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Rick Potter
07-23-2014, 1:00 PM
Any recommendations for a back brace, or certain type of back brace? When I do work leaning over slightly, like at the TS, it has ached for years, and my years are catching up to me.

Of course it has to be available in large sizes for my Santa Claus figure.

Rick Potter

Larry Frank
07-23-2014, 5:57 PM
I think it would be a good idea to see a doctor...orthopedic spine type....and find out exactly what is wrong. He can also fit you for a brace. IMHO it is better to know what is wrong and where it is going sooner than later.

Moses Yoder
07-23-2014, 6:41 PM
I would talk to a good chiropractor and then go to a doctor if he recommends it. Note, I am not a doctor, just a believer in chiropractics. Also leaning over for long periods of time is not good practice really, maybe figure out a different stance or different work process to avoid leaning. I know I need a chiropractic treatment if my back hurts from a dish washing session.

John M Wilson
07-23-2014, 7:04 PM
My 2 cents:

When starting up an auto assembly operation a few years ago, I was the leader of a group of 150 or so assemblers. Working the line every day, you develop a certain set of aches & pains, but generally get stronger in those areas that are most used. During our set up phase, we were working very irregularly: go like crazy for a few hours, then wait a few days for the next batch of prototype parts. This was rough on our (mostly) middle-aged bodies.

One day, a fellow came in wearing one of those apron style back braces that you see around (I see them a lot on Home Depot & Lowe's clerks, for some reason). Within a few days, it seemed like every other person had one.

The problem: While "helping" your back, these braces were re-distributing loads onto other muscles and body structures. They would feel good for a few days, and then the aches & pains would find another outlet. In the mean time, your normally toned core muscles had begun to atrophy from lack of use.

We had a team of trained ergonomists on staff, who were very good. When they saw the outbreak "unusual" of aches & pains, they investigated and got to the bottom of our back brace issue: If a person was nominally healthy, but out of shape from inactivity, these braces were preventing the natural "work hardening" that was supposed to happen. For those who had legitimate back issues, these self-fit braces were just masking the underlying issue, and sometimes made a bad thing worse.

Within a few weeks, most of the back braces disappeared.

My (admittedly non-medical) advice: The back is a very complicated mechanism, with lots of things working in harmony. If something is out-of-whack, an investment in a trained professional opinion may be worth the $$. Self-prescribed back braces may not be helpful in the long run, and may actually contribute to other problems.

Good luck either way!

Justin Ludwig
07-23-2014, 7:40 PM
There's a natural back brace called the stomach. It's cheap and affordable to make stronger and less heavy and most back problems fade away.

If you have degeneration or other maladies, see a doc.

Erik Loza
07-23-2014, 9:00 PM
I don't have an answer in terms of a back brace but here are things which really helped my semi-chronic lumbar pain....

-Sleeping on my side, rather than on my stomach (at the advice of my chiropractor).
-Seeing said chiropractor for adjustments and "active release" therapy on a somewhat regular basis.
-Regular use of a simple ice pack for my lowerback. Just do it while watching TV or in the office chair.
-Exercises designed to strengthen the lower back at the gym (ie "back raises" on a stationary machine). I can tell you that I definitely get flare-ups if I skip these for periods of time.

I don't think there is any one magic bullet for chronic back pain but doing many small things has helped me quite a bit. The brace never did anything for me, by the way. Best of luck.

Erik Loza
Minimax USA

Jim Matthews
07-24-2014, 8:03 AM
Is the table saw at, or above your belt line?

Val Kosmider
07-24-2014, 10:33 AM
For a back brace, Williams Flexion Brace is the answer. Basically it unloads the bottom of your spine and places the weight on your hips.

If you wish to go the exercise route, the McKenzie Method is a strong program designed to eliminate back pain by strengthening your body.

Both are very serious approaches to resolving back pain.

Rick Potter
07-24-2014, 2:37 PM
Thanks guys, for the info.

I have a lot of old injuries from work, and they are bothering me more as I age (71). I do bend and stretches to try and stay loose, and walking helps, but leaning over the sink, saw or whatever exacerbates them. You get used to pains in the usual places, then get surprised with some new ones when you overdo.

Val, I will ask my doctor about that brace when I see him.

Jim, my saw is raised 3 1/2", to 37 1/2". The top is 1/2" below my belly button. This works out much better for me than normal height. I am about 6' tall, used to be 6'1". My RAS table is at 42 1/2", and I love it there...just the right height for me.

Erik, Moses, I sleep on my side with pillows to hold up my arms (bad rotator cuffs). I went to a Chiropractor several times a week for several years, It helped at first, then tapered off, so I gave it up.

The stomach, ah yes, I agree, been dieting for 60 years, and I am afraid it is what it is. I come from a family of very large people, and I am one of the small ones. I even considered bariatric surgery, went to the doctors orientation and all. Decided that at my age, it probably is not worth it, especially since I know several people close to me that had it, and gained the weight back after a couple years.

What got me to ask the question was an infomercial for a 'bionic' back brace that would cure all my ills, make me pretty, and smart, all for only....., but wait, there's more...

Thanks again folks.

Rick P

Steve Peterson
07-24-2014, 9:46 PM
I don't have an answer in terms of a back brace but here are things which really helped my semi-chronic lumbar pain....

-Sleeping on my side, rather than on my stomach (at the advice of my chiropractor).
-Seeing said chiropractor for adjustments and "active release" therapy on a somewhat regular basis.
-Regular use of a simple ice pack for my lowerback. Just do it while watching TV or in the office chair.
-Exercises designed to strengthen the lower back at the gym (ie "back raises" on a stationary machine). I can tell you that I definitely get flare-ups if I skip these for periods of time.

I don't think there is any one magic bullet for chronic back pain but doing many small things has helped me quite a bit. The brace never did anything for me, by the way. Best of luck.

Erik Loza
Minimax USA

I would add one more item that helped me was to buy a really good mattress. I have always suffered occasional lower back pain from over-exerting. I would be in pain for about 4-5 days maybe once every two years. After we purchased a Temperpedic memory foam mattress, the pain goes away much quicker, usually in about 1 day.

Steve

Rich Engelhardt
07-25-2014, 7:08 AM
I wear a cheap wrap around from Harbor Freight sometimes.
http://www.harborfreight.com/support-belt-with-reflector-large-94235.html

It helps a lot on those days your back is just acting grumpy.

Getting rid of the "Dunlop" on the front though is the real cure for the pain in the back.
(Dunlop = where your belly done lop over your belt)

Wade Lippman
07-25-2014, 10:06 AM
There's a natural back brace called the stomach. It's cheap and affordable to make stronger and less heavy and most back problems fade away.

If you have degeneration or other maladies, see a doc.
That is true, but for many people it would be just as easy to fly as to loose significant weight.

BTW, Chiropractic has never been shown to do anything, except anecdotally.

David Weaver
07-25-2014, 10:47 AM
I would go to a PCP and ask if you can get physical therapy (rather than going to a chiropractor). You're much more likely to get an actual solution rather than a need to go in for "adjustments" on a regular basis indefinitely.

Erik Loza
07-25-2014, 11:36 AM
I would add one more item that helped me was to buy a really good mattress. I have always suffered occasional lower back pain from over-exerting. I would be in pain for about 4-5 days maybe once every two years. After we purchased a Temperpedic memory foam mattress, the pain goes away much quicker, usually in about 1 day.

Steve

+1 for the Tempurpedic. Forgot to mention that we've had one of those for about five years now. Wife and I have mixed feeling about it. We both agree that it is great for the back they are hot and she is a hot sleeper. We purchased an add-on "cool topper" which works pretty well.

We have an inexpensive box-spring mattress in the guest bedroom that actually feels good on my back. It's on the firm side, which is probably the key. Firmer seems to be better than the other way around. For me anyhow.

Erik Loza
Minimax USA

Erik Loza
07-25-2014, 11:55 AM
...BTW, Chiropractic has never been shown to do anything, except anecdotally.

You know, my experience has been to the contrary. I have an old injury that causes one of my ribs to dislocate from the spine upon occasion. Twisting a certain way while trying to pull or drag something heavy does it. Depending on how severe the dislocation is, it can be painful enough to hurt every time I breathe. The chiropractor does active-release massage to relax the muscle knot (which occurs when the muscle spasms) and then will pop the rib back into place. Our regular GP just said "Go see a chiropractor" when this first happened. Like everything, there are probably good and bad chiro's but mine has helped me a lot.

Erik Loza
Minimax USA

Moses Yoder
07-26-2014, 5:33 AM
BTW, Chiropractic has never been shown to do anything, except anecdotally.

It has never been conclusively proven that smoking causes cancer either. I know that for me a chiropractor is the answer when my vertebrae are out of place which causes pain in some other location. Early this year my hip was hurting, fixed by a chiropractor. Two weeks ago my shoulder was hurting so bad I missed a day of work, put back in place by a chiropractor. I have been seeing the same chiropractor since I was about 10 years old, maybe twice a year, mostly for very severe headaches that are eliminated almost instantly.

Phil Thien
07-26-2014, 9:36 AM
I know I'm going to sound like a broken record, but a vitamin D deficiency can lead to all sorts of back pain. I'm the poster child for that. The difference in my back after starting vitamin D supplements is miraculous.

Here is an interesting read:

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-chronic-pain-link

And an except:

However, Plotnikoff published a study in 2003 on 150 people in Minneapolis who came to a community health clinic complaining of chronic pain. Virtually all of them -- 93% -- had extremely low vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D blood levels of 30-40 ng/mL are considered ideal. The average level in Plotnikoff’s study was about 12, and some people had vitamin D levels so low they were undetectable.

“The group with the lowest levels of vitamin D were white women of childbearing age,” Plotnikoff says. “Most of them were dismissed by their doctors as depressed or whiners. They attributed their pain to an inability to manage stress. But after we replenished their vitamin D, these people said, ‘Woo hoo! I’ve got my life back!’”

Plotnikoff notes that vitamin D is a hormone. "Every tissue in our bodies has [vitamin] D receptors, including all bones, muscles, immune cells, and brain cells," he says.

And in March 2009, researchers at the Mayo Clinic published a study showing that patients with inadequate vitamin D levels who were taking narcotic pain drugs required nearly twice as much medication to control their pain as did patients with adequate D levels


I was turned onto the miracle of Vitamin D supplements by a customer that happens to be an ER physician. He noticed me favoring my back and sat me down at my PC and started showing me all the research. It was winter, so he knew I wasn't spending lots of time outside. I told him (he asked) if I drink milk (answer: not really, coffee, water, soda). So he told me to take vitamin D supplements and within months the difference was remarkable.

John T Barker
07-27-2014, 10:00 PM
Time for my four cents.
1.) Pain is a sign that something is wrong. If it reoccurs there is a good chance of injury. A quick x-ray can tell a lot and should be what your doc recommends. Manipulations by a chiropractor without knowing if you have an injury will not help in the long run.
2.) Braces do not help you. Oddly my orthopedist recommended a brace while my physical therapist pointed out that braces do what your body should be doing. Using a brace allows the muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons to not do their job and get weaker. I believe the pt's. Lesson, believe the best experts but learn how to figure out who they are.
3.) The muscles you need to work to help you lower back are what are commonly referred to as the core. These muscles are deeper than the abdominals. I am working them when I go to physical therapy. Assorted leg lifts (one at a time), body bridges, and a couple of others I don't even know how to describe. Try doing a slight squat and walking sideways with a big rubber band around your ankles. I'm getting buns of steel.
4.) Don't assume you can't change your body. Losing weight will let you live longer. Lower blood pressure, less stress on all parts of your body and less back pain. I bet your family would like you around and I'm sure there's a lot of woodworking you'd like to do. Cut out the bad foods and exercise a bit each day. It will happen.
5.) Heat and stretching. Be careful with stretching so you don't hurt anything. Oddly most of the stretching I am told to do is in the legs and butt. They tell me that the muscles will pull the hips out of whack which then messes up the spine.

The best part of going to physical therapy is getting your back and butt massaged by a cute pt. I ask her to be rough and she slaps my face...it's worth the money.

John T Barker
07-28-2014, 3:16 PM
Oh, and you probably have a healthy case of arthritis...like everyone else our age.