Whether it’s an old sporting injury, too much wear and tear from manual work, or simply the effect of getting older, a bad back can be a miserable thing to have. One way to deal with those twinges and aches is to pop a few painkillers, rest, and hope everything will eventually fall back into place. But our lives are busy, and we can’t always take time out to recover, so another solution is to support and protect your back ‘on the go’.
Back braces and lumbar supports are not new, but the latest models bring cutting-edge support to the home treatment of back aches and strains. They work by supporting your muscles and providing relief, whether that’s as you drive, work, play or whenever you feel a dreaded twinge. You can also use upper lumbar supports to help improve your posture, which in turn can lead to a healthier back. We take a look at the best back braces you can currently buy to help you take the strain out of protecting your back.
The Best Back Brace
When it comes to supporting your lower back, you need to feel as if your back brace is getting the job done. And this what this well-made lumbar support device can do. Made from washable and breathable fabric, you can increase the compression and support thanks to the removable lumbar pad and adjustable straps. And there are also three support bones on each side of the brace. The whole belt is then secured in place by the Velcro fixing dual straps, which have D-ring clasps to make putting on and taking off your back brace quick and easy. It is also lightweight, and despite the support and compression levels it offers, is surprisingly slim and looks good. At the top end of our list, this is a quality belt that gives excellent relief from the aches and strains of chronic back pain.
- Breathable, washable fabric
- Removable lumbar pad
- Easy grip cinching straps
- Support bones either side
- 12-month warranty
- Brand ComfyMed
- Weight 9.3 ounces
If you want a hardworking, affordable, everyday back brace to support your lower back, then consider our Best Value option from Mueller. This surprisingly sleek waistband-style back support belt is made from a comfortable and breathable fabric and is fully adjustable. And its double-layered design gives you greater control over how it fits. It also enables you to adjust its compression. Plus, you get removable lumbar cushions so you can dial the level of support up or down depending on the needs of your back strain. Also, outer elastic tension straps keep the belt firmly in place. Designed to support muscle weakness in the lower back, this is a good lower back brace for general strains as well as osteoarthritis and can also be used when lifting to protect your back or as an aid to improve your posture control.
- Made from double-layer breathable fabric
- Removable lumbar pads
- Outer elastic tension straps
- Inner molded plastic prevents bunching
- Available in two sizes
- Brand Mueller
- Model 255B
- Weight 10.4 ounces
It may look a little more surgical than some of the other products on our list of best back braces, but our Premium Pick is a clinical-style belt that is well worth the money. You get a 2-in-1 ‘decompression’ belt that provides traction-like support on your lumbar region as well as the option for some magneto therapy thanks to the two built-in magnets.
So, how does it work? Made from PU, it wraps substantially around your waist, using Velcro for a secure fit. Then with a hand pump you expand the small chambers in the belt to create the desired compression and support. The HailiCare has been designed for a range of lower back conditions and can provide relief for pinched nerves, sciatica and general lumbar strain caused by everyday work and play. It’s impressive, and it certainly looks the part. The main downsides are that it can restrict movement and cannot be immersed in water, so you need to take care when cleaning it.
- Provides traction-like support
- Additional magnet therapy
- Pump action inflates the belt
- Supports lower lumbar region
- Easy to fit and use
- Brand HailiCare
- Weight 3.52 ounces
If slouching is starting to cause you problems, then check out this smart-looking posture support from Truweo. Designed to act as a clavicle brace, this easy-to-wear unisex device is a good option if you spend long periods sitting or need a little extra support when working out or lifting heavy objects. Made from lightweight and durable neoprene, the corrector allows your skin to breathe, keeping the comfort levels high. Discreet enough to be worn under your clothes, you gradually increase the amount of time you wear this back support. Fully adjustable, this posture brace will help to bring your upper body into its optimum position and support muscle memory as well as reduce neck and back strain.
- Lightweight, breathable neoprene
- Front-loading design
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Available in S, M & L
- Fully washable
- Brand Truweo
- Weight 6.4 ounces
The Wasakky Back Brace offers excellent value and helps improve overall posture while driving. It’s available at a low price point without sacrificing function for cost. The brace itself is functional for medical issues. It stabilizes both your lower back and collar bone. When in place, the brace slides your shoulders into a healthy position. It’s meant to actively correct your posture issues with continued use. With a full back and an open front, the brace is subtle and comfortable to wear.
Formed from breathable, lightweight textiles, the brace works well even with sensitive skin. It slips under your clothes seamlessly without creating a bulking effect. The adjustable straps help you achieve the proper fit for your needs. It holds securely in place without slipping to minimize discomfort from chafing. This, coupled with its quality performance, promotes continual use. By wearing the brace regularly, you can actually address the root issue of your posture concerns.
- Manufactured using breathable yet durable material
- Comfortable design fits under clothing
- Designed with contours for the male form
- Adjustable straps help achieve the proper fit
- Available in multiple sizes for chests 25-48 inches
- Brand Wasakky
- Weight 11.2 ounces
Sleek and discreet, the Posture Corrector from Gearari is another quality back support that can help take the pain out of adjusting poor posture. With slouching putting a strain on your neck, shoulders and lower back, it can also lead to a stoop position when you sit or walk. Wearing the Gearari posture brace regularly – up to two hours a day – can improve both your posture and back alignment, reducing pain and back fatigue. Made from comfort-soft porous fabric, this shoulder support is pretty much invisible under your clothes, and the adjustable Velcro straps and ergonomic design make it a breeze to wear. It’s also a good bit of support kit for manual work or situations where you are bending and leaning over.
- Ergonomically designed
- Made from soft, porous material
- Unisex sizings
- Fully adjustable Velcro straps
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Brand Gearari
- Model 696273261325
- Weight 4 ounces
Chronic back pain can be debilitating and affect everyday life, and you may need a little extra support for comfort. The Sparthos Back Brace has been designed to do just that. At the top end of our list, this is a substantial, quality back support belt that gives superior support for a range of back issues, including sciatica as well as general muscle pain and fatigue. Made from strong, breathable and flexible fabric and secured with Velcro straps, the Sparthos comes with an adjustable lumbar pad so you can get the right support at the right spot. A layer of vertical support ensures the whole brace stays in place. This is a strong yet super comfortable lower back brace you can wear while moving, working, driving or sitting without discomfort or restriction in your movement.
- Made from flexible and breathable material
- Removable lumbar support
- Adjustable Velcro fastening
- Available in three sizes
- Brand Sparthos
- Model 8541800824
- Weight 14.4 ounces
You get an impressive ‘two for the price of one’ with the Flexguard back brace, including upper back/posture control and lumbar support. And all for a reasonable price. Although it may have a bit of a battle armor look about it at first glance, this is a cleverly made back brace that is designed for multi-tasking. But is it effective?
The main impact is in the shoulders and posture correction, thanks to the cushioned, ergonomically designed straps and easy adjustments. It does take a little getting used to, and it may not be the most discreet under your clothes, but the Flexguard is worth a look. The posture support is boosted by the waist belt, which gives adequate lumbar support for everyday use. You can feel your spine is supported, although the underarm buckles may be a little uncomfortable with prolonged wear.
- Breathable, lightweight fabric
- Ergonomically designed
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Attached lumbar waist-belt
- Includes a Posture Guide
- Brand Flexguard Support
- Weight 11.2 ounces
If you are looking for lumbar support but still need a good range of movement when you work out or simply go about your day, then the BraceUp is a good option.
This is a solid-looking back brace for lower back pain that while lightweight, gives you a reassuring amount of compression to keep your back nicely supported without restricting what you can do. Made from a soft, breathable fabric, it has mesh panels to keep you cool, while several stays are positioned to give your back some extra lumbar support. The curve design ensures the BraceUp stays in place, and it is all held together neatly with dual adjustment, anti-slip straps that you can use to dial up the compression. This is a high-performing back brace that is easy to use and is ideal for work, gym and everyday use when you and your back need a helping hand.
- Breathable, fabric with mesh panels
- Curved design prevents movement
- Eight stays for extra lumbar support
- Dual adjustment, anti-slip straps
- Available in three sizes
- Brand BraceUP
- Model B601
- Weight 10.4 ounces
A slight detour from best back braces designed just for support, the Zouyue is actually a waist trainer belt that can also double up as a back brace for lower back pain. Made from 100-percent, latex-free stretchy neoprene that won’t irritate or pinch your skin, the Zouyue wraps around your mid to lower torso and has a fully adjustable double wrap around fixture so you can tailor the compression. As a waist trainer, this back brace is flexible enough to wear at the gym where it creates a ‘sauna’ for your belly as you work out. The aim is to help with lumbar support, and you can help dial down any pain as well as improve your lower back posture when you sit. The downside is that the Zoaea waist trainer is on the bulky side, so we say either wear it with a baggy t-shirt or wear it over your workout gear.
- 100% Latex-free Neoprene
- Double compression straps
- Fit creates heat for fat burning
- Helps you to look slimmer
- Additional lumbar support
- Brand ZOUYUE
For everyday aches, pains and slouchy moments, this Back Posture Corrector won’t disappoint. With a decent upper shoulder brace, backed up by a basic lumbar support belt, you also get magnets to help promote blood flow.
The Flipcase is also affordable and lightweight enough for everyday use. Plus, there’s added ergonomic padding (breathable foam) to keep your delicate areas comfortable and snug. This back support has been designed to help you deal with the strain of slouching or a slumped back, and the whole device is just slight enough to wear under your clothes (although there is bulk at the back). The waist belt gives you lumbar support, while the magnets in the spine panel are a nice extra touch and can help with relieving strains and pain.
- Upper posture corrector brace
- Added lumbar support belt
- Magnets to improve blood flow
- Padded, adjustable straps
- Available in three sizes
- Brand Flipcase
- Weight 10.4 ounces
Many believe copper can help alleviate stiff and sore muscles and joints, and this back brace for your lower back means serious business. With the copper infused into the fabric, its makers claim this back brace has the highest copper content on the market. It uses ions rather than copper oxide. And this commitment to quality is reflected in the design. It is made of strong stuff yet is flexible enough to wear all day without restricting movement. The front Velcro fastening and breathable fabric means you feel both comfortable and secure. Great for wearing at the gym or when getting physical with hard work, this is a good back brace for men and women, helping to take the pain out of your back so you can get on with your day.
- Contains quality Copper Ions
- Eases stiff, sore muscles
- Breathable and flexible fabric
- Secure front Velcro fastening
- Fits 28"-39" waists
- Brand Copper Compression
- Weight 4 ounces
If your back trouble means you need a little extra support, the AidBrace has an integrated stabilizing system to keep you moving. Designed to provide extra support and protection for your lumbar region, there is an adjustable pad to provide the optimum posture position for your lower back. Plus, you get a stabilizing plastic ‘spine’ section to help keep you and your back straight. Add in vented mesh panels and a curved design to reduce pressure on your side abdominals, and you’re looking at a pretty comfortable ride. This is a good back brace if you are looking for lasting relief from sciatica, degenerative disc disease, or a herniated disc. It’s also good for those situations when work or life has put your lower back under strain.
- Front fastening lumbar support brace
- Plastic spine for stabilization
- Adjustable lumbar pad
- Vented mesh panels
- Available in three sizes
- Brand AidBrace
- Weight 1.19 pounds
This effective back brace incorporates an ice/heat pack. The universal fit of this smart lower back brace is well designed, and the neoprene fabric plus dual elastic fixture bands are flexible but keep you and your lumbar region feeling secure. Worn without the pack insert, this is a great all-round compression brace when your lower back needs a little extra support when you’re at the gym, while driving, or to keep pain pangs away when you are working. You can dial up the relief using the removable heat wrap or ice pack. It’s simple but effective like all the best ideas!
- Flexible, machine washable neoprene
- Adjustable elastic compression bands
- Non-slip silicon lining
- Removable heat wrap
- Reusable ice-gel pack
- Brand ARRIS
We all know the posture risks of sitting at the computer and all the pain, aches and strains that come with it. Vokka aims to tackle slouch-related back pain with this substantial posture corrector.
Made of tough, washable and breathable fabric with a built-in back plate, padded shoulder and adjustable waist strap, the Vokka acts like a strong, comfortable hug that coaxes your posture back into position. It should be worn for short periods each time so you can ease into its tough love embrace, but the time and effort are worth it. This is a substantial but effective posture corrector that is ideal for office wear or during the day when you and your back need a little help in standing tall.
- Made from washable fabric
- Padded shoulder straps
- Built-in support back plate
- Adjustable waist band
- Available in three sizes
- Brand VOKKA
- Weight 15.2 ounces
What to Consider When Buying a Back Brace
Your new back brace should be designed for effective back support and so getting the very best model you can for your needs is essential. We list the key things you should be looking out for:
Why you need it – it isn’t a case of one back brace that fits all so choose your product based on the location of your back issue or where you need that extra support. Some are specifically designed for lumbar support (your mid to lower spine) while others are meant to support your upper back.
Quality – this comes at the top of our list when it comes to design, production and materials used. If the quality of your back brace is sub-par, it may have adverse effects on your back pain or strain and could well make it worse. Check out user reviews, look for the fabric used and how it has been put together to ensure you are getting the right, quality support that will last much longer than a cheaper product.
Comfort – quality and comfort go hand in hand. You need a back support you can confidently wear for prolonged periods of time, without chafing or adding extra pressure. Also check the brace’s fixings and seams to ensure they are not going to rub as you move and also its size, if you will be wearing it comfortably under your clothes.
Material – the material your back brace is made from can either make or break your comfort levels. Look for soft, lightweight and supportive material that allows your skin to breathe while still giving the level of support you and your back needs. Nylon, polyester and thin neoprene are all good materials for a back brace, depending on its use.
Size and adjustability – if your back support is for your lower back, check the size as if it is too large it could become uncomfortable too wear. While convenient, one size fits all products may be too good to be true and bring you problems as you wear it. Check how the brace can be adjusted and if it can be worn under your clothes without restricting or bulging. Upper back braces also need good adjustable straps which need to be regularly checked so make sure they are easy to reach and use.
Warranty – it is a good idea to check out the returns policy or warranty on your new back brace as there is a chance it may not be suitable, but you will probably have to wear it for a couple of days to be sure.
Benefits of Back Pain Braces
Back braces can really make the difference in the management or prevention of chronic back pain, as well as support a better posture. They can also be recommended by your doctor to help in the healing of an injury or medical procedure. Because the best back braces help to support key muscles in your spine or upper back, they enable your stressed body to relax and start to heal, reducing the amount of pain and strain you may be experiencing.
The key benefits of wearing a back brace include:
- Assist in injury recovery
- Relieves tension
- Stabilize and strengthen weak areas
- Help lessen strain on your back when lifting or moving
- Improves posture and elongates the spine
- Makes sitting and standing more comfortable
And whether it is a troublesome old back injury, poor posture or simply the wear and tear of everyday life, a lower back brace, lumbar support or posture control will provide an effective form of relief so you can keep moving and enjoying your day.
Different Types of Back Braces
When it comes to supporting the key areas of your back, there are distinct types of back brace for the job – for the upper, lumbar and for the lower back.
There are two main types of back braces for lower back pain – corset and rigid.
- Corset brace. This is as it sounds, a soft material brace that wraps around your lower back like a corset. Typically made of a soft, flexible and breathable fabric, they can be adjusted by elastic or Velcro closures and work by compressing the abdominal region and relive pressure on the spine by supporting the muscles that hold the lower spinal structure up. Some are quite narrow and comfortable to wear all day, while others are little more structured and wider, for targeted or short-term lumbar support, such as when lifting or playing sport.
- Rigid brace. These braces are typically used after treatment for an injury and are often custom fitted. They comprise of a rigid body made of plastic that fits around your waist to protect your lower back. The firm, rigid nature of these braces also makes them a good support option for some long-term health conditions such as curvature of the spine.
Lumbar and shoulder braces are designed to support the upper back and thoracic region, as well as help to improve posture through support and ‘muscle memory’. Upper back braces can also help to relieve both upper and lower back pain, caused by poor posture. Upper back braces are particularly good for desk workers or if you spend periods of time slumped or bent forward, say when working on a car or DIY project.
How to Use a Back Brace Properly
The first step to using a back brace properly is to make sure you have the right type for your concern, whether that is lower back pain and strain or upper, posture support. Once you have the right brace, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to set it up and adjust its fit. Here are a few additional tips on the proper use of a back brace:
- Always wear the appropriate size and get measured if you are unsure
- Position the brace properly – with a lumbar and lower back brace, the top edge should be just beneath your navel. With a posture brace, don’t do the shoulder straps up too tight or you will lose the correct supportive shape.
- Make sure the belt is tight enough without being too restrictive. If it is too loose, it will not give your back and back muscles the right amount of support
- With posture support, don’t wear it continuously and use it in conjunction with correct exercise and core muscle strengthening
Best Back Brace FAQ:
Q: What is a back brace and how does it work?
A: A back brace is a worn device that helps to minimize pain or strain by providing support to the muscles and bones in your back. Upper back braces can also help to improve your posture by reminding your muscles where they should naturally be. Braces can also limit movement in your back, so help with healing and rehabilitation after an operation, injury or strain.
Q: Are back braces safe?
A: If worn for the right reasons and you follow any medical guidance you have been given, then yes, your back brace is safe and a positive thing to use. Make sure it fits well and you are not wearing it when you really don’t need to or for prolonged periods at a time as this can lead to some skin irritation and a possible dependency on it. Otherwise both you and your back will be fine.
Q: How do I wash my back support belt?
A: You will need to wash your back support belt regularly, not only to keep it – and you – smelling sweet but to also help to extend its shelf-life. What you use your back support for will give you a good idea how often it needs to be washed. If you are wearing it for medical reasons and are not getting too active or sweaty in it, then every four or so days will be suffice but if you are wearing it for support during physical activity (DIY, working outdoors, at the gym or playing sport) then a wash after each use would be a wise idea.
When it comes to washing your back brace, follow the instructions carefully. Most material braces can be washed with a mild soap or laundry detergent and cold water. Always let the brace to air dry before wearing it again.
Q: Can I wear my back brace while sleeping?
A: Although back braces and lumbar support are fine to wear throughout the day, as they help you when you move and complete your everyday tasks, they should not be worn when sleeping. And the main reason is that your back could well become too used to the support, and could reduce its effectiveness during the day, when you need it the most. They are also not comfortable to sleep in and can cause you more pain and strain. Unless advised by your doctor that you need to sleep in your back brace, it is a good idea to take it off until the morning.
Our Top Pick
For everyday lower back support which can be adjusted to increase or reduce compression, the Mueller Lumbar Support Back Brace is our review’s best choice. Quick and easy to fit, the comfort features of this back brace mean you can wear it all day, while removable pads boost its support. A well-priced, quality back brace that can also help to improve your posture too.