Back pain corsett
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Actually.... the correct spelling is “corset.”
What is it? A corset is a brace.
A corset brace is sometimes recommended to limit motion of the spine. It is used for people with lumbosacral strain or other types of mechanical low back problem such as spondylolisthesis. Surgeons sometimes use a corset in patients after a lumbar fusion. The brace helps limit motion in the back while the fusion sets. A back brace can be helpful in obtaining a solid fusion.
People with jobs that involve heavy lifting also sometimes wear corset braces. These braces work by limiting motion and acting as a reminder to use proper body posture when lifting. With a corset brace, one needs to lift with the back straight (not bent forward), using the large leg muscles (bending the knees) to do the lifting.
It is important for a patient not to become dependent on the corset. Patients need to be taught specific core muscle strengthening to better utilize their natural “corset” of muscles.
What is the evidence these corsets work? Here are two recent papers...
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 1981, Vol 40, 449-454
Evaluation of low back pain and assessment of lumbar corsets with and without back supports
R Million, KH Nilsen, MI Jayson and RD Baker
A method is described for evaluating the progress of patients with back pain. Various symptoms were scored on analogue scales and spinal motion was measured by various techniques. These data were integrated to make subjective and objective indices respectively. Reasonable reproducibility of the measurements was obtained. This technique was used to elucidate the role of the lumbar support in surgical corsets in relief of back pain. Sufferers from back pain were randomly allocated to corsets with and without lumbar supports. There was significant improvement in those with a support compared with those without. On the other hand objective changes measured with the corset removed did not differ between the 2 groups. This study indicates that the spinal support in a lumbosacral corset makes a significant contribution towards the relief of symptoms.
Lumbar corsets: compliance and effectiveness for lower back pain
Khan AM,1 Salih M,2 Levack B1
1Departmetn of Orthopaedics and Trauma, King George Hospital and 2Northwick Hospital, Essex, United Kingdom
Aims: To assess whether lumbar corsets are being effectively prescribed to control lower back pain in our study group.
Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to 130 consecutive patients who were prescribed lumbar corset for control of back pain in a 2-year period. 102 (78%) patients responded. The Greenough and Fraser and visual analogue scoring system were used to assess the physical and functional improvement of back pain.
Results: Of the 102 patients responded, 64 were females (62.7%) and 76 (74.5%) patients had worn the lumbar corset for more than 1 year of duration. Ninety (88%) patients normally worn the corset all day or most part of the day. There was an improvement in the total back pain outcome score before versus after wearing the lumbar corset: Greenough and Fraser mean 30.02 up form 20.07 (p<0.0001); and visual analogue mean pain score down to 4.90 form 8.30 (p<0.001). Conclusions: We conclude that lumbar corsets were being effectively prescribed and that there is good compliance and control of back pain in our study group. (Hong Kong Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery 2002;6(1):34-38)
For a period of time, there was a brace that functioned as a traction unit as well for the low back. The name escapes me and I'm not sure the company even exists anymore.
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