Back braces are becoming more and more popular. Some people use a back brace because they have sustained a back injury. Others may use the thing to improve their posture. Have you wondered which is the correct way to use this device? Better yet, what are the consequences of using a back brace?
We discussed the pros and cons of braces in one of our previous blogs: (https://www.capitalphysiotherapy.com.au/sports-physiotherapy-pros-cons-bracing-taping/)
Generally, a brace is used protect your body from injury or prevent further injury. Therefore, if you’ve sustained a back injury, a brace can potential reduce the amount of strain some activities may cause you. This would allow the injury heal. An example of this would be using a back brace after sustaining a back injury to go back to playing footy. You would still need to be mindful of some movements that you do, but the brace just might be enough to bring you back into the game.
Back braces can also be used as a preventative measure to add extra support during activities which you know can be risky for your back. Take weightlifters for example. Many weightlifters wear a back support when completing an extremely heavy deadlift.
The above examples are solid reasons to use a back brace. On the flip side, using this device with the intention of improving their posture is a bit more controversial. For example, if you work in front of a desk a lot, there is a good chance that your posture isn’t the greatest and your neck or back can get painful from sustained long sitting position. Using a back brace to correct your posture reduces the load which your body has to sustain in that position and allow you to work for a longer period of time.
However, by reducing the load which you back needs to take may also weaken your muscles. This would make you reliant on the device to reduce the load of prolonged sitting. Overtime, your body may progressively weaker to a point where the support of your back brace is not enough to reduce pain.
As physios, we highly recommend preventing back and neck related injuries through a solid, individualized preventative strengthening program rather than using a brace to alleviate the pain. If you have lingering issues with your back, it is a good idea to see a physiotherapist before it gets any worse.
At capital physiotherapy, we have excellent physiotherapists who have considerable experience with back related issues. We believe each individual injury is different and will set you up with a rehabilitation program tailored to your individual needs. If you are in the area around South Yarra, Footscray or Balwyn drop us an email at [email protected] and one of our physios get you started on a holistic back program.