Lower Back Pain Relief: 5 Devices that Work

Medically reviewed by Beth Holloway, RN, M. Ed,
April 23rd, 2020

Is your back hurting? You are not the only one. Back pain is a widespread condition which affects millions of people on a daily basis. 

Depending on your symptoms, medical devices such as posture correctors or heat packs can help ease your pain. They all work in different ways, but share a common goal of easing discomfort. 

The number of options can be overwhelming, so here are six effective devices, recommended by experts. 

Research-based lower back pain relief devices:

  1. Heat wraps

  2. TENS devices

  3. Lumbosacral braces

  4. Posture correctors

  5. Shoe insoles

Heat Devices

There are many kinds of heat therapy available. These include packs, disposable wraps, electric pads, and more. Thermacare heatwraps are one common example.

Why it’s beneficial:

Heat therapy is very effective in treating muscle pain or soreness. When applied to the skin, heat promotes blood flow. This may aid with healing and relaxation. 

In two trials with 258 participants with both acute and subacute low back pain, the studies found that heat therapy and exercise reduced pain after five days in both groups. 

Precautions:

Do not apply heat to broken skin. Check with your doctor before using heat therapy if you have diabetes, blood vessel problems, or multiple sclerosis (MS). Use all heat treatments with caution to avoid burning or aggravating the skin. 

 

Lumbosacral (Back) Braces

Also known as a back brace, a lumbosacral brace helps to provide support, lessen pain, and prevent further injury.

Depending on the back injury or condition, back braces range in composition, size, and type. They address a range of different conditions, from muscle strains to post-surgical healing.

Why it’s beneficial: 

When used correctly, lumbosacral braces can increase function during daily activity. One trial looked at the use of elastic belts as a treatment option for acute back pain. Results showed a reduced need for pain medication and improved functioning. 

Lumbosacral braces are safe for most people to use. If you have had a recent back injury such as a herniated disk, speak with a medical professional before use.  

Posture Correctors

Posture correctors provide assistance throughout your day to help keep your back in a better position.

Why it’s beneficial:

Poor posture means the back is not in a natural, neutral position. This puts stress on the muscles and other structures of the back. A posture corrector helps keep the back in a better position.

Posture correctors were found to improve neck, shoulder, and fewer upper and lower back symptoms in workers in Iran. Study participants were also less inclined to be tired and more productive throughout the day. 

Posture correctors are safe for most people to use. 

TENS Units

Also known as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulations (TENS) Units.

Why it’s beneficial:

TENS devices use low-voltage electrical pulses to disrupt pain signals. 

A TENS unit offers a lot of customizable options, allowing you to personalize your therapy. They are generally non-invasive, small, portable, and discreet. Evidence shows the treatment of chronic low back pain with TENS produced significant pain reduction. 

Precautions:

Do not use a TENS device if you’re pregnant, if you have a seizure disorder, or heart condition.

Shoe Insoles

Shoe insoles, also called shoe inserts, are put into shoes to provide cushioning and support. They are usually made of gel but can be sourced from other materials depending on their purpose. 

Why it’s beneficial: 

Evidence supports the idea that improper foot alignment -- such as foot overpronation, when the ankle turns inward and the foot turns outward -- is associated with mechanical lower back pain. 

Growing evidence also supports the use of foot insoles and orthotics for the management of lower back pain. The specific mechanism by which foot insoles help with back pain relief remains unclear; however, the foot insoles' properties of shock absorption, cushioning, and mechanical support seem to account for their therapeutic effects.

Get Started Today 

Medical devices can be an excellent option for those dealing with low back pain. Heat wraps, a TENS device, or even a simple solution such as shoe insoles can make a world of difference.

Although you do not need a prescription for these products, speak with a medical professional before starting any new treatment.

We understand that no two people have the same exact needs. That’s why we build personalized treatment plans for our clients. 

Take our back pain quiz now and get started on yours today.