Millions of people around the world suffer from lower back pain. Luckily, back braces are extremely effective for alleviating that pain so you can get back to your normal day to day life. Back braces are critical for anyone who has suffered a back injury, has mildly irritated their back, or has undergone surgery.
In this guide, we’ll not only walk you through the different types of back brace but also list our favorites. We’re absolutely positive that one of the back braces below will be the perfect remedy for your back pain. We’ll also cover frequently asked questions and topics about back braces.
- Frequently Asked Questions About Back Braces
- What’s the Best Back Brace?
- Common Types of Back Injuries
Frequently Asked Questions About Back Braces
What are the types of back brace?
There are two main types of back brace: “corset braces” and “rigid braces”.
Corset braces are primarily used for lower back pain. These look very similar to the common corset popular with women and are made of either cotton or nylon. This type of back brace is tightened using laces or strings.
Rigid braces are just that – highly inflexible. They prevent your spine from jostling around. Holding your spine in place prevents inflammation, which both causes acute pain and keeps your pain from going away. Whereas corset braces are made of cotton or nylon, rigid braces are usually made of hard plastic to ensure great support.
What level of support is right for me?
Understanding the nature of your injury and how you’ll be wearing your brace are two important factors for determining what type of brace you need. Serious injuries like spinal fractures or breaks require the highest levels of support. Rigid braces are best here — they prevent almost all movement and secure your back in one position. On the other hand, if you have a more minor injury like a back strain or muscle pull, corset-style back braces are more appropriate. They are more flexible while still providing palliative support.
Why do people use back braces?
People wear back braces for many reasons:
Reducing Pain: It’s no secret that back braces help relieve back pain. In fact, many people whose jobs require hard physical labor (think construction workers, mechanics, and farm workers) wear back braces after the workday to prevent the onset of back pain. Some even wear back braces during the workday to proactively prevent back pain.
Mobility: Knock on wood, if you suffer a back injury you’ll find it’s impossible to get up and move around without agonizing pain. Using a rigid back brace can prevent acute back pain after an injury occurs, allowing you to get back to your normal daily life. Not only does your back brace help you regain mobility, but it can also keep you from re-injury.
Back Support (duh): People buy braces to increase the amount of support in the back. Depending on the nature of your injury, you might need a little support or a lot of support. Back braces can give you just the right amount. But be careful – choosing low-support brace for a major injury like a fracture can cause further injury. Always choose the appropriate brace for your injury.
Aiding the Healing Process: If you break your arm, you wear a cast to ensure the bone heals correctly. If your arm isn’t fixed in one position, your arm might heal unevenly. The same is true of your back. Braces and supports can help hold your back in one position so that you heal evenly.
Factors To Consider In Choosing A Back Brace
There are four key factors to think about when choosing your perfect back brace. You should consider the factors listed below:
Amount of Support: The nature of your injury will determine the amount of support you need. A fracture or other serious injury requires a rigid brace, while minor injuries or preventative action requires corset-style braces. Always make sure you’re wearing a brace that provides the appropriate amount of support.
Durability: Not all braces are made equal. If you have a chronic injury and plan to wear your brace long-term, you’ll need a brace that will stand the test of time. On the other hand, if you’re only planning to wear the brace for a short while, you might not need the most durable (and thus more expensive) brace.
Materials & Breathability: As we discussed above, rigid braces are made of plastic while corset braces are made of cotton or nylon. If you’re using your brace while playing sports or during hard labor, you’ll want to choose a brace that is machine washable and breathable. On the other hand, if you’ll only be wearing the brace while you sleep, you might not need a brace made of washable material.
Proper Fit: You can’t wear a brace that doesn’t fit properly. Some braces are made specifically for big guys while others are made for elders or women. When you buy a brace online, you’ll need to try it on and not be afraid to return it if it’s not absolutely perfect.
Below, you’ll find some of our favorite back braces on the market today.
What’s the Best Back Brace?
Mueller 255 Lumbar Support with Removable Pads
Mueller’s back brace is available in two sizes and can fit waists from 28 inches all the way up to 70 inches. The Mueller 255 works best for alleviating pain from arthritis. It’s also popular among weightlifters who need a little extra back support when doing things like deadlifts and barbell rows. There are two features inside this back brace that we want to call out. First, this back brace includes steel framing to allow for better back support. Second, there’s a moulded plastic frame that keeps the brace from jostling around or distorting.
Whereas many braces are single-layered, the Mueller 255 back brace provides two layers to double up on the support. We also love this back brace because it has super-adjustable straps to accommodate waists and body shapes of all sizes. Indeed, this back brace offers excellent support and versatility.
BraceUp Stabilizing Lower Back Brace & Support Belt
This is compression back brace is popular among athletes and people with physically demanding jobs because it offers great support while also allowing a wide range of motion. Durable, breathable, and lightweight, this brace is ideal for people with minor injuries or people who just want a little extra support while working out. Its mesh construction and adjustable straps allow for excellent breathability.
This back brace has dual straps which are easy to adjust on the fly. If your workday or workout requires various levels of support, this dynamic back brace will suit you perfectly.
Flexguard Posture Corrector
Flexguard’s posture correcting back brace is great for people who have poor posture that has caused chronic back pain. This back support helps the user correct their posture by training the back muscles and spine to gradually return to a normal, healthy posture. With this posture corrector, you also get a handy guide with tips and posture-correcting back exercises.
Whereas other back braces are more rigid and inflexible, Flexguard’s posture corrector is fully breathable and doesn’t limit the range of motion in the arms/shoulders. This brace is available in many sizes that make it appropriate for people between 80 to 230 lbs. One common issue with back braces is that the shoulder straps can cause skin irritation and discomfort. Not the case with this corrector, which has padding in the shoulders to prevent discomfort. This item is perfect for people with posture issues.
AidBrace Support Belt
The AidBrace Support Belt sits around the waist to provide a comfortable fit. Like other braces in our guide, this brace is breathable and has vents to allow air to escape, keeping you cool during physical activity. The support belt features a removable lumbar pad that you can remove when you don’t need extra support.
You can adjust this support belt using its dual side straps. AidBrace’s support belt is built well, with an internal frame mechanism that keeps the belt in place. This belt comes in three different sizes, great for waists between 26 and 58 inches. Wearable either under or over clothing, this belt can be worn secretly if needed. It’s super comfortable and made for all-day use.
Hyper-X TLSO Jewett Hyperextension Back Brace
This is the first TLSO back brace on our list. It’s specifically intended for people who have injuries related to hyperextension. It works by preventing the full range of motion while bending back and forth. This unit also helps generally stabilize the spine, and can be used for degenerative bone conditions, fractures, and more.
The Hyper-X TLSO back brace comes in various different sizes and lengths. Adjusting this back brace is easy, and thoughtfully-placed screws allow for modular adjustments.
TLSO Thoracic Full Back Brace
This back brace is no joke – it reminds us of Bane from DC Comics. It’s perfect for people with low-to-mid back injuries whose recovery requires that the spine holds in a straight position. The TLSO Thoracic brace stands out because it will, without fail, prevent any motion whatsoever. The pulleys in this brace help increase or decrease abdominal compression levels to reduce spinal pressure.
The TLSO brace might not look comfy, but it really is! It’s breathable, well-padded, and thoughtfully constructed for maximum comfort and support. It also has removable side panels so you can keep wearing it through multiple stages of your recovery. This unit is commonly used for injuries related to poor posture, kyphosis, back fractures, and more.
Comfort Compression Back Brace
Here’s a great back brace for lower back pain sufferers. The Comfort Compression Back Brace is popular among people who need extra support during physical labor, workout sessions, and even daily life. You can purchase this back brace in many different sizes. The dual pulley system allows for easy adjustment, so you can find your perfect level of compression.
This back brace is fully breathable, machine washable, and won’t irritate the skin. Some people use this back brace like a waist trimmer, as it can be worn both over or under clothes. The manufacturer also notes that it’s best for disc-related injuries and healing fractures.
The lumbosacral corset provides great back support for people who have osteoporosis or who have suffered a fractured or dislocated vertebrae. This corset style back brace is rigid yet ergonomic; it has a hard, rigid plate for maximum back support and adjustable straps for comfort.
The straps featured on this corset have a lot of “give”, helping wearers of all sizes achieve a snug yet comfortable fit. Additionally, the lumbosacral corset stands out because of its excellent abdominal coverage. This is a perfect back support for people who have suffered more serious injuries.
Common Types of Back Injuries
Back injuries can occur very easily, especially as we get older. The human back consists of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons which are found all the way from the neck to the pelvis. If you injure any of these tissues, it can result in a back injury. This can easily happen if you’re lifting weights, playing sports, performing normal house chores, or if you get into a car accident at any speed.
When most people get back injuries and pains, they occur in the lower back region. Here are the common types of back injuries:
1) Strains and Sprains
A torn ligament or overstretched muscle in the back will cause inflammation around the back muscles. This produces a back spasm which is very painful and makes it harder to move. The spasm is the body’s way of protecting the joints and ligaments from sustaining any more damage.
2) Herniated Discs
Asymptomatic herniated disc is when the disc leaks material which irritates a nerve that is close by. Radicular pain is generated from this, such as nerve root pain. If this pain contains, you may feel pain in other areas of the body too. The pain may be felt from the bottom of the leg up to the lower back or from the arm to the neck.
3) Fractured Vertebrae
There are a variety of different fractures, such as compression fractures and burst fractures. The former is when the bone compresses and collapses inward right on itself, and the latter is when areas of the bone explode through tissues which surround the spine. A burst fracture could end up damaging the spinal cord and nerves. However, the worst injury to the back is a fracture-dislocation. This is when the bone breaks and the ligaments get torn, causing the bones to separate from one another.
Any of these injuries can put limitations on your movement and cause a lot of pain. There are plenty of over the counter treatments which could help alleviate this discomfort, such as rest, ice, pain reliever medications, physical therapy, surgery, or possibly even steroidal injections. It is possible to prevent certain back injuries if you can sustain a healthy weight level and workout various areas of your body with weights, especially your legs. If your core is strong, then your body will move properly with less chance of a back injury.