Back Pain Belts

Back Pain Belts: The Truth or Fiction?

What You Should Know About Back Pain Belts

Why There’s Not Just One Solution for Back Pain

If you’re looking for a single cure for back pain, you’re probably not going to find it. Since back pain is caused from many different things – structural defects in the vertebrae or joints of the spine, herniated discs, compressed nerves, muscle imbalances and trigger points, or trauma to the spine, it’s senseless to put all your hope in one thing to eliminate your back pain.

Those who find back pain relief usually approach the situation from many different angles, either with or without their doctor. People who have successfully beat back pain look for a comprehensive strategy, and don’t have a “one cure fits all” type of thinking.

Who Beats Back Pain and Why

Here is a list of what people have done to successfully beat back pain:

• They get a proper diagnosis.
• They follow recommendations from their doctor.
• They get a second opinion and try new recommendations.
• They are open to solutions that are new such as laser treatment, new types of surgical procedures, or the latest decompression treatments from the chiropractor.
• They are open to solutions such as inversion therapy, nutrition to heal the body from within, and even acupuncture or other forms of alternative treatment.
• They take action on their own to correct posture abnormalities, update their chair and mattress, begin a program of exercise to balance muscle imbalances, and visit a bodyworker who can help them remove their trigger points.

The Big Controversy about Back Pain Belts

You can see from the above list that deciding to do something such as purchasing a back pain belt is such a small part of the big picture of healing back pain, that it doesn’t have much chance of success when used alone.

In fact, one study in 2000 by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found no difference between those who wore back belts daily compared to those who never wore a back pain belt. The study focused on workers with back pain.

This makes sense since researchers did not evaluate what else was being done for these workers. Did they assume that by isolating one little factor such as whether or not a back pain belt was worn would be good enough to eliminate back pain?

This study is a perfect example of how studies really don’t do justice to different treatment protocols in health. Each patient is totally different and has specific needs that must be addressed for healing to begin. If the patient wears a back pain belt but still has trigger points and muscle imbalances, then what is the point of the back pain belt?

Why Wear Back Pain Belts?

Back pain belt wearers report that these wide elastic belts can help pull in the paraspinal muscles and give them some support. But isn’t this just a crutch? Why not truly give the muscles support by creating an effective exercise program for back pain? Physical therapists are very successful at setting up these types of programs.

If you are considering wearing a back pain belt for support, its important to know that despite what the research reports, many people do feel a difference in their levels of back pain when they wear the devices. But again, we don’t know what else that person was doing for the control of back pain. At the very least, the back belt will remind you that your back is hurting and prevent you from doing additional awkward movements that may exacerbated the pain.

With this in mind, it’s important to realize that your back does have built-in support – it’s your paraspinal muscles and your abdominal muscles. When you build up these areas of your body with weights and resistance exercise, you feel structurally sound. That’s because now these muscles can contract and rest as they should. The muscles won’t stay in a state of overactivity that leads to back pain when they’re strengthened by exercise.