The back and waist support belt, often used today for various ailments or just for extra support for our backs as we go about our daily tasks, is also an important part of treatment for those suffering from sciatica.
Sciatica, a term denoting the pain, numbness, or weakness that can radiate from the base of the spine all the way down to the toes, is often associated with a herniated disc in the lumbar spine (scientists say that up to 90% of sciatica attacks are due to disc herniations); pinched nerves that come out from the spine; a disc that is out of line with others either above or below it; muscle strain; or even spinal stenosis, a serious condition in which the spinal canal is narrowed, putting pressure on the nerves that run through it.
At times, sciatica sufferers report tingling or pain that is present continually all the way down to their toes, but it can alternatively occur at any single part of the body anywhere from the base of the spine to the toes. It is crucial that patients focus on the origin of the pain, however, which is nearly always in the lumbar spine -- no matter where the discomfort presents itself.
A Back and Waist Support Belt is An Important Part of Noninvasive Sciatica Treatment
Physicians and physical therapists usually initially try a variety of noninvasive methods to treat sciatica as a way to avoid costly surgery and the time-consuming recovery period associated with it. Among these are back and waist support belts, which not only offer support for the lumbar spine, giving instant relief to the wearer but which also allow the condition causing sciatica to heal itself while the patient completes a course of rehabilitative therapy. Often, sciatica can resolve itself after a period of four to six weeks, as long as there is no further exacerbation of the condition. Back and waist support belts function by not only improving posture and limiting movements that might lead to pain, but also by increasing abdominal pressure, which decreases the pressure on the discs of the spine. These supportive belts give sciatica sufferers added stability by maintaining the torso in an optimal posture that not only stops any further injury from occurring but also helps promote the best environment for healing.
A back belt functions almost like a crutch, supporting the body of a sciatica sufferer as they go about their daily activities, including getting up from a lying or sitting position, walking, bending, twisting and turning in all directions, and of course carrying items, Although no one should use a back and waist support belt 24/7 because this might promote muscle weakening, they can be extremely helpful when people find themselves experiencing the pain of sciatica, which most often originates in the lumbar spine between the fourth lumbar nerve (L4) and the third sacral nerve (S3) and which comprises the sciatic nerve itself.
Many times, a physician or physical and occupational therapist will recommend that their patients wear such belts for the necessary compression which will keep muscles and ligaments in place as they perform their therapy. Also referred to as sacroiliac belts, these back and waist support belts help keep the sacroiliac joint in place so that it will not irritate the sciatic nerve, making for much-reduced chances that the nerve will act up and cause problems as patients heal from sciatica. Later, the belts can also be worn during the daily activities of living, including lifting.
In addition, a back and waist belt provides support when wearers must sit for prolonged periods of time. Compression bands made of breathable fabric and elastic allow back and waist support belts to adapt their shapes easily to each individual, providing all users with a custom fit. This is especially necessary with sciatica sufferers, who can feel pain and discomfort in so many different areas, according to the location where the pain originates.
Back and waist support belts with low-profile designs won't show under everyday clothing or active wear, allowing them to be worn discreetly during the workday or even at the gym so that those suffering from sciatica have that extra bit of support just where and when they need it, without anyone knowing.
Back and Waist Belts with Added Features Promote Healing, Provide Additional Support
Some back and waist support belts feature lumbar support stays made of plastic, metal, and even springs, as well as special pads that offer extra support or a bit of added warmth to a certain area; 30% copper fabric is also used in some back support belts since some research suggests this metal may aid in healing and it has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties as well.
Adjustable compression straps on back and waist support belts allow wearers added support for weight lifting, either at the gym, during physical therapy or as part of their normal work routine or home activities. A larger back brace, up to 14 inches in height, which features metal stays and covers the entire torso, may also be used by women suffering from lower back pain associated with sciatica and other back ailments.
Back and waist support belts with additional features are also available for those who need to add heating pads, ice packs, or even magnetic therapy pads to their treatment regimen for sciatica; recent research suggests magnetism can not only reduce pain signals in neurons but may increase circulation and reduce the inflammation often seen with sciatica as well.
Using inflated air pockets in targeted areas to add even more compression to a back support belt is another way to combat the pain associated with sciatica, as are magnetic massage pads that can be added to the back support belt in areas that will benefit from this type of treatment. In addition, tourmaline self-heating pads can also be added to a back and waist support belt; this type of pad must be worn next to the skin in order for the necessary heat to be generated.