Choosing the Right Back Brace to Help Treat Sciatica
Back braces help relieve pain associated with sciatica. In order to determine the best back brace for your condition, it is important to understand what type of sciatica you have because it can be caused by different underlying causes.
Sciatica has been previously described in the bloghere. Briefly, it is radiating pain presenting in one or several spots in the lower back or back of the leg that results from an underlying cause.
The most important thing to remember about sciatica is that it is a symptom, not a diagnosis. Most often, it occurs due to pressure on the nerve root that extends from the spinal cord in the spinal column. Make sure to get a proper diagnosis of the underlying cause contributing to your nerve pain.
This blog will address two kinds of sciatica; sciatica that involves the spinal column and is a result of nerve root compression (also known as “true sciatica”), and sciatica that results from conditions outside the spinal column. These conditions include sacroiliac joint dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, and trauma. Pregnancy can also cause sciatica symptoms.
Back Braces for Sciatica
The two most common back braces for sciatica include decompression braces and sacroiliac (SI) belts. These types of back braces are helpful to people who are active and people who have to sit for prolonged periods of time.
Decompression Back Braces
Decompression back braces, such as the Elite Air Decompression LSO, are best for “true sciatica.” They involve a combination of traditional rigid low back support with a decompression belt. The rigid structures provide support while the decompression feature expands the lumbar (low back) belt. This relieves pressure from the spinal column by expanding the intervertebral disc space, thereby reducing pain.
Sacroiliac (SI) Belts
SI belts, such as the Evergreen™ 621 SI Belt or the EXOS® FORM™ II 621, stabilize the sacroiliac joints via direct compression. This type of back brace is suitable for people with sciatica pain that results from outside the spinal column (e.g. sacroiliac joint dysfunction). SI belts minimize motion of the sacroiliac joint that irritates the sciatic nerve. With reduced irritation, the sciatic nerve is less likely to produce radiating pain down the back of the leg. SI belts are light-weight and minimalist, making them easy and comfortable to be worn throughout the day.
Other Suggestions To Manage Sciatic Pain
Be sure to supplement the use of back braces with exercise and physical therapy. Exercises for sciatica, whether due to nerve root compression or not, should be aimed at reducing radiating pain (also referred to as centralizing pain), relieving pressure of affected structures, and improving mobility.
Consult with your physician and healthcare team to help you determine the best back brace and exercise plan for your sciatica.
Sciatica pain can come and go, so be prepared before it returns with your new back brace. Elite Medical Supply is here to fulfill your back brace needs. Contact us today to discuss your options!