Dear Patients,

As many of you know, I am always hesitant about braces and immobilizing joints. If you take away movement from one area, the surrounding joints naturally have to endure more stress. So let’s take a look at back belts (typically used when weight lifting) as an example of the potential downsides of immobilizing a joint.

1. Those who have never had a previous back injury appeared to have no additional protective benefit from wearing a belt.

2. Those who are injured while wearing a belt seemed to risk a more severe injury.

3. Back belts tend to give people the perception they can lift more and people often think that the back belts in fact will enable them to lift more.

4. Back belts appear to increase intra-abdominal pressure and blood pressure.

5. Back belts change the lifting styles of some people to either decrease the load on the spine or increase the load on the spine.

In summary, given the assets and liabilities of wearing a back belt, I do not recommend them for healthy individuals and routine work or exercise participation. However, the temporary prescription of belts may help some individual workers to return to work. The exception to this recommendation is for extreme athletic lifting. Here, belts are not used to enhance health but instead, to lift more weight, and although I would preference the athlete to lift what their own natural core can handle, a belt here might be their preference.

Nature’s back belt, the abdominal hoop and lumbodorsal fascia, is my recommendation. The existence of the abdominal hoop in the body is proven by the activation of the latissimus dorsi and deep abdominal oblique muscles. The bottom line is we all have a back belt, we simply must develop it.


Dr. Todd Elwert
Todd Elwert Chiropractic
Cincinnati, OH Chiropractor