Sometimes after back injury or surgery to the abdomen, doctors may recommend the use of an abdominal binder. Though there are many variations on this piece of medical equipment, it can be said that most are large pieces of somewhat elasticized fabric that fit snugly around the abdomen and the upper hips. Most feature an attachment of some kind, made of materials like Velcro® that allow for slight adjustment of the binder for different sized people.
When people have suffered minor lower back injuries or have significant lower back pain, doctors or related medical professionals like chiropractors, can prescribe an abdominal binder. Usually, they simply ask patients to pick one up from a local drug store where several types may be available. It’s thought that the compression on the back helps to keep the back in better position, and it also supports the abdomen. This may help reduce some back pain and promote more ergonomic sitting and standing positions. Binders in drugs stores do come in several sizes to accommodate people with diverse waist and hip measurements.
After a number of surgical procedures, surgeons may also advocate the use of an abdominal binder. The compression of the binder is thought to help keep organs in place and promote better breathing function. Hospitals generally choose binders that allow for putting in drainage tubes to surgery sites if needed. Sometimes the surgical area is merely wrapped closely in stretchy fabrics or fabrics like gauze and this material can be cut in places to allow for tube placement if needed.
Other surgical procedures that may necessitate the use of an abdominal binder include things like liposuction. Alternately sometimes women will wear one after a Cesarean section, or after natural childbirth to help aid in compression. Additional uses for the binder could be to help with abdominal or pelvic cramping, bladder problems, Braxton-Hicks contractions, or to minimize movement of hernias prior to surgery. In regard to binders used during pregnancy, most are much smaller in width and fit underneath the belly, and these may help provide additional support for stomach and back muscles that are put under strain as pregnancy progresses.
On rare occasions, people wear an abdominal binder as a means of pulling in the stomach for purely cosmetic reasons. Girdles or other support garments may be more effective than binders, but some people may still prefer binders. It is important than binders not be attached so tightly that they inhibit breathing, and in this respect foundation underwear and similar garments might be a better choice. Moreover they tend to be less bulky under clothing.