BACK PAIN! Studies show that it takes second place in hospitalizations and hospital visits behind childbirth, and as many as 80%, that is 4 out of 5 people in the United States will experience back pain at least once in their lives and many live with it every day of their lives. It costs more downtime per capita than any other problem.
How pervasive is back pain among Americans? Consider these facts:
- 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.
- To quote from an article in the National Center for Biotechnology Information by Drs. Gaskin and Richard: “We found that the total incremental cost of health care due to pain ranged from $261 to $300 billion. The value of lost productivity is based on three estimates: days of work missed (ranging from $11.6 to $12.7 billion), hours of work lost (from $95.2 to $96.5 billion), and lower wages (from $190.6 to $226.3 billion). Thus, the total financial cost of pain to society, which combines the health care cost estimates and the three productivity estimates, ranges from $560 to $635 billion. All estimates are in 2010 dollars.”
- In publications of the Global Burden of Disease, low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and the most common reason for missed work.
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain may be caused by strained muscles and ligaments, heavy lifting, a sudden twisting movement, or more severe structural conditions such as bulging or ruptured disks, sciatica, arthritis, osteoporosis and scoliosis. There could be associated and complicating factors such as inflammation or other systemic and internally caused conditions. We are concerned primarily here with mechanically caused problems that may be treated with bracing.
What is a Brace and What Does it Do?
A brace is an external device which supports the muscular and bone structures of your spine. A lumbar sacral orthosis is a brace that specifically focuses on immobilizing and supporting your lumbar spine. It is an essential complement to successful treatment for spinal disorder.
After much research, we have settled on the LSO (Lumbosacral Braces) brand as providing the optimum in comfort, stability and durability.
The LSO Braces are designed and constructed after extensive studies on living subjects, motion and computerized evaluations to provide the precise optimum results for every type of problem and use: From warehouse workers to sports, to simple sedentary needs. As well, they are designed for stabilization for for chronic pain, pinched nerves, spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis, sciatica, spinal stenosis, after lumbar spinal fusion and discectomy, decompression and laminectomy recovery as well as for a person who is overweight.
Several of the LSO braces are L-Code approved for reimbursement by your insurer. Each brace is custom designed for every separate condition, and customized to each individual patient.
The Construction of a Brace
The construction of the brace depends on need, as they may be made of flexible lightweight neoprene for chronic back pain, or very stable to give maximum support as required in spinal fusion, laminectomy recovery and stenosis. And they are fitted to the patient.
How Back Braces are Helpful
- Post-surgical braces stabilize the spine when it is needed most to heal after surgery.
- They brace the abdomen, support posture and take the load off the lower back.
- They make movement less painful in ordinary movements such as rising from a sitting position or getting out of bed, tying shoes, or reaching overhead.
- For those whose job requires physical effort or labor that puts stress on the back, a brace can help in returning to work as it takes the strain off of the back and helps the body to return to normal.
- Braces work if used only so long as needed; wearing one too long may cause those muscles and tissues to weaken from lack of use. Therefore, intermittent use only when needed is recommended.
- The jury is still out on benefits of braces for adolescents with scoliosis. It has been an attempt to straighten the spine, however some adolescents could wear them for years and still require surgery.
Opinion Regarding Back Braces for Back Pain
They are helpful when used for a limited period of time, when needed to alleviate pain by taking the pressure off of the injured or painful areas to allow healing. Long-term use, or even if used for preventative purposes, may exacerbate or even cause pain. So intermittent use during the day is the proper and intended use and will obtain the optimum favorable results. Braces are excellent when properly prescribed, designed precisely for the patient’s condition, properly fitted and utilized with regular and professional oversight during the period of use.
A perfectly designed and fitted brace can do miracles for the patient as a complement to treatment for problems ranging from a simple lumbar strain to a post-surgical recovery period. It allows the injured tissues to heal and permits the patient to return to activity and motion that would not be possible without a brace designed for his or her condition. And the patient may enjoy less pain in the process!