I am wondering if the occasional use of a back brace would be beneficial to me. I do not currently use one nor do I have an underlying back injury. I experience lower back pain and fatigue if I sit too long in an "unfamiliar" chair or overdo reaching and bending (the usual suspects). I look forward to any feedback, experiences, thoughts or tips.
Location: Chicago, IL
I'd expect a back brace might help at least for a while. Though to some degree it might help in a fashion similar to taking a pain killer, ie addressing the symptom but not really fixing the problem. It sounds like the problem is sitting too long in combination with declining strength and/or flexibility. Exercising to preserve flexibility and avoiding sitting too long might give a better long term result. But in the short term I wouldn't hesitate to try the back brace or even pain killers if needed as a long term fix is unlikely to give immediate relief.
I do occasionally use a back brace as an assist when I know I will be lifting and twisting. Its a holdover from my employment days. I also periodically wear compression shirts. In both cases they remind me of the importance of proper posture and I find that overall I am (feel) safer. I always wear compression socks, as our leg muscles weaken, I do not believe they are as efficient in pumping interstitial fluid, the compression socks aid in this and I fatigue much more readily when I am without them. (positioning of back braces is important, I use the ones attached to suspenders to avoid slippage)
I think its a good practise to always look for ways to keep safe and expand our abilities to do things. Its not always because we NEED them, but because by always exploring options we are better equipped to know what to do when the need arises.Having a velcro back brace in the trunk of the car for loading and unloading groceries would be a low cost assist for a problem that ails a lot of people
Location: Chicago, IL
Paul, the original post made me think of the compression shirt you were wearing at the last KDA conference. I'm glad you mentioned it as I wasn't sure it would provide significant support like a back brace.
I've tried various things for the problem of sitting too much such as attempting to keep active doing light exercising & stretching while seated and using timers/alarms to remind me to get active or get up. But I've yet to make those habitual which means I often fail and sit inactive too long.
Last week I mocked up a standing desk, just an elevated surface where I can park my laptop and/or a plate of food at a height good for standing. I'm using it right now and have been using it for most of my computer time and meals. So far it has been working great. The stress of standing makes me automatically keep moving and shifting my weight. And after a couple hours growing fatigue prompts me to either get moving or lie down and rest a few minutes.
Todd & Paul,
Thank you for your comments, I found them to be very helpful. I've been using a "Walgreens Back Stabilizer" (26.99USD) for about three weeks now when I know I'll be bending or standing for an extended period and it has helped. Being mindful of how and how-long I've been sitting has made a difference as well. Stretching is always good!
Kennedy's Disease Association
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