Is It Ok to Wear a Back Brace All Day?

Lower back pain and back pain is one of the most common problems among young adults and adults in general. Many suffer from it due to injuries or some sort of disorder, while most others have back pain issues because of bad posture and incorrect lifting.

Doctors and experts all recommend wearing a back brace to help with back pain problems over popping pain pills. A back brace not only aids in getting rid of the pain completely but also helps in improving your posture.

However, can you really wear a back brace all day?

The correct answer is NO! You should not be dependent on it 24×7, as it will only lead to further spine problems in the future by making your muscles and ligaments weak. Unless advised by your doctor, you should not wear your back brace for more than around 2 hours at a stretch daily.

Is It Ok to Wear a Back Brace All Day

In this article, I have discussed all the benefits, drawbacks, the proper way to wear your back brace, and more, so do read till the end to learn more.

Benefits of wearing a back brace 

Here I have listed out a few important benefits that you get from wearing a back brace.

1.) If you have recently had back surgery, then a back brace will help your spine to stabilize. It will keep your spine in place and minimize unessential movement or in other words immobilize it, which in turn will aid in the prevention of back pain and allow proper healing of your back. This is a very important step in avoiding additional injuries to your back and spine.

2.) When you have bad or mild back pain, it can be quite frustrating to sit and stand normally. Even transitioning from one position to the next can seem like a task.

In such a case, wearing a back brace makes it easier and comfortable to change your positions from sitting to standing and vice versa.

3.) Ideally we are supposed to stand upright, our shoulders should be pushed back, our chest should be pressed up, and tuck in our core.

We do not realize when we slouch while sitting or stand hunched, which is terrible for our posture, can lead to extreme back pain, weaken the spine, and also cause deformities. A back brace can help improve your posture to a great degree.

4.) People who suffer from back pain will know how it can interfere with their daily activities. It is not easy to perform even simple tasks due to back pain, be it mild or severe.

This is when you should wear a back brace to help your back heal steadily and minimize the pain, without putting too much pressure on it and expediting the process.

5.) There are various types of back conditions that can be menacing to your overall health. Such as – Back muscle sprain, scoliosis, kyphosis, osteoporosis, spinal cord injuries, ankylosing spondylitis, spinal tumors, spondylolisthesis, spinal fractures, whiplash, etc., to name a few.

Wearing a back brace can help in controlling the symptoms of such conditions even if it cannot cure them. However, you should always consult a doctor before trying a back brace as there are various kinds available for different ailments.

6.) Wearing a back brace is quite simple and easy. You can wear it under your clothes or over them, whichever is convenient and comfortable for you.

It is important to note that you are wearing the right size which is not too loose or not too fitting. There are a few pointers to keep in mind when wearing a back brace, which I will be discussing further in the article.

7.) For people who are into fitness and health, a back brace can be a big boon for your core and back strength. Many people do not know this but your entire body is supported by the strength of your core.

However, due to a weak core, your back lends the support required which results in injuries and pain. Here is where a back brace will help straighten and strengthen the spine along with keeping your tummy tucked.

Even your abdomen is getting strengthened in this process. There are braces specifically designed for fitness that can be worn during workouts.

8.) Pain killers are easy to get addicted to which is an issue in the long run. They do not cure the pain but only cover it up for instant relief. Whereas, a back brace is not something you can get addicted to that can be injurious to your health in the long run.

It helps improve your posture, supports your back, aligns your spine, and also makes your back muscles strong. It is a holistic form of treatment that is more beneficial than any pain killer.

10.) A back brace makes it easier to manage work once you return to your daily routine after suffering from an injury. Especially if your lower back undergoes major stress due to doing a very labor-intensive job.

See also: Best Work Boots for Back Pain

Drawbacks of wearing a back brace

While back braces have their advantages, it is no surprise that there are always two sides to a story. There are also a few drawbacks to wearing a back brace.

1.) When your back gets used to the back brace due to prolonged usage, the ligaments and muscles surrounding the injured area will start to weaken as they are not working to their full potential.

This can result in a future injury of your spine which is never a good thing. In other words, doctors call this muscle atrophy.

2.) When one part of your back muscle is restricted from moving too much, the load gets transmitted onto the other muscles. As a result, those other muscles might not be able to handle the load and you may end up injuring them.

3.) If you wear back braces that do not fit well, you are inviting irritation and lesions on your skin. So always make sure to get the right size instead of going for the ones that advertise themselves to fit all different sized people.

4.) Using a back brace for longer than you are supposed to will lead to weakening your muscles and ligaments, meaning vulnerability of your spine which cannot do without the brace.

5.) Sometimes the pressure or compression on your abdomen by the back brace can cause certain digestive problems. Although rare, a study showed a lot of users putting this point forth.

6.) There is a possibility of your blood pressure rising and an increase in your heart rate due to the compression on the muscles by the back brace.

These are enough reasons for you to not overuse the back brace. Always follow your doctor’s instructions to avoid such terrible mishaps.

See also: Can Work Boots Cause Back Pain? (5 Remedies)

Few pointers of wearing the back brace

You now know the various important pros and cons of wearing a back brace. Although, your doctor will guide you through wearing a back brace correctly to make it comfortable and convenient for you, here are a few general pointers for you on how you should wear the back brace that will come in handy.

1.) The first and foremost point I would like to make here is that you should never shy away from asking for help when putting on the back brace.

Not all braces are easy to be worn by yourself. In case there is no one to help you wear it, you can take the help of a chair. Start by placing the brace on the chair, then sit down on it while making sure the wings are open on either side of your body.

Next, you need to hold the wings and stand up at the same time to make sure it is secure and in the right place. By following this step you will be avoiding further strain on your back.

However, there are also braces that come with the opening in the front instead of the back so those will be easier to wear on your own.

2.) It is natural for your skin to develop some amount of redness in the areas where pressure is applied by the back brace. This can lead to getting blisters or raw skin, which you need to avoid by keeping your skin clean at all times.

You need to be extra attentive towards your skin that is right under the brace by cleaning off the dirt that gets accumulated there. Consult a doctor if your skin is irritated beyond thirty minutes of wearing the brace.

3.) You can also avoid getting skin irritation by wearing a shirt, or t-shirt under the back brace. Whatever you choose to wear, you need to make sure that it is clean, fits well, is made of cotton, does not have any side seams, and is long enough to fit under the entire brace. There should be no wrinkles and you need to wear it well by pulling it down.

4.) If you choose to wear the back brace under your clothes to maintain your style, then you need to make sure you are wearing loose clothes over the brace. As you will be more comfortable in them.

5.) It helps to remain in an air-conditioned room when wearing a back brace as it helps avoid further skin irritation. Especially during the hot summer days you should try and avoid the outdoors.

6.) The area of your skin that experiences the most amount of pressure from the brace will start to toughen up with time. To be more precise this starts to happen 2 to 3 weeks post wearing the brace.

In order to avoid your skin from breaking down and suffering from extreme skin irritation, you can apply to rub alcohol in the areas that are touched by the brace. This will help your skin to toughen up.

7.) You should also keep in mind that the safest thing to do to avoid irritation and sores is by keeping the skin under the brace dry at all times. The more moisture it gets the more the possibility of causing irritation.

Therefore, you should not apply any lotions, creams, and powders in those areas. During hot days, you can try a dusting of corn starch if rubbing alcohol does not suit your skin.

While it is vital for you to follow the above steps, you should also take care of your back brace so it can serve you well, by keeping it away from bacteria, odor, and dirt.

→ Make sure to keep it clean after every wear. You can clean it with mild soap and water, and avoid using any harsh detergent or bleach.

→ Dry it well before wearing it again.

→ Every once a week you can apply rubbing alcohol to keep bacteria growth at bay.

→ In the case of wear and tear of your brace’s straps, you should have them replaced by your doctor.

→ If your back brace has Velcro straps then you should use a lint roller to clean the dirt and debris that can easily get collected in them.

Wrapping up

There is nothing wrong with wearing a back brace as long as you follow your doctor’s advice religiously and do not get dependent on the brace to support you for a prolonged period.

This is where the troubles can start as you feel you cannot function well without it. Limit its usage as per the expert or doctor’s instructions and you will be all good in no time.