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Why can't I wear a back support belt all the time?

Q: I'm using a back support belt for my intense low back pain. It helps so much. Why can't I wear it all the time?

A: That's not a good idea. A support belt can improve your posture and limit your movements, which can help calm pain. It can create abdominal pressure, easing the pressure around painful discs in the lower back. But if your wear the brace all the time, the muscles of your abdomen and lower back start to rely on it. Eventually they atrophy--they get weaker and smaller. This will just make your problem worse.

So follow your doctor's or therapist's guidelines about when and how much to use your brace. Take it off to do stretches and other exercises. And once your pain starts to go away, you should use your brace less.