Back support belts are typically used in physically demanding jobs where employees are required to lift heavy weights or perform repetitive movements that put stress on the back. Although studies are not conclusive, some believe back belts offer protection by reducing force, stiffening the spine, increasing intra-abdominal pressure, reminding workers of correct technique and reducing bending movements. They are worn around the middle and lower back and can utilise suspenders and shoulder straps.
Depending on the situation in which the belt is being used, an individual may choose a lumbar support belt or a full back support belt.
Lumbar support belts are worn around the lumbar (lower back) region and should be used by those who are required to do lifting or repetitive bending movements. They are designed to support the back while also allowing enough movement to perform activities.
Full back support belts cover the entire back and are used by those trying to correct postural issues or recover from back and spine injury. They are meant to greatly restrict movement and are not meant for long-term use.
The belt material needs to be rigid enough to provide support. Avoid belts that are stretchy or soft all the way around. Belts that are nylon or plastic have been found to be more durable and suitable for long-term use. If you're looking for even more support or protection, there are belts with steel-rodded cages in the back, limiting movement even further.
Size and Thickness
Be sure the belt you choose is big enough to cover the entire lower back area for a lumbar support belt and the entire back for a full back support belt. The pad in the back of the belt needs to be rigid and thick enough to provide support. A belt that's too thin won't provide adequate protection of the spine.
Choosing the Right Belt
There are numerous brands of back support belts available. The key is choosing the one right for the purpose. If used in the workplace or elsewhere for preventive measures while lifting or performing repetitive movements, a plastic padded belt is more than likely adequate. If you've been previously injured, a belt with a steel-rodded cage in the back pad might be more beneficial.
Shoulder straps or suspenders are not necessary if the belt is strapped on tightly enough, but some individuals may be more comfortable with the extra ties.