Back Braces And Back Pain

Recently I have discussed the stretches necessary for preventing lower back pain in the workplace as well as my top secrets for reducing pain upon the start of a lower back pain attack, but I am here today to answer the questions about lumbar braces. 

Many of my Physical Therapy patients in Jersey City and Elizabeth, NJ always ask me on their first visit “Should I buy a lumbar brace” or what can I buy, or “I saw this on an infomercial, it looks great, and I just bought it what do you think?” 

 
It's on TV and Brett Favre loves it!  It HAS to cure back pain, right??  Think again

It's on TV and Brett Favre loves it!  It HAS to cure back pain, right??  Think again

 

My first initial thought when posed this questions is “Gosh, I wish I was the one selling all of these products to people, making all kinds of money with little or no care about the outcome or result.  Man, I’d be rich!”.  But the reality is that I'm a Physical Therapist.  In Physical Therapy, we care about the outcomes of our work with our patients, and we make sure to put in the time necessary with our patients to make sure that they get the relief they want.  Buying products in an attempt to make up for the fact that you either sit to long at your desk or bend inappropriately when picking up your kids or while doing your job at work is not a solution.  I've said it a hundred times:  there is no one, magic solution for back pain.  No one product or pill will instantly make everything better.

Real cures come with skilled care and hard work.  The statistics for lower back pain show that what is effective initially is getting appropriate Physical Therapy consultation & care with regards to your lower back in the form of spinal manipulation and therapeutic exercise (specific exercise meant to improve the condition of your lower back).  In addition, Acupuncture provided by an Acupuncturist or someone certified in dry needling is an effective use of your hard earned dollar.  

Lumbar braces have their place in the event of a severe accident where the lower back is injured, perhaps as the result of a motor vehicle accident or a work injury or even coughing while bent forward at the toilet causing a slipped or herniated disc in the back (yes it does happen often!).  Those are times when it would be appropriate to use a back brace. 

But if you're looking for long term solutions, the answer has always remained the same.  Physical Therapy, staying active, keep stretching, monitor your own posture, join a yoga or Tai Chi program for healthy movement of your body.  And for goodness sake please stand every 30 min from your work station and stretch or move around!

Dr. James Pumarada is a licensed Physical Therapist with over 17+ years of experience.  He is the co-owner of Complete Physical Rehabilitation, a Physical Therapy practice based in Elizabeth and Jersey City, NJ.