The use of back belts for preventing low-back pain (LBP) is a point of hot debate. Now a report in today's Journal of the American Medical Association supports what many previous studies have found: back belts don't avert LBP.
In the largest prospective cohort study of back belt use to date, 6,311 newly-hired material-handling workers were followed for six months. Investigators reviewed injury claims and interviewed the subjects about their back-pain experience at the study's onset, and at six-month follow-up.
Findings showed that "neither frequent back belt use nor a belt-requirement store policy was significantly associated with back injury claim rates or self-reported back pain.JAMA ;284:2727-32.