Back supports can temporarily assist in the healing process. But they are rarely needed beyond the acute stage (first 3-7 days).
Following a low back strain, the muscles will exhibit some degree of spasm. Spasm is your body's attempt to “splint” the lumbar spine in order to prevent any further damage. It persists for several days to assure the proper time frame needed for nature to perform its miraculous healing.
When you use lower back supports beyond the initial 72 to 96 hours, you are restricting the normal healing process. Muscles need to be used in the normal fashion following the acute stage so that scar tissue building cells, known as fibroblasts, are encouraged to develop in an orientation that allows for normal range of motion.
If motion is restricted, the scar tissue will be laid down in a haphazard orientation that will result in a scar that is more restrictive and less functional. This will further create a chronic state of muscle tightness and joint fixation. Now your lower back will have a reduced range of motion, stiffness and recurring myofascial pain.
If you use any support for back pain beyond the acute stage, you will end up creating a weaker low back. Now the support has become a crutch. At this stage it is not only unnecessary, it now becomes destructive as well.
Research has demonstrated that long-term use of supports is detrimental, as is prolonged rest, and will increase your likelihood of developing a chronically weak, dysfunctional and painful low back.
The rules to follow with supports are: