropping us an email firstname.lastname@example.org!