Thu, Aug 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Seek professional help before using back braces: FDA

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Office workers with lower back pain should see a doctor or physical therapist before purchasing protective gear, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday.

The agency cited as an example a 35-year-old office worker surnamed Huang (黃) who routinely sits in her office for more than seven hours a day and does not regularly exercise.

After developing pain in her lower back, she purchased an abdominal binder and used it daily, but the pain worsened, it said.

Many office workers develop lower back pain and try to address the problem by buying protective gear, but because they lack knowledge about the correct type of brace to buy, it often does more harm than good, National Taiwan University Hospital physical therapist Luh Jer-junn (陸哲駒) said.

There are soft and hard lower back braces, he said, adding that soft types are usually used to limit thoracic vertebrae’s range of movement, preventing secondary injuries, while hard braces are for people who have had spinal surgery and are custom-made to a doctor’s prescription and a physical therapist’s instructions.

Many people restrict blood circulation by fastening abdominal binders or back braces too tightly, or use a brace for too long, causing the muscles to depend on the gear for support and potentially resulting in the weakening or loss of muscle tissue, Luh said.

Soft braces or abdominal binders are advised for people who often carry heavy loads or those who have a history of back pain, he said, adding that office workers should not wear a brace for more than two hours.

Office workers are advised to maintain a healthy posture while working, stretch routinely to relieve pain and to do yoga, pilates or core muscle training after work to reduce the risk of developing lower back pain, he said.

Securing protective gear too tightly obstructs blood circulation and wearing it too loosely does not provide enough support, so people should learn from a doctor or physical therapist about the best way to use such devices, the agency said.

Lower back braces are medical equipment, so people should look for government-approved medical equipment license numbers before buying and carefully read instructions before use, it added.

This story has been viewed 2878 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top