Q. Will a support belt or brace keep my low back safe when I lift at work?
A. Unless you have had a significant spine injury, you probably do not need to use a support belt when lifting at work. Support belts have not been shown to effectively reduce back injuries among workers who lift. Actually, workers who use these devices often gain a false sense of security and may hurt themselves by lifting too much. Long-term use of a lumbar support belt has been shown to actually weaken abdominal and back muscles. This is because the brace becomes the source of support instead of your trunk muscles. A brace may be prescribed if you have had a recent or severe spine injury. However, you will likely be instructed to use it on a short-term basis only and to continue with an abdominal strengthening program.