Should I Wear a Back Brace?

By Kathryn Haynes, D.C.

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Back braces are often used during the healing process of common back disorders like the ones below:

– Back pain

– Sprain/strain injuries

– Disc issues

– Degeneration

– Fracture

– Sciatica

Back braces are used to support the muscles and/or the spine itself.  The back disorder, the health of the person, and the type of activity that person is trying to perform will determine if and which back brace is appropriate.

There are typically 2 types of back braces.  

Type 1: Back braces that support the spine and still allow motion of the spine.  This is the most commonly used back brace.

Type 2: Back braces that support the spine completely and do not allow for movement of the spine.  This type of brace is used less often and typically for severe fractures or after certain back surgeries.

When should someone use a back brace?

I believe that a back brace should be used when someone is recovering from an injury or is preparing to lift more than usual.

Back braces offer support to your back from injuries, disc issues, degeneration, etc…  The goal is to get your back to be strong enough to move your body throughout your activities of daily living, to include exercise and work without a back brace.

A back brace should be used more often during acute back disorders.  Then, as your body heals, the back brace could be worn less often.  Eventually, when your back is strong enough, the back brace is only used when your back gets tired or when you are going to be lifting more than usual.

Which back brace should you get?

Ideally an adjustable brace that allows you to adjust the amount of pressure would be most beneficial.  An adjustable back brace will allow you to use it for multiple back disorders.  The more severe, the more you would adjust the support and tension of the back brace.

Remember to always listen to your body.  If it feels too tight then it probably is.  The brace should offer relief and support to your back.  Adjust the brace as needed to fulfill these needs.

A great person to ask about back disorders and back braces is your chiropractor.  Your chiropractor should be able to let you know what back disorder you have, which brace is best for you and if your insurance will cover the cost.

“When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back!”