Back Support Belts

Got a question I’m hoping someone out there can help me with.
Does anyone have any recent medical studies about back support belts and how they hurt the people that wear them?
I’ve got an Ohio State study from 97 that shows they don’t work quite as well as their reputation maintains.
Anybody else got anything?


No cites off hand., Escher, but I have worked in the insurance field for ten years. The studies I have seen state that the belts help avoid back problems during lifting. However, if they are worn constantly, the muscles of the torso atrophy and more injuries result. I can probably get a cite off of the Riskmail list.

If you want to find info, look under the IRMI site or the RIMS site. A lot of insurance money has gone into this topic.

Yeh…they also raise blood pressure, as well as giving the user a false sense of security.
Any info you can pass along would be helpful.
They’re trying to make me wear one…and I’m a manager…I don’t get out and do strenuous stuff unless we’re really backed up. :stuck_out_tongue:


Unfortunately my only evidence is anecdotal as well but it comes from a physical therapist that helped me recover from an injury so I’ll take him at his word.

Along with the false sense of security there is no way a back belt can stabluize the spin. There is simply too much soft tissue for even a ridgid belt to keep vertebrae from moving . Better to do proper, low stress exercises (no traditional situps) and let your muscles and proper lifting protect your spine.

My only evidence is annecdotal, too. When I wear the belt, my back doesn’t hurt. When I don’t wear the belt, it kills me. Granted, I have scoliosis (77 degree curve), 13 fused vertebrae, and a 10" Harrington rod. Not the most representative sample.

But if I wear the belt while doing strenuous work (I built a shed this weekend, for example), I have no back problems. If I wash the car without the belt, I have problems getting out of bed the next day.

Keeping the muscles in shape and using proper lifting techniques are obviously very important. But from my experience, the belts are very good at preventing back strain.

Kevin B.