Lumbar corsets can be rigid or soft. They provide support for the lumbar spine, help reduce the load on back muscles, and are helpful during episodes of acute and chronic low back pain. They are also used for support after spine surgery such as discectomy, and fusion surgeries. Patients should avoid becoming dependent on the lumbar corsets. If they are used for prolonged periods (weeks and months), the back muscles may begin to weaken and cause a patient to be more prone to reinjury.
A corset brace is sometimes recommended to limit motion of the spine after a lumbar fusion. The brace helps limit motion in the back while the fusion sets up by not allowing the patient to bend forward. Bone grows better where there is little motion, and especially in cases where no instrumentation (devices to aid in stability) is used, a back brace can be helpful in obtaining a solid fusion.
People with jobs that involve heavy lifting also sometimes wear corset braces. These braces essentially work by limiting motion and acting as a reminder to use proper body posture when lifting. With the corset brace, one needs to lift with the back straight (not bent forward), using the large leg muscles to do the lifting.