Ultimate Buying Guide for Back Braces and Support Belts
Many folks are suffering from chronic back pain due to innate disabilities, injury, or fatigue. It’s no wonder why more and more people are resorting to wearing back braces for support. A study shows that around 60-80% of American adults have lower back pain, and the same prevalence holds true to many other countries.
What is a Back Brace?
Back braces are a kind of device that limits the spine’s motion in case of fracture or post-operative fusions and are further used as a preventative measure to combat progressive conditions. Back braces are used to bring lower back support.
It improves posture and eliminates back pain. Whether your back pain is due to poor posture, age, or injury, a back brace can offer an effective relief to alleviate your condition.
How it Functions as a Support?
Back braces minimize or get rid of back pain by adding support to the bones and muscles in the lower back. When support is offered to this key area, the body can relax and heal from stress and strain brought about by the discomfort.
The motion of the spine is restricted by the brace. Thus, discomfort and pain are kept at bay. There are 2 main kinds of back support, the corset braces and the rigid braces.
After a lumbar infusion, most doctors recommend a corset brace. This type of brace can limit motion and disable the patient to bend forward and backward.
Also, this corset promotes good body posture when sitting for an extended period of time or when lifting heavy objects. As you lift heavy items, the brace doesn’t let your back bend, so your legs do the actual work instead.
A rigid brace is form-fitting. If fitted properly, it limits movement by up to 50%. This doesn’t only cover lower back pain but also fractures and broken bones. Though it has a powerful effect, it can be heavy, hot, and uncomfortable. It has to be removed when laying down, making it somewhat inconvenient.
Back Braces Targeting Specific Back Areas
Apart from the lower back, there are other specific locations that a back brace supports:
Upper Back and Shoulder Support
If you get used to improper posture, you’ll eventually suffer muscle strain and lower back pain. A back brace can support your shoulders and upper back to enable proper posture.
Depending on your injury or condition, this brace can be worn for a minimum of 1 hour daily. You can wear it either over or under your clothes and can be worn while doing light exercise activities, standing, or sitting. This can support your back while enabling you to stand straight and breathe more effectively.
Full Back and Shoulder Support
This back brace type offers full support to the lower and upper back. It wraps right around the lower back and attaches at the front to secure the lower back. It also has shoulder straps to pull the users into the proper posture while helping the spine realign.
This kinds of back brace has crisscross straps and shape to put your body into a neutral position and protect you from shoulder and back pain. It can also be worn over or under the clothing. Measure your waistband to get the right full back and shoulder support you need.
Hidden Lower Back Support
This one exclusively covers your lower back, plus it can be be hidden and be fit snugly under the clothing. If you usually have lower back strain, pain, or muscle weakness, this is the way to go. When doing light lifting activities, this can protect your from your dreaded strain.
The Clavicle Splint for shoulder
This one functions to pull the shoulder blades together, enabling you to stand taller. This brace forms a figure 8 in between your shoulder blades and usually come with padded velcro straps to your body’s frame.
Measure the center of your back up over your one shoulder, then under the other shoulder, along the way down to your back’s center to get the right size.
How Effective Back Braces are?
Since the 18th centuries, braces were already around, and this invention won’t have stayed relevant up until to date if it bears no favorable effects. Back braces are indeed effective in minimizing pain after a lower back injury or issue.
They are effective in limiting the motion in the lower back and spine area. This enables pain relief and eventual healing. Immediately after a surgery, the spine becomes stabilized and well-supported.
When you’re experiencing pain, transitioning from standing to sitting and vice versa will be made pain-free. When working on a labor-intensive task (especially one that places further stress on the lower back), it can make your back less likely to experience pain and strain.
It supports the abdomen and corrects posture effectively. Doctors recommend back braces to those who really need it, and many testimonials have proven how effective they can be.
Do You Really Need Back Braces?
You really have to wear a brace for your back if your physician recommends so. Although some braces are inconvenient and uncomfortable, they really have to be religiously worn.
The spine can be immobilized and supported with back braces, helping you relieve the pain and heal the condition. If you have spinal deformity, back braces can also help in correcting the case. Those who suffer from lower back pain, like disc herniations and degenerative disc disease consider wearing back support.
Before buying one, you need to be sure that your condition or back pain is actually due to a disc injury or a degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease and disc injuries are the most typical causes of lower back pain. You can know for sure by letting a your family chiropractor or a licensed medical professional diagnose your condition.
Once you are certain that you’re suffering from either of the above mentioned root causes, you can talk with your doctor to weigh the pros and cons of wearing a back brace. Overall, if your condition calls for it, you really have to wear a back brace to recover faster. Although it’s not a 100% cure, the pain can be alleviated and you can proceed with your day-to-day activities comfortably and pain-free by using the right back brace.
When to Use a Back Brace?
After getting the doctor’s recommendation of using a back brace, back braces can be used when supporting your back everyday, when supporting your back when lifting, and supporting it after a back injury.
However, you should also not wear it non-stop. If you use a back support excessively, you’ll end up weakening your muscles. Your body will be too dependent on the back brace, and your muscles end up becoming lazy. If that happens, the pain you’ll feel after removing the back brace might go worse.
If that’s the case, start weaning off from your dependency on your back brace. Slowly but surely withdraw from the dependency to avoid making the situation worse. This can be done by regularly removing the back brace from time to time in brief periods every day. You should have a “no brace” day every week. Do not wear it all the time if you do not want ending up becoming dependent.
When you are expected to do some hefty activities that need extra support, wear your brace. Your doctor is the best person to give you the exact prescription on when and how often to wear your back brace. The recommendation will basically depend on the severity of your condition. This is why you should not buy a back brace without doctor’s consultation. The package doesn’t come with a prescription about when exactly to wear them each day. To be sure, visit your physician for a guided use.
Qualities of a Good Back Brace
Your back brace will serve as your buddy in the painful times. Thus, you should make sure that you’re getting the most reliable one. Quality is a prime factor to consider when buying the best back brace. Take into account the stability, compression, warmth, flexibility, and comfort of the back support. These are the key qualities that should be on your list.
It’s best to find a back brace which has a neoprene component. This is a classic element that keeps the tissues warm and has elastic properties that bring boons. It provides support and flexibility to limit spine movement and help you recover from an injury.
There are braces that are made from nylon or cotton with elastic, molded plastic, and foam rubber. You can also ask your physician about the type of material suitable to your case.
Also, choose the back brace support system that you need. Do you need support in the shoulders, the upper, middle, or the lower back? Or perhaps you need a combination of these. Choose the type of back brace specified for your personal need. The right one should train your muscles to foster your posture while sitting or standing. It should generally help you feel comfort and relief.
Before buying, read reviews online, and don’t just look at the price. You can also contact your family members or friends who have also tried using back braces. Ask them which brand does the job well. Do your homework, and you will eventually get hold of the right back brace that will support you all the way.
How to Choose the Right Design and Style?
In choosing the right design and style, you first have to think about the kind of activities that you are to tackle. Are you using a back brace for work, for sports, for hobbies, or for injury recovery?
The design must be comfortable, and the materials used must not be harsh on the skin. It should also be breathable enough to avoid too much heat. Initially, you might really feel discomfort from using back brace, but eventually, you’ll get used to it. And once you get used to it, you’ll eventually find it easy to feel which kind of back brace is indeed comfortable and which is not.
Choose one with adjustable posterior support and shoulder straps. The abdominal compression system must also be advanced. For safety purposes, it’s best to choose a back brace with non-conductive stays. This kind of extra features goes a long way.
As for the physical features, choose darker-colored back braces if you intend to wear it in dirty work environment. Modern back braces can now be hand-washed and already have anti-bacterial properties to promote hygiene and keep the skin fresh and comfortable.
Be sure to get the right size, the right fit, the right type, and the right features that match your need.
Good Signs that You have Picked the Right Back Brace
Some people are lucky enough to pick the right brace right after the first purchase. However, some are also not so fortunate and have gone through a long trial and error phase just to find the right back brace that suits their needs.
Although this may sound intuitive, let’s enumerate the apparent signs that you have bought the right product:
If you feel like it’s better to feel the discomfort of pain than the discomfort of your back brace, that could mean your pick’s comfort level is super poor. On the other hand, if you feel happy about the relief and can’t say anything too bad about the fit and the overall comfort, your item is worth the use.
If you can really feel the relieving difference between using and not using a back brace for your back pain, then you’re lucky to have found the right product. If after days and weeks of wearing the pain doesn’t reduce a bit, that’s a “thumbs down.”
How Much are Back Braces?
The price of your back brace depends on the product’s brand, features, manufacturer, materials, and so on. In the market, you can buy a back brace for as low as $11. The average cost of regular back braces is from $20 to $50. Those which have super advanced features can shoot up to over $1000. Your budget is also a factor in choosing the best back brace for you.
Alternatives of Back Braces
Back braces can’t be the sole cure, and it could take time before you see tremendous results. Some alternatives you can go for include medication and therapy. There are also exercise training routine activities that can relieve your condition apart from using back braces.
Furthermore, there are neurological training, rehabilitating adjustments, and therapies. Coupled with supplements and dietary changes, you can improve your condition even without back braces. These alternatives can be further outlined with a healthcare professional’s consultation.