When and how to put on or wear a lumbar belt?
When to wear a lumbar belt and for which pathologies?
The use of a lumbar belt is useful in many cases, whether you are recovering, or looking for a solution to relieve your lower back pain. But also to support the lower back and the spine in its activities, such as physical work or a demanding sport such as weight training.
Wear a lumbar belt every day
It can be useful and recommended to use a lumbar belt when you are used to exerting efforts that place great strain on the back. The lumbar belt then provides additional support which relieves the back of a heavy load, for example. A flexible lumbar belt is then perfect for combining range of motion and support.
The magnetic and heated lumbar belt, for example, is ideal because it can provide comfort, warmth and healing with the removable heating and magnetic part, but also the necessary support for carrying heavy loads.
Please note that it is not advisable to wear the lumbar belt regularly, but rather to use it as occasional support during heavy exertion or the onset of pain. Failure to follow this rule will weaken the back in the long run because the muscles will lose strength due to permanent additional support.
Wear a lumbar belt to relieve pain
Let us now see in this article some pathologies for which a lumbar belt can help heal and relieve pain.
Muscle tension and pain
A support lumbar belt can be recommended for lower back muscle tension. It can help relieve muscle tension by reducing the pressure on the spine, thereby reducing the force required for muscles to support the spine. In addition, the heat given off by the splint can help relax tight muscles, thus helping to relieve pain. A back brace for injury or muscle weakness is generally not recommended for more than 2 to 4 days but can be used as needed when pain is felt.
The instability and painful micro-movements of spinal osteoarthritis can be reduced by using a lumbar belt, which provides better support to the spine. Additionally, a splint can reduce pressure on the affected facet joints, relieving pain and facilitating everyday movements, such as moving from sitting to standing, or vice versa.
Spinal compression fractures
A lumbar belt or a rigid or semi-rigid back splint may be recommended for spinal compression fractures to reduce micro-movements in the affected fracture or vertebra, as well as pressure on the spine.
Degenerative disc disease / lumbar disc herniation
When a spinal disc breaks and / or has a herniation, a rigid or semi-rigid lumbar belt or back brace can help stabilize and reduce micro-movements in the affected vertebral segment. A kidney belt can also be used to limit flexion and twisting and help support some of the weight that the spinal discs normally support.
Orthotics for lumbar stenosis aim to reduce pressure and limit micro-movements in the lower spine, both of which can cause nerve root irritation and radicular pain. In some cases, a kidney belt can help adjust posture or shift weight toward the abdomen in an effort to relieve pressure on the spine.
It has been shown that the use of a rigid back splint for the isthmic spondylolisthesis minimized spinal slippage and significantly improved walking ability and pain levels (1). A rigid splint limits excess movement at the fractured segment, which helps control pain and potentially reduce damage to joints, nerves, and muscles. A kidney belt can help support the spine as a supplement.
As for the spondylolysis Isthmic, a semi-rigid or rigid lumbar belt may be recommended to minimize painful micro-movements in the fractured vertebrae, reducing pain and potentially allowing fracture healing. It is believed that a lumbar splint can prevent or reduce isthmic spondylolisthesis vertebral slip.
A rigid splint or lumbar belt may be prescribed after spinal surgery in an effort to reduce pressure on the spine, add stability, and limit movement and micro-movements to provide an environment healthy for healing. A questionnaire completed by spine surgeons found that the most common reason for using a postoperative brace was to limit activity and movement. The same questionnaire showed that back braces were generally recommended between 3 and 8 weeks after the operation, but that the duration differed according to the patient's needs. (2).
In some cases, a back brace may not be recommended for the above conditions if other treatments are likely to be as effective or more effective, such as physiotherapy or the application of heat or ice.
An heated lumbar belt provides a healing effect in addition to being relaxing and pleasant.
Kidney belts have not been shown to help relieve all back pain. Study found that patients with specific back pain are more likely to report pain relief after using a lumbar belt than patients with non-specific back pain (3).
Following these few points of recommendations will allow you to take full advantage of your lumbar belt.
Wear the lumbar belt as recommended:
Adherence to wearing a back brace is one of the most important success factors, although there are many reasons that can make wearing a brace difficult, such as discomfort or interference with daily activities. If a brace is too bulky or uncomfortable, a doctor can help you adjust it. It is advisable to consult a doctor before stopping wearing the device.
Consider the lumbar belt as a positive aid:
Kidney belts work best when viewed as potentially beneficial, and a positive attitude is maintained about their effects, study found (4). Encouragement and support from family members, friends or co-workers can help improve attitudes towards the back brace and its end results.
Don't depend on the kidney belt for long-term relief:
Kidney belts are generally recommended for the short term. Wearing a rigid lumbar belt brace for longer than recommended is believed to contribute to muscle atrophy and dependence on the device, which can ultimately weaken the back, increase the risk of injury and make pain worse.
A lumbar belt prescribed by a healthcare professional should be accompanied by instructions for use and maintenance provided by the professional, the manufacturer, or both. These instructions may include information on wearing a kidney belt, putting on and taking off, as well as cleaning and maintenance.
It is important to wear a lumbar belt or back brace according to the instructions supplied with the device and / or the advice of the prescriber. Many braces are specially tailored to the needs and body of the patient, and if not worn properly, can cause additional injury and make pain worse.
Put on a lumbar belt
Most kidney belts are put on by following a few simple steps:
- Wrap the belt around the back on each side of the torso.
- Connect the two ends on the abdomen.
- Adjust more precisely the tightness and the pressure of the splint by tightening the two ends with the Velcro.
Three steps for putting on a lumbar belt
It may be difficult to reach the belt to wrap it behind the body with back pain, and it may be advisable to seek help from a partner or friend.
It is also possible to avoid the pain when putting on the splint by first placing the open splint on a chair, so that when sitting down, both ends of the belt are on either side of the body. Then, holding the ends, stand up and secure them in front of you.
Wearing a shirt below the lumbar belt is usually necessary to minimize irritation to the skin. In general, a fitted shirt made from a soft cotton fabric will prevent irritation. A shirt that is too loose can irritate the skin.
Cleanliness and hygiene of lumbar belts
Regular cleaning of the splint and skin can help prevent rashes or skin damage. In case of severe skin irritation, it may be necessary to stop wearing the splint for several days while the skin heals.
Prolonged wearing of a kidney belt can damage the skin if it is worn bare. Daily washing of the skin under the corset helps prevent the build-up of dirt and dead skin, which can cause irritation.
Too much moisture under the corset can irritate the skin and lead to sores and / or skin deterioration. This is why you should avoid wearing lotions or moisturizers under the splint.
It is common to have red spots on the skin after removing the splint. These spots should disappear within 15 to 30 minutes. If they do not go away, or if the splint leaves a rash or bruise on the skin, the splint may not fit properly and should be fitted by a doctor or specialist.
Cleaning a lumbar belt
Specific washing instructions are usually provided by the manufacturer of the kidney belt, and should be followed to maintain longevity and effectiveness.
Most kidney belts are not designed to be machine washed or dried. It is generally advisable to wash the kidney belt by hand with mild soap and water. Any additional padding or panels should first be removed and washed separately. A kidney belt should be laid flat or hung to dry.
Be sure to rinse well and dry the splint completely before wearing it, as a soapy or wet splint is more likely to irritate the skin. It may also be helpful to remove dirt, dust, or debris from the splint using a lint roller.
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