A lower back brace or a lumbosacral orthosis (LSO) can be an effective part of a treatment plan for lower back pain. It may be prescribed to you by a professional like a doctor or a chiropractor, or a non-prescription one can be purchased over the counter. When wearing one, whether prescribed or not, it’s important to realize that back braces should be used according to instructions, and that they are not meant to be worn at all times.
How Do They Work?
A back brace works by supporting the lower part of your spine and keeping it from moving overly much. If you visit Toronto’s premier chiropractic clinic (Transform Chiropractic) they will get one fitted for you and make sure that it is the right size and style. Typically, they are designed to fit over from your shoulder blades to your tailbone with straps that are pulled to compress your core muscles to decrease the stress on your lower back. A professional will make sure that the LSO works the way it should and that you are getting the right support you need in order to reduce pain and lessen strain on your spine.
What Can it Be Used For?
There are a number of situations in which a back brace may be useful. Over the counter braces are good for when you need a little extra support, like if you are planning on doing some heavy lifting. This preventative measure helps to avoid injury and reduce strain on your back. In terms of relieving pain or helping with an existing condition, an LSO may be used to help treat the following:
- An acute sprain or strain
- Support for post-operation like a discectomy, fusion, laminectomy
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet syndrome
- Instability due to a chronic or traumatic condition
- Bulging or herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Fracture management
- Postural or deconditioned back pain
How It Helps
In the case of chronic conditions or an injury, muscles can go into overdrive mode around the spine by contracting in order to protect the soft tissues and inflamed or injured joints. These spasms are what cause a lot of the pain people experience, and the brace is used to negate that pain by supporting the muscles and allowing them to relax instead of spasm.
Braces are also great for maintaining proper posture and relieve extra weight off the spine, allowing for speedier healing in the event of an injury. They are also helpful when it comes to performing daily tasks not only for the pain relief but for the extra support they offer.
Things to Consider
As already mentioned, it’s important to consult with a professional when getting an LSO, especially if you need one for more serious conditions. The problem with relying on a brace too much is that overtime your back and core muscles will become weak and no longer able to properly support your body without the help of the brace. This is why it’s important to only use a brace as a supplement to a treatment plan that will usually include some form of physical therapy and/or exercise.