How do I Choose the Best Lower Back Brace?

Dan Cavallari

The first step in choosing the best lower back brace is to determine the purpose of the brace and what it will do for you. People with persistent back pain often choose to purchase a brace that will help correct poor posture, while others who participate in activities that require heavy lifting will purchase a lower back brace designed for support. Still others require a lower back brace that is meant to support the back while that person recovers from an injury. These braces will often be recommended by a doctor or physical therapist. Decide what you need a back brace for, and then begin to research options.

A brace that supports good posture might be best for someone with chronic back pain.
A brace that supports good posture might be best for someone with chronic back pain.

For heavy lifting and bending, consider a lower back brace that features shoulder suspenders. The back brace can then dangle from the shoulders when not in use, thereby preventing it from impeding normal movement when you are not lifting heavy objects. The brace itself should wrap tightly around the lower back and stomach, just above the hip bones. Choose a lower back brace with high quality Velcro® as an attachment system, as this will allow you to quickly remove or secure the brace with very little effort. The back of the brace should immobilize the lower back while lifting, forcing you to lift with the legs rather than the back.

Back braces may be worn for posture and back support.
Back braces may be worn for posture and back support.

A posture support brace often supports the entire back, not just the lower back. Choose one that is not too bulky so it will fit naturally underneath your clothing without bulging. Carefully consider the materials used for the construction of the brace as well. Latex is quite supportive, but it does not breathe well, meaning moisture and sweat will become trapped between your skin and the latex, possibly creating some discomfort. Choose instead a Lycra® lower back brace; this stretchy material is low profile, breathable, and durable. Make sure any brace you purchase fits you properly and is sufficiently adjustable.

Braces designed to support the back after an injury are usually much bulkier and stiffer than other types of support braces. These braces tend to be quite uncomfortable and are used only in the most severe cases; a doctor will usually recommend what brace to use in such a situation. Remember that any brace you purchase will not ultimately solve the problem on its own; its use must be combined with other practices meant to strengthen the back to prevent future injury or pain.

Lower back braces may help prevent injuries when lifting heavy objects.
Lower back braces may help prevent injuries when lifting heavy objects.

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Discussion Comments


My dad wears a back brace with shoulder suspenders at work. He told me that the brace has saved him from a lot of injuries in the past. I think it's a little uncomfortable but he doesn't mind.

I think one of the most important factors when purchasing a lower back brace is to make sure that it is adjustable. The ones that wrap around the back with a strong hold are the best. Braces aren't very cheap so one should last a long time. Adjustable ones can be used by multiple family members as the need arises.


@SarahGen-- I agree with you. I mostly have issues with my back muscles. They tighten and spasm if they are cold if I engage in a wrong movement. So I use a back brace that doesn't put too much pressure but that basically keeps my back warm and a little immobile.


I agree that people need to consider their specific issues and needs when selecting a lower back brace. It may seem like they are all the same but they are not. Some are made of stretch fabrics and are meant for more gentle support, whereas others contain plastic pieces or wires to give better support. This latter group basically helps immobilize the back to prevent and reduce injury.

Someone with a mild back strain will do just fine with a mostly fabric brace, whereas those with serious injury an who engage in strenuous activities at work, need the extra protection provided by the latter group of back brace.s

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