Lower back pain is a common issue that affects everyone from athletes and manual laborers to truck drivers and people with desk jobs. Lower back pain can be caused by muscular injuries, poor posture, age-related spinal issues, or in some cases just bad luck. It is frustrating and debilitating, and it can be tricky to treat.
One common remedy is using lumbar support to take pressure off your spine. This allows the muscles in your back to relax and recover as well.
Lumbar support devices are useful for short term pain relief, as well as for helping rehabilitate back issues. The good news is that most people suffer from acute back pain, which is a temporary issue that gets better after days or weeks. Chronic back pain, which lasts for three months or more, is comparatively rare.1
If you are suffering from back pain, then your doctor will likely recommend that you rest for a few days and use over-the-counter medicines to reduce the pain while trying to stay mobile (doing activity that does not aggravate the pain). If the pain does not subside after a few days, then you may want to look at physical therapy exercises and lumbar support to reduce the strain on your back.
Lumbar supports are usually braces or corset-like devices that support the back through providing compression. Interestingly, studies into the effectiveness of lumbar support are controversial, with some saying that support provides little to no benefit in terms of preventing or facilitating the healing of back injuries. Others suggest that supports can be helpful.2
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It is hard to come to a conclusion based on these studies, however, since the sample sizes were small. Additionally, they do not make it clear how long the supports were worn for or the activities that the users performed while wearing them.
Is It Worth Using Lumbar Support?
Even if user-reported “comfort” while wearing lumbar support is limited, there are studies that suggest that certain types of lumbar support can be helpful for people with back pain. Support pillows, for example, can help improve a person’s posture and spinal alignment while sitting.3
This alone means that if you are struggling with back pain that is not going away on its own, support could be beneficial. Indeed, many doctors recommend that people support their back as much as possible if they are experiencing lower back pain.4
While you are using your lumbar support, you can use other self-care options to reduce the pain you are experiencing. If you think your pain is related to muscle spasms or inflammation, then you may want to consider essential oils.
Ginger, which is found in the Vibrant blend, can be helpful for reducing pain and inflammation, for example.5 You may also want to try the Sleepy blend, which includes chamomile and kava, which can help alleviate anxiety and stress that may be exacerbating your back pain.6 If you can get a good night’s sleep even with a bad back, then that could help you recover more quickly.
Try Not To Rely on Your Support
While lumbar supports are useful in the short term, they are not something that you should rely on for day-to-day use. Ideally, you should aim to build a strong core and retain good posture at all times without needing to wear a support device.
It can take a long time to train yourself to have good posture. At first, you may need to remind yourself throughout the day to check how you are sitting or standing. Some people set up alerts on their smartwatch or fitness device to remind themselves to make a conscious effort to sit properly. You may need these reminders on a regular basis at first, but over time, good posture will become a habit.
Making changes to the layout of your work area so that your keyboard is at the right height and your screen is easy to see can also help you avoid back issues. If you work outdoors or carry heavy things, being mindful of your form while you are working is beneficial as well.
Back pain is common, but that does not mean it is inevitable. With regular exercise and proper precautions, you can protect your back so that it stays healthy well into old age. Even if you have a history of back pain, looking after yourself now could help to stop your pain from getting worse over time.
Photo credits: ChutimaChaochaiya/shutterstock.com, AF6395/shutterstock.com, MadeleineSteinbach/shutterstock.com