Human beings are fragile creatures. No matter how strong we are (and pretend to be), our body is bound to give in to stress and workload after a certain age. After 35 (30 for people with injuries), spine problems, back pain, and dislocated shoulders are common occurrences.
Spine problems dislocated shoulders, and fractured bones aren’t easy things to fix. You’ll need chiropractors, physicians, and surgeons (if you’re unlucky).
However, back pains are different. We can minimize and even alleviate the issue altogether with proper back support. You’ll get back braces for your back and spine’s upper and lower portions. I’d go for a lower variant while upper back braces have their uses (cue: warehouses, desk jobs).
Lower back braces protect sensitive parts of your spine and guard your kidneys against harm. You’ll find “Elastic” lower back supports as well. People with chronic back issues sleep with these on. Then again, buying the product is only half the job. You’ll have to use it.
Don’t worry. This article is for the first timers out there. I’ll tell you what you do when you have to wear a back brace and things to avoid when using such a product. Buckle up. This might be a long journey.
- Rules You Should Definitely Follow when Wearing a Back Brace
- How to Properly Wear a Back Brace?
- Tips on Wearing Lower Back Support
- Wrapping It Up!
Rules You Should Definitely Follow when Wearing a Back Brace
Back braces are your go-to relief system, whether it is a long-standing injury or immediately after surgery. People wear them frequently and as a counter to every spinal issue. However, you should be careful not to abuse these things. Otherwise, it’ll spell doom for your physic.
To make things easier and give you a head start, I’ll hand you my rulebook regarding when to opt for a product such as this and when to avoid it altogether.
Don’t Wear it for Normal Back Strains
I know several guys who wear a brace around their upper or lower back whenever they have the chance. Trust me, they’re overdoing things.
You DON’T NEED your braces for everyday muscle spasms or strains. Wearing it for two or three days is fine. However, don’t turn this into a habit.
Some brands even have room for putting ice packs in their products. Fancy. Yet, unnecessary. Sure, wearing these regularly will provide temporary relief. But it’ll restrict the natural healing process of your tissues. Instead of aiding the treatment, you’ll impede it.
Don’t Use Back Braces for Prevention
When I bought my first brace from Walmart, I decided to wear it underneath my shirt. So it was with me eighteen hours a day no matter where I went. “I’m guarding myself against pain,” I said to myself. That’s one flawed logic I had. Braces don’t prevent pain (normally).
However, lifting weights is different. You’ll find special braces for warehouse workers that keep the posture perfect even when carrying heavy loads on their backs.
Then again, you don’t need to wear a lifter back brace everywhere you go. Spinal pain results from sitting awkwardly in one place for longer than you need. Braces heal your spinal tissues and cure the pain. However, they won’t act as support when you’re chopping a log.
Don’t Wear the Brace for Too Long
I’d advise people to only wear these products when doing a stressful task. Then, once the job is done, get rid of it. Wearing these things for 20 to 30 minutes at a stretch is good. Not more than that. Leaving them on for too long is irritating. You’ll feel the niggle pretty soon.
If you have one that loosens and tightens with straps, make sure to loosen it up after it serves its purpose. Tight braces restrict the micro motions that go on within our spine. This can result in blood flow disruptions if you’re not careful enough.
Dependence is a Curse
Don’t be dependent on the brace. Wearing it for an extended period will weaken your body’s core (especially when using lower back braces). Consult your doctor for the period you want these for. Also, I’d suggest you do core exercises to build up strength.
Prioritize standing exercises. Use something to anchor your body against and do movements when possible. For example, I used the wall as an anchor. It helped me recuperate faster than normal.
Be Careful with the Movement while Wearing These
Back braces don’t give you a free pass to do what you please once you put them on. So you still have to be careful when moving around.
Pay attention to upward and downward movements. Judge the comfort level of your brace. Notice how the brace reacts when you’re bending down, squatting, and walking with these things guarding your back.
Make sure to choose a product that’s appropriate for your condition. For example, people often use braces as a treatment for compression fractures.
Compression fractures often cause your bones to be squishy. Make sure to buy rigid back braces. This will keep your bones snug in place without putting too much strain on them.
How to Properly Wear a Back Brace?
If you’ve been stacking up on some back brace knowledge, you know about different types of back braces by now. Depending on what kind you decide to get, you might have a posture corrector or lower back support. So let me guide you through how to wear these.
How to Wear an Upper Back Brace or Posture Corrector?
Posture correctors are very useful when loosening your pectoral muscles and reducing forward bending of the shoulders. These braces are rather stiff. You’ll find a pad pushing against the upper back. This keeps our thoracic muscles in line with gentle pressure.
- To use such a product, you need to first stand up straight without putting undue pressure on your spine.
- You’ll find shoulder straps tightened with a Velcro at each end. First, undo the Velcro. Then, feed the Velcro straps to the hook. You’ll find one hook on each side at the back of the product. Next, attach the Velcro straps at the end of each neoprene cushion. Keep the loop loose for now.
- At this point, the posture corrector will look like the number 8. Feel free to put it on. Slide your shoulders in one at a time. This is just like how we wear our backpacks.
- Feel free to adjust the straps. However, don’t make the straps too stiff. Adjust them according to your comfort level. People should be able to freely move around. If you make them too tight, you’ll not be able to move your shoulders too much.
- Some products come with an additional Velcro strap on your abdomen area. This is just for support. You can tighten or loosen it according to your preference. Normally, they won’t itch or create problems during day-to-day activities.
Pro Tip: Don’t wear upper back braces for more than 15 to 20 minutes when you’re starting out. Instead, increase the duration once you’re comfortable with the mechanics. Try and increase it by five minutes or so every week.
How to Wear a Lower Back Brace Once You Have It?
Wearing these is easier than the other variant. Trust me, it shouldn’t take you more than three minutes. It’s a three-step process. Let’s go over them!
- You’ll find Velcro straps and wings with these products (most of them). Try to wrap these things against the wings on each side of your torso.
- Next, try and connect the two sides of the brace. Position the Velcro straps across your abdomen and attach them on the rough surface. Keep things loose in the beginning and tighten according to your fit.
- People can precisely adjust their products and fine tune their comfort level. Most products come with pull tabs. Once you pull them using fingers, the braces will tighten themselves. Be mindful of the pressure you’re applying and what’s good for you. Consult your doctor to know the length you can go to as far as tightness is concerned.
If you’re still confused and cant’ figure out what do you do when you have to wear a back brace, the following video should help.
Tips on Wearing Lower Back Support
If you have a sore back or an injury, reaching for the Velcro straps behind your back will be difficult. Consider taking the help of your family or friends in this case.
I felt niggles when putting these things on at first. That’s normal. If you’re having trouble putting it on while standing, sit on a chair. Keep the wings open at first. Then, move them to either side of your body. Hold on to them, stand up, and secure the wings in front.
Try and wear something under back braces. Most of the time, your doctor will tell you what to wear. If it were up to me, I’d vote for a shirt. This is done to negate skin irritation. Also, I’d choose a cotton shirt. Unfortunately, people often wear baggy ones.
Don’t! Those shirts aggravate skin irritation.
Don’t let moisture or dead skin build up under your back brace. These will aggravate and cause skin irritation as well. You’ll see red spots forming.
However, these will disappear in 15 to 20 minutes. Use talcum powder (an old trick, but it works) to soak up moisture and keep things dry.
Wrapping It Up!
Knowing when to use a back brace is the key to dealing with posture or spinal issues. You’ll have to decide when to go for one and follow a set of prescribed rules when using them. Add to that the challenge of wearing these things.
I know people who mess things up and even snap the straps when trying to put these on. This is where my short (yet effective) guide shines. Follow my rules and advice to the tee, and these products will never be a bother.
Now, you know what to do when wearing a back brace. Minus the maintenance part. But that’s a topic for another day.