Back Belts Pros and Cons

Back support belts against core stability training

Back support belts have often been advertised as a way to provide extra support for the back and as a prevention of strains, sprains, herniated (slipped) disc and other back injuries.

Weight lifters traditionally wear gym belts, so do workers who lift heavy objects (builders, delivery men). However, chiropractors, being spinal rehabilitation experts teach that reliance on lumbar support belts weakens the back muscles and can eventually result in more injuries.

Pros of wearing back support belts:

  • A study of 36,000 warehouse workers conducted between 1989 and 1994 by University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health found significantly fewer back injuries once a policy requiring workers to wear lumbar support belts was implemented. A properly worn back belt can provide additional support to lumbar muscles, according to the Environmental Health and Safety Department of the University of California, Riverside. The belt should be tightened only while the worker is lifting or performing other strenuous work; otherwise, it should be worn loose.
  • Back belts can also make employees more mindful of their backs and the things they need to do to protect their backs, such as practicing proper lifting techniques, maintaining good posture, and not lifting too heavy a load.

Cons of wearing back support belts:

  • When researchers from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health studied retail workers for two years to see if wearing a lumbar support belt would help prevent injuries, they found no significant difference in the rate of worker’s compensation claims due to back injury between workers who wore back belts and those who did not. And a study of 1,316 workers at an Air Force base found that workers who wore lumbar support belts had a higher rate of back injuries and lost more time off work than those who didn’t wear belts.
  • Just as wearing a back belt may make some workers more aware and inclined to be more cautious, lumbar support belts may cause some workers to be overconfident and take unnecessary risks, such as lifting heavier loads.
  • Also, in order to provide the best support, a back belt should be worn snugly against the lumbar spine. Some workers may find this too uncomfortable and loosen the belt, thus limiting its effectiveness.
  • In patients with severe disc injury, like disc bulge or herniation, wearing a back support belt temporarily will reduce instability and may serve as a temporary support reducing pain caused by movement and decreasing patient insecurity.

Conclusion of pros and cons of wearing back belts:

    • Environmental Health and Safety Department at the University of California, Riverside recommends proper education as the most effective method for reducing back injuries in the workplace. Workers who understand proper lifting techniques and don’t try to lift loads that are too heavy have fewer injuries.
    • Workers who do a lot of heavy lifting may benefit from a lumbar support belt, but only if they’re trained in how to properly wear it – to tighten it for heavy lifting tasks, and to loosen it at other times.
    • It is unclear if back belts actually weaken the spinal core stability, however they do not strengthen or increase stability of spinal musculature.
    • Chiropractors believe, that wearing a support belt may reduce spinal stability as body relies on the belt support, thus becoming functionally weaker long term, which may lead to further injury.
    • A natural alternative to back support belt is your own core stability. If patient have had a good core-stability in the first place, the disc injury could have been avoided. Unfortunately core stability can not be trained when patient is in pain, therefore patient has to be treated for pain relief, along with attempts to restore natural spinal mobility (chiropractic adjustment) in order to re-destribute loading across multiple spinal joints.
    • Chiropractic treatments attempt to restore natural spinal movement and that often reduces pressure onto the bulging disc. When movement in spinal joints adjascent to herniated disc is normalised to the best of their possible ability, the lubrication and nourishment of surrounding tissues may help the healing and repair. Only when the pain is gone or much lessened, careful attempts to train core-stability by means of light static exercises can be made.

Disc Dr. belts:

New invention was made a decade ago by Korean scientist which helps the patient to get through this period of initial repair before he or she gets into core-stability training. Although this new invention is also a belt, unlike support belts, it carries absolutely different function.

Disk Dr. is a unique back traction device, completely different from existing waist protectors that simply limit mobility of the spine. The Disk Dr. features a unique air pocket expansion system that helps combine both effective treatment and the relief of pain by helping to reduce pressure within the lumbar vertebrae. Disk Dr. Waist WG30 not only widens and supports lumbar vertebrae but it also forces muscles around the waist to exercise more.

Why are Disk Dr. belt different from general spinal braces?

  • Disk Dr. products are completely different from existing general spinal braces. Disk Dr. is not an ordinary belt (device).
  • Disk Dr. Waist WG30 belt system provides advantages over all existing lumbar support belts.
  • Disk Dr. belt is simple to use, allows self-treatment, active rehabilitation, recommended to use 6 hours a day, for best results can be worn and used for over 12 hours per session depends on patients medical conditions.
  • The belt should be fastened around the waist fairly snug, however not too tight. Do not squeeze the muscles around the waist.
  • General spinal braces squeeze muscles around the waist, so it can not be worn for long period of time, usually 2-3 hours.
  • Disk Dr. belt not only widens and supports lumbar vertebrae, but also forces muscles around the waist to exercise more, boosts muscular strength around the waist.
  • Four permanent magnets are placed within the waist area of the Disk Dr. Waist. The strong medical magnet of 1600 gauss quickly removes lower back pain.
  • Ergonomically designed air cells designed to fit the natural curvature of the lumbar spine, Disk Dr. provides continous therapeutic relief from pain resulted from lumbar intervertebral disc herniation.
  • Air holes inserted to optimize the aeration flow. 100% cotton inner linning. Machine washable.
  • Deodorizes and kills bacteria (99.9% deodorization after 18 hours)
  • Clinical studies have been carried out at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Medicine, Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital by Professors Byungjik Kim and Shinwoo Park and their teams.
  • Disk Dr. Won the Gold Medal in the medical category at the INPEX SHOW, one of the most authoritative exhibitions for new inventions, held in Pittsburg (15-18 March 2002)
  • ISO 13485 Certification by SGS in England, (International Quality System Medical Devices)
  • This unique “air” belt is uniquely distributed by a UK company Ortho Medical Ltd which specialises in providing innovative orthopaedic and medical products for pain relief, support, rehabilitation and prevention,

    Please click here for more information and prices.


    • International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health; “The Reduction of Acute Low Back Pain Injuries by Use of Back Supports”; Kraus, J.F. et al, 1996.
    • University of California: Back Belts and Supports
    • Journal of the American Medical Association; “A Prospective Study of Back Belts for Prevention of Back Pain and Injury”; J T. Wassel; et al; 2000
    • Back Belts: Do They Prevent Injury? NIOSH Publication No. 94-127, Oct. 1996.
    • Back Belts: No “Support” from The Surgeon General or DoD. DoD Ergonomics Working Group, Issue 39, January 2005.

Clinical Studies of Disc Dr

Clinical studies for Disk Dr.  back support belt, back traction device
These studies have been carried out at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Medicine, Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital by professors Byungjik Kim and Shinwoo Park and their teams.

I. Introduction
This study into the performance of the efficacy of Disk Dr. after use by patients with low back pain has evaluated pain levels, radiographic changes and strength of both flexor and  extensor at the lumbar vertebrae by using an isokinetic evaluation device.

II. The subject and Methods of study
1. Patient Profile
22 patients with acute or chronic lumbago; age ranging from 19 to 58 with average age of 44, 8 patients in the age range of 50 to 59 years, 9 men and 13 women, 9 patients with herniated disc, 9 patients with acute lumbago and 4 patients with chronic lumbago.

2. Methods of the study
Firstly, Macnab’s criteria were used to examine changes of the pain. Secondly, radiographic imaging was used to analyze side views of the lumbar and sacral vertebrae, comparing with those photographed before wearing Disk Dr., and thirdly, a Cybex 6000 Trunk Extension Flexion (TEF) Unit was used to measure and analyze muscular strength of the flexor and the extensor at the lumbar vertebrae.

III. Results of the study
1. Changes in Pain States
Macnab’s criteria was used to evaluate the pain. “Excellent” grade is a state without pain, without any restrictions on movements and that makes it possible to get back to normal workings. “Good” grade is a state with pain sometimes, but possible to get back to normal workings. “Fair” grade means slight progress and “Poor” is just like as it is written. As a result, 85% of the patients have taken great favourable turns within 3 days showing 3 “Excellent” and 15 “Good” among the total of 22 patients.

2. Radiographic changes
According to the results from comparing x-rays of side views of lumbar vertebrae and sacral vertebrae before and after the application of Disk Dr. in 12-patient cases, the anterior curvature of lumbar vertebrae has been increased and he interval of intervertebral disk at the 4th and 5th segment of lumbar vertebrae has been broadened by 3mm average.

3. The evaluation of uniform motion
We have measured the muscular strength of lumbar vertebrae of randomly selected three persons among 12 patients by using Cybex 6000 TEF unit. According to the results from comparing the graphs measured before and after the application of Disk Dr. about the total joule at 60 angular velocity, maximum couple, maximum couple proportion to the weight and average power, we decided that Disk Dr. was useful to reinforce the muscular strength as it showed in the following graphs that the extensor muscle power remained longer.These examinations were made for two days in cosideration of the muscular fatigue. From this result, we could say that the radiographic increase of the anterior curvature of lumbar vertebrae was caused not only by physical body softness but also by strengthening the muscle power

IV. Conclusion
As a result, 85% of the patients have taken great favourable turns showing 3 “Excellent” and 15 “Good” among the total of 22 patients. After the application of Disk Doctor, we could confirm the fact that there was physical body softness between the segments of the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae and the motion of extensor lasted longer.These results were obtained from the various examinations about the efficiency of Disk Dr. presumed to play a efficient role in treating the acute & chronic lumbago patients

V. Efficacy and effect of Disk Dr.
Disk Dr. is presumed to have effects on the acute and chronic lumbago caused by following factors:

  • The acute & chronic sprain of lumbar vertebrae
  • Protruded intervertebral disc
  • Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis
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