Back Brace
Last updated: 08/13/2020

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If you regularly suffer from back pain, or have a herniated disc, a back brace (also known as an orthopedic girdle) could be the answer to your problems. Doctors usually recommend them for occasional use, and only in cases of acute back pain.

There is a wide range of different products from various manufacturers on the market these days, which means there is definitely something for everyone. To help you find the back brace that best suits your needs, we have prepared this shopping guide to tell you everything you need to know.

Key Facts

  • It is not advisable to use a back brace over an extended period of time to relieve your pain symptoms. Prolonged use can cause your back muscles to stop working properly, resulting in a loss of muscle strength. Additionally, as these belts are in constant contact with the skin, they can cause chafing and potentially circulation problems as well.
  • Back braces use compression to encourage a realignment of the normal curvature of the spine, which in turn provides immobilization. The amount of restricted movement they provide will depend on the shape and design. There are also preventive braces, similar to the ones found in gyms that allow you to lift weights without damaging your back, and also others that are specifically designed for pregnant women.
  • Before buying a back brace, you need to take some important factors into account. These includes things like the design, size, the materials it is made from, how it is cleaned and the overall comfort. In this guide we tell you everything you need to know, so that you can make an informed choice and find the option that best suits your needs.

Our Selection: The Best Back Braces on the U.S. Market

To give you an overview of the range of different back braces currently available, in this section we present you with the four best products on the market, in four different categories. All these belts offer great value for money, have positive customer reviews, and are made by respected manufacturers.

Best Lightweight Back Brace

If you are looking for something lightweight, but that still offers great support, this is the option for you. It works by supporting your spine and surrounding muscles, alleviating pain associated with herniated discs, RSI joint pain, or even a simple strained muscle. It features added mesh pockets so you can add hot or cold packs, although the packs are not included so you will need to buy them separately.

Best Back Brace with Splints

If you want the added support offered by a back brace with splints, have a look at this great product.  This belt provides an extra source of stability, so you’re able to perform any of life’s daily movements without the slightest stiffness. Whether you want to put your shoes on, do chores around the house, or even lift weights at the gym, this girdle will give you confidence that your back will be able to holdup.

Best Back Brace for Pregnant Women

The Neotech Care maternity belt is highly breathable, comfortable and also provides the elasticity needed to hug your body’s shape perfectly, while giving proper support to your lower back. The fabric is constructed of a multi-layered laminate with an elastic lining combining breathability, elasticity and comfort. This product is designed for walking or standing. When sitting, detach the hooks and the fabric loops for more comfort.

Best Back Brace with Shoulder Straps

If you want a back brace that will also keep your shoulders aligned, you need to choose a one that has straps. The KarmaRebirth Posture Corrector contains 12 magnets and is designed by professionals to effectively correct your bad posture, helping to relieve back and waist pain. It keeps your body in an upright posture, increasing your appearance and self-confidence.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Back Braces

If you are considering buying a back brace, it is essential that you have a solid understanding of how they work, and their main characteristics. So that you can find out everything you need to know, in this section we answer the most frequently asked questions about back braces.

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Doctors recommend using a back brace for acute lower back pain.
(Source: Comzeal: 77400172/ 123rf.com)

What is a back brace and what is it used for?

A back brace (or orthopedic girdle) is an undergarment similar to a corset, which is made of elastic materials. The brace supports the back by applying compression, that is designed to provide relief from lower back pain. Doctors recommend using it whenever you are experiencing acute pain in this region. However, they are not designed for prolonged use, so always consult your medical health practitioner to develop a more comprehensive rehabilitation and pain-management plan.

Belts for back support reduce the effort that the muscles are required to exert in order to support the weight of the body, as well as ensuring that the spine always maintains a natural position. Using a back brace will prevent the affected muscles from becoming overloaded, which will instantly provide a significant amount of relief from pain.

What types of back braces are available?

Most back braces are used to correct bad posture, that may be the cause of acute back pain. There is a wide range of designs, which are intended for different kinds of support. In this section we outline each type and their characteristics:

  • Braces with Splints: These braces contain several rods inserted at the rear of the belt, which enable the belt to exert a greater amount of pressure, providing the lower back with more support. They are available with either hard or soft splints which are positioned vertically, causing the spine to straighten.
  • Braces Without Splints: These braces are made from much softer and lighter materials, although they do provide less support than those with splints. They are the best-selling type of belts, because they are the most comfortable. Being much thinner in design, they are easily hidden under clothing, which is another advantage they have over other types of back braces.
  • Inflatable Braces: Inflatable braces offer more compression, and therefore more support, thanks to the small air pockets located on the side and rear. They allow more freedom of movement than braces with splints, but not quite as much support. The inflated pockets give the back a gentle massage. They are also used as thermal belts, since the material they are made from provides insulation against the cold.
  • Braces with Magnets: These orthopedic girdles contain 16 tiny magnets placed at the rear of the belt that come in direct contact with the back, increasing blood flow and offering pain relief. These braces are made of nylon or neoprene, a material that also helps to increase circulation.
  • Braces with Straps: The shoulder straps offer extra support to the chest area, while also preventing the shoulders from adopting an incorrect posture. These braces are ideal for anyone who does manual labor, or spends many hours a day sitting at a computer. They are lightweight, practical and easily concealed under your clothing.
  • Braces for Pregnant Women: These girdles are becoming increasingly popular with expectant moms, who are using them to help relieve some of the pain and discomfort typically associated with pregnancy. They are recommended for use during the third trimester. They alleviate the weight of the baby, ensure the correct posture of the spine, while reducing lower back pain and cervical discomfort.
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One of the advantages of using a back brace is that it will reduce the symptoms of scoliosis, both in young people and adults.
(Source: Yauheni Hastsiukhin: 92331103/ 123rf.com)

What are the advantages of using a back brace?

Back braces offer a wide range of different advantages. In addition to giving more support to the back, they help to keep the spine straight and in the correct position. In this section we list the main benefits of using an orthopedic girdle, to help you decide if you should purchase one for yourself.

  • They Prevent Work-Related Injuries: Back braces are commonly used by different types of workers, such as hospital orderlies who are often required to lift bedridden people, and warehouse laborers who can spend hours carrying heavy boxes every day.
  • They Help to Alleviate Acute Back Pain: Orthopedic girdles reduce the symptoms of scoliosis, in both young people and adults.
  • They Improve Spinal Problems: They help the treatment of spinal issues such as arthritis or a herniated disc.
  • They Keep the Lower Back Warm: Keeping the muscles of the back warm, can lower the risk acute injuries.
  • They Provide Extra Support While Moving: Extra support makes people more confident that they can move without injuring themselves.
  • They Help to Prevent Muscle Contractions and Spasms: They prevent back pain and serious injuries caused by muscle spasms and contractions.

What size back brace should I choose?

If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a back brace, you are less likely to use it. This is why choosing a belt of the correct size is so important.  If you choose one that is too loose, it will not provide adequate support. On the other hand, one that is too tight will be very uncomfortable and will likely cut off your circulation. Luckily back braces only come in three sizes, so it is easy to find the one that is best for you:

  • If your waist is between 25-33″, you should choose size S.
  • If your waist is between 34-45″, you should choose size M.
  • If your waist is between 46-55″, you should choose size L.

Buyer’s Guide

When choosing a new back brace, it is important that you take several important key factors into account. In order to find the option that best suits your needs from the wide range of products currently available on the market, just keep the following criteria in mind when making your purchase.

Design

It is a good idea to choose a back brace with a design that is discreet enough to not be seen under your clothing. It also needs to be sufficiently breathable, in order to not cause discomfort when it is worn all day. If you are going to be wearing it to the gym while you are working out or lifting weights, you should consider the color and overall appearance, as it will most likely be visible.

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Inflatable braces support the back thanks to small air bladders that provide a custom fit.
(Source: Chutima Chaochaiya: 26898384/ 123rf.com)

Size

As we mentioned previously in this article, it is absolutely vital that you buy a back brace of the correct size for your body shape. Otherwise it will not be capable of offering you the correct amount of support, and your purchase will be a waste of money.

Comfort

It is important that you feel comfortable wearing your new back brace. One that is made of breathable material that is flexible, will allow you to move freely. Also look for a belt does not have any seams, as this will ensure that it doesn’t cause chafing in the abdominal area.

Cleaning Method

A back brace needs to be cleaned just as often as your regular clothing, since it is always in direct contact with your skin. These belts absorb sweat and odors, so they must be very easy to wash. Make sure you chose a product that is machine washable.

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Back braces for pregnant women are recommended for use during the third trimester.
(Source: Staras: 54994630/ 123rf.com)

Summary

If you regularly suffer from back pain, or are recovering from a spinal injury, you should consider purchasing a back brace. These orthopedic girdles ensure that you always maintain the correct posture, while reducing this risk of suffering a new injury, or inflaming an existing one.

These belts have a wide range of uses, apart from reducing the symptoms of lower back pain. They can also help adults and children who are suffering from scoliosis, and are popular with laborers and athletes who are often at risk of serious injury.

We hope this shopping guide helped make your purchase process easier. If you enjoyed reading this article, please leave us a comment below and be sure to share it with your friends and family!

(Source of Featured Image: Chutima Chaochaiya: 96428754/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Avery Hilland Fitness & Nutrition Expert
Avery studied fitness and nutrition at college and currently works as a PE teacher at his local high school. Not only does he love to help out his students increase their fitness performance, but he also writes blogs about sports and fitness in his spare time.