The 10 Best Back Braces
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Whether you are looking for a solution for nagging pain or are recovering from an injury, these back braces can provide a bit of support that will make all the difference. Even if you aren't currently experiencing problems with your spine, these comfortable — and often very affordable — devices are a good preventative measure if you stand or lift a lot during the day. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 09, 2020:
There are plenty of reasons to use a back brace, from stabilizing you while lifting heavy objects to posture correction to reducing the load on your spine while you stand or sit all day. That being said, relying too heavily on a brace can have adverse consequences, and wearing an ill-fitting one may do more harm than good. It's best to run the model you have in mind past your doctor to ensure it will help rather than hurt you. And if you're here looking for pregnancy relief (again with the blessing of your physician), you might want to check out these pregnancy support bands as well.
Today we removed the Comfort Posture Corrector in favor of the more streamlined Snoky Straightener, which has a smarter design and is much easier to put on. It can feel a little restrictive under the armpits at first, but many users note that over time, as your posture corrects and when worn properly, it's no longer very bothersome.
Also joining the ranks is the Sparthos Immediate, which is a slim, lightweight option similar to the Aveston Lower but with a few more features and a bit higher of a price. The Sparthos is a solid everyday option with a removable lumbar pad that moves with you, making it handy for physical activities or those who work on their feet or lift heavy objects often.
We didn't want to leave desk workers out, so we added the BetterBack Correct as well. A unit that was featured on the show Shark Tank, the BetterBack is aimed at preventing back pain and mitigating existing aches by aligning the spine and facilitating good posture while you sit. It makes any chair ergonomic and offers solid lower back support. It also folds up for portability. However, despite reports that it's relatively comfortable to wear, it's still a bit bulky, and those with bad knees might not like the idea of having straps placed around them.
July 05, 2019:
There are plenty of back braces to select from at this time, although we'd like to point out that these aren't a cure-all, so you may wish to consult your doctor before using one regularly. That said, we still think the BraceUp Heavy Lifting, Aspen Quikdraw Pro, and Aveston Lower remain fine choices, with the third probably being the least durable of the three. It's one of the slimmest and least obtrusive options, however, so it's a good choice for those who won't necessarily rely on it for everyday use. We added the Mueller 255 and King of Kings Relief, as well, both full-featured models that provide relief for a variety of ailments. The King of Kings model is not exactly intuitive, though. For this choice, and for the Comfort Posture Corrector, you might need an extra pair of helping hands to reach a properly adjusted, comfortable state.
The Ultimate Back Roller If your doctor thinks it wise, it may be a good idea to use something like The Ultimate Back Roller in conjunction with your back brace. Standing at 11 inches tall and sporting molded EVA foam nubs, it can be used to massage your muscles and relieve pressure. It's wide enough that it won't tip over during use and has a special gap in the center to keep pressure off your spine. acumobility.com
Sharper Image 4-in-1 Adjustable Lower back pain sufferers can find the relief they need in the Sharper Image 4-in-1 Adjustable, which lives up to its name by providing a back panel that is able to accommodate various body types. Plus, it is vented to keep you from becoming overheated and sweaty. sharperimage.com
Who Needs To Use A Back Brace?
Back braces give structure to the spine and keep the bones and muscles in their correct position, which enables healing with fewer complications.
Back pain is a common occurrence throughout the world. The National Institute of Health estimates that 80 percent of adults will experience back pain at one point in their life. While occasional back pain is little more than a nuisance, chronic back pain can drastically affect the way a person lives. Untreated chronic back pain can cause other disharmony in the body, and may have debilitating effects over time.
There are certain professions more linked to back pain than others. Workers who are required to do heavy lifting throughout the day, such as people who work on a construction site or in a warehouse, are more at risk for injury and chronic back pain. Slight irregularities in lifting techniques can lead to problems over time if they are left uncorrected. Back braces allow these workers to feel when their back is in the correct position to help them avoid injuries.
Back braces are also perfect for anyone recovering from an injury sustained either in the line of work or through a traumatic event. The days immediately following a back injury are extremely important for proper treatment. The injured party should see a doctor as soon as possible after the injury for a proper diagnosis, and should begin using a back brace immediately after the event to start the healing process. Back braces give structure to the spine and keep the bones and muscles in their correct position, which enables healing with fewer complications.
Correcting posture with a back brace may also be helpful for people with depression or self-esteem issues. A study from the University of Auckland found that people who were depressed were less likely to display signs of depression when they corrected their posture. This is not a quick fix for serious symptoms, but multiple studies suggest that improving poor posture may boost the mood and reduce anxiety levels.
Choosing the Best Back Brace
You may base the decision to get a back brace on many factors. Work, injuries, and disorders are all likely reasons to get a back brace. However, it is important to understand which one to get, as there are a few things to be considered before making a purchase. The most important thing to consider when purchasing a back brace is the function the brace will have. Back braces are often associated with lower back pain, but a user struggling with upper back symptoms such as myofascial pain syndrome and shoulder problems will require a completely different type of back brace. Back braces often have a specific design and supports intended to target and protect a specific area of the back. For this reason it is important to compare the user's needs with the type of support a specific model offers.
This can be an important factor if the user wears the brace regularly or under tight-fitting clothing.
Another thing to consider is how active the user will be while wearing the brace. If the brace is just to influence posture while sitting at their computer desk, a person may opt for a sturdier, bulkier brace. People who actively work on their feet all day and build up a sweat will generally favor a more lightweight and flexible brace that allows partial movement, but still supports their actions. They may also seek out a back brace made with breathable materials or air vents to keep the sweat from seeping into their skin and causing heat rash.
Certain back braces also have a slimmer profile than others. This can be an important factor if the user wears the brace regularly or under tight-fitting clothing. People who are recovering from an injury and are required to wear a brace will usually choose a supportive yet discreet option. This helps the wearer get back to their daily life without having to answer the same few questions that invariably come up when others notice a back brace.
The Benefits Of Back Braces
Back braces are not just for people who have sustained an injury. Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States. With this in mind, the correct use of back braces should also be seen as a very important step in preventing or treating chronic back pain. Chronic back pain is often treated with a combination of physical therapy and opiate pain medications. Pain medications can temporarily relieve chronic pain, but they come with their own drawbacks. Opiate pain medications may be addictive, and do very little for the body other than to mask the pain. On the other hand, intervention methods such as back braces and physical therapy both help to strengthen and structure the muscles and bones in the back.
Using a preventative treatment method such as a back brace requires foresight, as it is not easy to judge the impact that years of physical stress will have on the back.
Using a back brace is also a non-surgical way to provide structure to the spine. In cases of chronic and severe back pain, surgery is often seen as an emergency option to treat debilitating pain. Surgery may be unavoidable in some cases. Yet preventative treatments, like back braces and chiropractic care, go a long way towards avoiding invasive surgeries and the high risk of complications they pose to some patients. Of course, a back brace is also helpful after a surgery or traumatic injury. Wearing a back brace during this time can help keep the spine stable and promote healing.
Back braces are very inexpensive compared to the medical costs of other forms of treating chronic back pain, incorrect posture, or problems with the spine. They are great tools to begin using very early on as an adult. Using a preventative treatment method such as a back brace requires foresight, as it is not easy to judge the impact that years of physical stress will have on the back. Rather than seeing back braces as tools that are unnecessary for a young, healthy back, they should be seen as necessary investments to keep that back healthy. Modern back braces have an additional benefit in that they have a superior design. New materials and technologies have helped create braces that are thinner, stronger, and lighter than ever before. High-quality plastics and strong fibers make modern back braces as beneficial as possible without compromising on comfort.