Skip to content

Are Back Braces Really Of Value In Preventing Injury To Your Back?

Many individuals work in careers that require them to lift heavy items regularly. Construction workers as well as baggage handlers, for example, are utilizing the assistance of a back brace/belt with the opinion that doing so will reduce the frequency of back injuries. As a matter of fact, numerous companies require it of their employees with the idea that this will reduce the number of employee lost days from work. But are back braces really of value in preventing injury to those wearing them? The back experts are skeptical of their value.

Lowering the number of back injuries is a crucial objective. Nearly 20% of all injuries in the work environment are because of an injury to the back. The expense of dealing with these injuries is estimated at between 20 to 50 billion dollars every year.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responsible for work environment safety and security. They have investigated the subject thoroughly by examining the available scientific literature on the efficiency of back belts. Based upon their staff's research and evaluation, NIOSH came to the conclusion that employees ought to utilize sound ergonomic programs instead of using back belts for preventing injury to the back.

Back belts (also described as stomach belts or back supports) are being purchased in greater numbers than ever before. Nevertheless, after analyzing the evidence, NIOSH discovered there was no support for the claim that making use of back belts protects against back injuries in those who have never experienced a back injury. As a matter of fact, in a lot of cases it could promote injuries to the back.

Ohio State University researchers discovered in a study that individuals were just as likely to hurt their backs while using a support belt as when they were not using one. The research subjects were given a choice of three different types of back belts: leather, elastic or orthotic. Only one belt was found to have any effect. The elastic belt decreased the load by a whopping 10 percent. The other two belts offer no additional protection. Lead author of the study, professor William Marras, stated,"You can lift about 20 percent more weight when you wear a back belt, but that doesn't mean that you have 20 percent more protection on your spine. So you may try to lift more than you can handle and hurt yourself."

Dr. James Barger, a chiropractic doctor based in Folsom, CA, concentrating on concerns related to health and wellness in the work environment, believes that these support belts could Weaken the muscles supporting the back. It was found that often times, workers would wear these belts for an entire 8 hour work schedule. This dependance on such devices for such a long period of time leads to deconditioning of the supporting core muscles of the spine.

Unless you have actually experienced a back injury that calls for using a back brace/belt for rehabilitation, it is far better to avoid using them . It is much better in the long run to learn the correct techniques for lifting heavy or awkward items. You should also utilize hand carts, and hoists to help you take the most of the load off your back.

For more information, please call Barger Chiropractic of Folsom, located at 231 Blue Ravine Rd, #200, Folsom, CA, 916-984-9999 or Visit our website at


No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry

Add Comment

Form options