Can special belts relieve lumbar pain?
Lumbar belts – special belts that support the abdominal muscles and the lower back region – are often touted as being effective home remedies for treating lumbar pain. But do they work?
About lumbar pain
The lumbar region refers to the five vertebrae in the lower spinal column. Because the lower spine bears the most body weight and is also used in bending and twisting, this area is particularly susceptible to strain and injury, which can result in severe lumbar pain. Pregnant women and individuals whose jobs involve heavy lifting or bending are most at risk for lumbar pain.
What are lumbar belts?
Lumbar belts are made of a breathable material that pulls in the abdominal muscles and supports the lower back. They may include pouches that can hold hot or cold packs, depending on your preference. Some models are available already equipped with removable hot or cold packs. Others may contain magnets to target and treat nerves that contribute to lumbar pain, although the use of magnets in pain relief is considered questionable in the scientific and medical communities.
Pregnant women, particularly those in the third trimester, may use a special type of lumbar belt known as a maternal belt to help relieve lumbar pain due to the rapid weight gain and changes in weight distribution during pregnancy.
Individuals who perform frequent heavy lifting or bending may find that lumbar belts help prevent injury and reduce the risk of aggravating a previous lower back injury.
What is the evidence?
Studies have revealed no conclusive evidence that belts can actually help relieve lumbar pain. Their greatest benefit appears to be in the prevention, rather than treatment, of lower back pain.
Lumbar belts may also be useful in preventing injury and improving results during some exercise programs. A German study found that males who engaged in weight training while wearing a lumbar belt experienced a greater reduction in pain relief and increase in muscle flexibility than subjects who trained without a lumbar belt.
If you are already experiencing severe lumbar pain, other remedies like the VacuPractor may be more effective. Try some gentle yoga routines or exercises for lower back pain relief. Because stress can be a contributing factor in lumbar pain, learning some stress reduction techniques may also help.