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Chronic lower back pain (lumbago) is the scourge of modern living, with 40% of the population suffering at some stage of their lives.
One of the most common causes of back pain is sciatica which results from a slipped disc (herniated disc) bulging and pressing on the sciatic nerve. The resultant inflammation and irritation of the nerve results in severe burning or shooting pain which often radiates down the leg.
Back pain is conventionally treated using pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, but sciatica treatment may also involve the use of steroid injections or the use of a back brace to support the lower back. In recent years taping techniques using Kinesio Tape have been shown to be helpful in muscle spasm and localised back pain.
Unlike an ankle support the anatomy of the back makes it more difficult to design a back brace.
Generally therefore, back braces are designed to give support to the lower back and reduce backache. Some like the Mueller back brace offer heat and compressive support to the lower back with the addition of a panel of rigid splints to offer a degree of structural support.
The sophistication of the design of the more complex back supports such as the Push Med Back Brace helps create a more rigid reinforcement for the spine and supporting muscles, and may be appropriate in more chronic back injuries.
Back injuries and neck injury in sport can contribute to up to 20% of all sports injuries. In contact sports the neck can be extremely vulnerable to injury, with the consequent serious risk of paralysis if first aid protocols are not in place, or inadequate equipment such as stretchers and cervical collars.
Gymnasts and fast bowlers in cricket are particularly prone to back injuries and attention must always be paid to technique in sports where the athletes may be vulnerable to injury.