There are certain questions that circulate in mind when one decides to make use of a belt that supports the lower back. Back belts have vast applications in providing care and treating spine related problems.
In addition to treating the pain, they act as an external stabiliser by providing support to the back, so choosing one specific belt may prove to be a difficult decision.
Let’s answer some questions about the good and bad aspects of back support belts, also known as lumbar support belts:
Are Back Belts Any Good in Preventing Injury?
The answer regarding this question is not simple. They do provide support to the lower back when it comes to heavy lifting or strenuous tasks. But they do not necessarily eliminate the risk factor. A lot of people around the world that use lumbar belt usually misunderstand the protection it provides. People usually lift a lot heavier than they wouldn’t normally do wearing the support belts. This altogether false sense of protection put them highly at the brink of an injury. This approach should be highly discouraged.
Are Back Belts Responsible for Weakening your Core Muscles?
During heavy lifting or tasks, support belts act as an external stabiliser in keeping your back firm. The risk of injury is reduced when the abdominal and core muscles act as an internal stabiliser on the other hand.
When spinal belts are worn the conservative way, that is tightened during strenuous activity, the risks of the belt weakening your core muscles are lower. Studies show that wearing back-belts actually reduce the activity of back muscles instead. There exists a possibility that long-term use of back-belts can affect lifting structures of the back, however, there’s still necessary research required to support this.
To combat this, it is recommended that you regularly engage in physical activity that helps maintain the strength of both core and back muscles.
Do Back Belts Contribute to Maintaining a Good Posture and Body Mechanics?
An answer exists in the form “It all depends on the belt”. Most belts available do not have any effect on lumbar motion or posture. Belts with the contoured lumbar insert are helpful in altering motion patterns that actually improve lower back postures and body mechanics. But those don’t help other parts of the body.
Physical stress can be transferred easily to the unsupported areas that may contribute to injury risk. So, other parts without the protection of the belt might not be as well protected as the back during strenuous activities.
Are Back Belts A Good Safety Reminder?
It is a good tool for increasing awareness for workers during lifting, simultaneously reducing the risky endeavours and mechanics. But there should be a practice of reminding the workers that lower back support doesn’t make them any stronger or enhance their lifting capabilities.
Injuries can be caused by workers’ false sense of security while using a support belt. Lifting heavier things with a sense of back protection through belt can be life–threatening. This puts them at greater risk of back injury. So, they shouldn’t try to lift things that their back wouldn’t allow them without a belt.
While they are a safety reminder, they only serve as a component of safe lifting. Injury can only be avoided by following sound ergonomic principles, body mechanics and most of all attempting only the tasks that are within your physical potential. Don’t go beyond your physical limits to put your or any else’s life at risk.
Ensure Proper Body Mechanics and Posture through Backrack ™ Back Support Belt
Guidelines for Using a Back Belt
- Always wear a back pain belt while ensuring proper body mechanics and posture.
- Try wearing your back support belt where necessary and make sure you don’t use it often. It should be tightened only during strenuous parts of an exercise or activity.
- Do not assume your belt as a way of increasing your lifting capabilities.
- Back belts should not be an alternative to a good physical condition. Back stays healthy maintaining good strength and flexibility.
- Ensure a proper size belt for yourself. Make sure it is comfortable and suited to your body and the tasks you want to perform while wearing it.
How Back Belts Can be Beneficial:
The supposed benefits of using back belts are:
- Act as a reducing agent of internal forces on the spine during strenuous tasks, reducing stress that is applied to the lower back, that has the potential to damage the lumbar spine.
- Increase abdominal pressure, which may counter the forces on the spine, helping with stability of the upper body.
- Support the spine by stiffening, which may decrease forces on the spine
- Restrict bending motions (range of motion), preventing excessive bending of the spine which may lead to injury
- Remind the wearer to practice a healthy posture of the body and lift properly, helping with long-term good posture practices
Other Factors to Take Into Consideration Regarding Support Belts
A lumbar support belt is a great tool to reduce some of the stress that is applied to your lower back while performing certain tasks. However, it is not a replacement for adequate treatment, and if you are inclined to believe that your spinal issues are caused by a serious problem or spinal condition, seek medical advice as soon as possible. Doing so can ensure that the exact cause of your pain and other symptoms is accurately determined and proper care is being provided for your specific needs.
Author: Spinal Backrack