Like i mentioned in another post, studies have shown that using kidney belts can leave you more prone to injury because they do not allow a full range of movement and thus other muscles have to compensate, muscles which are not strong enough and in some cases not meant for that kind of use. I would not use a kidney belt. A weight belt maybe...but why would you use a weight belt for snowmobiling
I use a back brace type deal that is for snowmobile use. I would not ride without it. I have ridden on trails that I could not hardly walk the next day and with the back brace I feel fine. Try it you might like it.
Used to use them all the time when i raced motocross, never use them on the sled though, never to seem to be sore after a hard ride. Except my shoulders after the first ride i think it's from the big power.
Some thoughts about "kidney belts"from a medical perspective.
1. They "increase the pressure" inside your abdomen, which "increases the support" of your spine. They do what muscles can't or won't do anymore.
2. Using them habitually does cause the abdominal muscles to weaken. You lose the ability to generate the force inside your abdomen to help support your spine and the main supports also begin to fail.
3. Like rocketman mentioned, if your spine can't flex, you are more prone to blowing out a disc in the event of a compression force. However, a weight belt serves the same function as a kidney belt.
The big question is..why are you having back pain? Injury? Age? Lack of strength in the abdominal area? (The ability to do 50 situps in a minute do not neccessarily indicate strong spinal muscles!! Even trail riders should do some spinal(trunk) strengthening exercises!
I started wearing a tek vest 2 years ago after a close encounter with a deer herd. They are not a problem once you get used to the compression they add to your chest.
Racing organizations Highly recommend the usage of kidney belts to prevent your internal organs from colliding and excessively bruising.
I have found that fatugue is much less of an issue with one on. Without one rough trails can really mess up your insides.
There are several types of kidney belts ranging from very stiff to not so stiff, I use a Thor kidney belt that is actually somewhat pliable. I Highly Recommend wearing one for health reasons.
After all you are participating in a very athletic activity, unless you only ride behind the groomer that is.
Along with a kidney belt, it would be a good idea to excersise. At least do some situps for a couple of minutes a day.
On the other hand, my Arctic Cat Snowpants has an elastic area sewn into it that acts similar to a kidney belt.
I am also curious if the tek vest provides any support in this area, If not, they should consider that as a product upgrade.
I can see if you wore a kidney belt all the time 24-7, having these problems. But wearing them riding only helps big time from the sudden jars you get from sucker bumps ect. I know since I've been wearing mine my back never bothers me.
I ended up using mine and loved it. I went on 2 rides at about 160 miles each and woke up feeling great in the morning. I know some of that was just me getting over the first ride of the season but I do think it helped. Too bad the season looks like its over. Its 40 degrees today in Houghton.
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