back braces

Back braces – a yes or a no?

Osteopaths and physiotherapists come across different conditions causing back pain every day. From serious disc injuries that can be hugely debilitating to milder muscular strains of postural origin. The common features that nowadays seem to be hugely responsible for the majority of back issues are sedentary lifestyle and desk bound jobs.

We don’t move enough and even though many educational projects that aim to increase the awareness of the general public on such issues have been developed, back pain still represents one of the biggest burden on our national health services.

Can physiotherapy and osteopathy help?

Can physiotherapy and osteopathy be an answer to this problem? Yes.

Does everybody who needs it have access to such services? Unfortunately the answer is no and this is why different types of solutions to back pain such as back braces and belts have become very popular.

There are various types of back braces and belts. A brace would usually be worn around your shoulders and upper back whereas a belt straps around your waist to protect your lower back area.

Their main function is to compress joints and muscles that are sore to give them the chance to heal whilst being tightly supported and this can prove very helpful immediately after an acute injury or strain. However, many people tend to keep wearing them for too many hours a day and too long after the acute phase of pain has passed and this inevitably leads to muscle weakness. Muscles and joints that are always supported don’t activate as they should and as every other muscle in the body they become smaller and weaker if not getting the right amount of exercise, predisposing towards further injuries.

So when is a brace or belt helpful?

– Short term after an acute disc injury (1/2 weeks)
– Short term after a bad muscle spasm (up to 1 week)
– In chronic pictures of pain worn for a short time (1 hour) at regular intervals (2/3 times a day)
– In the management of conditions such as osteoporosis which causes your bones to be more prone to fractures – worn only while performing potentially risky activities such as lifting heavy objects.

The use of braces or belts should never replace osteopathic and physiotherapy treatment or physical activity, yet they can complement it and be integrated within the treatment plan to maximise its effects.

If you would like to receive advice on back pain or find out more on how physiotherapy and osteopathy can help you, call our reception team on 02077356813 or send an enquiry to