Background: Lumbar supports are used in the management of low back pain (LBP). Although various types of lumbar supports are available, insufficient evidence exists regarding their effectiveness. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of two types of lumbar support on postural change and muscle fatigue in a prospective longitudinal study.
Methods: A total of 144 subjects (9 men and 135 women) with LBP were enrolled in this study. Subjects were divided into 2 groups: a conventional lumbosacral support (LS) group and a wear-type support (SW) group. They filled in questionnaires that included the Short Form 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36), the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ), and a questionnaire that evaluated the severity of LBP at baseline, 1, 2, and 3 months. The first 40 enrolled subjects were investigated for muscle fatigue and walking efficacy during a gait-loading test, and posture at baseline, 1 month, and 3 months.
Results: The intensity of LBP and the number of days with LBP significantly decreased over time in both groups. The decrease was similar in both groups at each time point. Wearing either support for 3 months did not induce erector spinae muscle fatigue. Furthermore, walking efficacy improved but spinal alignment was not affected by either support. Subjects in the SW group reported that the support was comfortable to wear for long periods, while subjects in the LS group mentioned that the LS relieved LBP by tightly supporting the lower back.
Conclusion: Both types of support reduced mild LBP and improved walking efficiency without causing muscle fatigue.