Studies show that use of a lumbar support belt does not provide any benefit in terms of preventing or treating back pain, according to the National Institutes of Health. There may be some risk of causing or aggravating back pain with the use of these belts, due to the back muscles weakening from lack of use. Some anecdotal worker reports suggest a benefit to lumbar support belts when accompanied by worker training and ergonomic awareness education.
Tips to keep the back healthy include practicing good posture when sitting or standing at work; following a healthy diet and exercise regimen to prevent weight gain that may stress the lower back; keeping work surfaces at a comfortable height to prevent slouching; using chairs with good lumbar support or placing a pillow behind the back while sitting; and wearing comfortable shoes with low heels, suggests the NIH.
To avoid back strain when lifting heavy items, it helps to lift from the knees while pulling stomach muscles in and keeping the back straight, says the NIH. Prior to exercise or other strenuous activity, people with back pain should carefully stretch and warm up their muscles. Exercise should be age-appropriate with low impact. Sleeping on one's side with knees pulled up to the fetal position, and use of a firm mattress, can relieve spinal pressure and open up the joints of the back.