Medical Question #2

MEDICAL ADVICE FROM

DR. ANN BEAUMONT


Q: I have problems with my back. It is prone to totally lock up on me, requiring days of bed rest and cold therapy to ease the pain. (In fact, I am on the downside of a "back attack" right now, and am finally able to go back to work.) My doctor has not been able to find any spinal defect that might cause my back to lock up. I do, however, work at a job (I am a bus attendant on a 'special needs' bus) that requires some bending (to secure wheelchairs) and also pushing wheelchairs on & off an electric lift.

Would a well-constructed corset help? I am not looking to modify my waist by any great means, just to support. I am also a diabetic, although I am quite able to keep my blood sugar within "normal" limits with change of diet alone. (Although I have lost about 40 lbs since the diagnosis of diabetes.) --- Cat (12/28/99
).

A: You describe typical back spasms, which result from improper posture and movements. The problem is self-aggravating, as the discomfort tends to promote the odd and incorrect posture.  Wearing a reinforced posture belt will increase IAP (intra-abdominal pressure), which will relieve the strain on the back muscles, while at the same time preventing bending at the waist, allowing you to gradually restore proper posture and muscle tone. A conventional boned abdominal binder would certainly help, but there are also various corset makers capable of constructing a suitable garment for you. You should specify a 2" smaller waist size, allowing for sufficient IAP.

(12/28/99)-2


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