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Back braces are popular wearable supports that reportedly ease pain and improve posture. A person may wear a back brace to prevent work-related injuries or to manage conditions such as scoliosis. However, most people should not use back braces unless a healthcare professional recommends them.

A quick look at 9 of the best back braces

A back brace is a device a person may wear to support their back. Some believe they may reduce back pain, prevent injuries, promote recovery, and encourage correct posture and proper spine alignment.

A back brace usually features elastic compression bands, rigid plastic or metals, or a combination of both. They come in either custom-fitted or prefabricated designs. Prefabricated or “off-the-shelf” types are readily available and do not require fitting and molding.

When might a person need one?

An individual may need a back brace for the following reasons:

  • spine stabilization after trauma or injury
  • to correct posture issues
  • for work activities or lifestyles that increase the risk of back strain or injury

A doctor or medical professional can advise on when using one is safe or beneficial.

Spine immobilization through bracing is beneficial postsurgery. It allows structures to heal, maintains correct alignment, and reduces spinal compression.

It may also be helpful for people with back conditions such as:

These devices help limit micromotions in the spine to reduce slippage and pressure, easing pain and making daily movements tolerable.

A 2020 study found that various back braces, including spinal orthoses, lumbosacral orthoses, and thoracolumbosacral orthoses (TLSO), help improve pain and disability during short-term use, without causing adverse effects.

Back braces may also prevent further spine curvature in people with scoliosis. A 2021 study found back braces led to significant improvements in infants with idiopathic infantile scoliosis.

A back support or belly band may also be beneficial for pregnant people. A 2017 analysis found that pregnant people who wore pelvic belts reported less pelvic pain during their pregnancy.

Yes. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies cover medically necessary back braces. These devices fall under the category of durable medical equipment (DME).

To be eligible for coverage, an individual must have a prescription from a doctor who has approval from the insurance provider. The device should also meet the DME criteria of being:

  • durable
  • medically necessary
  • for home use
  • not useful for individuals who are not sick or injured
  • able to have a lifespan of least 3 years

Back supports help decompress the spine, reducing the load on spinal structures. The decreased pressure reduces muscle tension, a protective reaction to back injury and trauma, and the pain that usually accompanies it.

Back braces also provide proprioceptive input, encouraging people to correct their postures and use proper body mechanics.

Most people will not need to wear a back brace and should only do so under guidance from a healthcare professional.

Wearing a back brace can discourage a person from using their core muscles to support their body.

Healthcare professionals usually recommend braces for short-term use. Prolonged use may lead to dependence on the device, resulting in muscle weakness and atrophy.

A 2019 randomized controlled trial found that back brace use did not affect back muscle thickness over 4 weeks. However, it did not examine the long-term effects of wearing them.

Ultimately, wearing an unsuitable back brace may cause further pain and injury.

Medical News Today chooses back braces according to the following criteria where possible:

  • Size: MNT chooses products that fit a range of sizes.
  • Function: MNT chooses products suitable for lower and upper back pain.
  • Adjustability: MNT chooses products with adjustable straps to provide a more secure fit.
  • Price: MNT chooses products that fit a range of budgets.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best back brace for lumbar support: Mueller 64179 Adjustable Back Brace

  • List price: around $19
  • Sizes: small, regular, plus
  • Advantage: features removable lumbar pad for adjustable lumbar support
  • Disadvantage: some reviewers mention the sizing is not accurate

This affordable lumbar back brace is reinforced with steel springs and has a dual-layer wrap-around design for maximum support and stability. The removable lumbar pad that comes with the brace gives additional support.

This brace has the following features and specifications:

  • sizes:
    • small (22–34 inches)
    • regular (28–50 in)
    • plus (50–70 in)
  • machine washable
  • offers maximum support
  • provides support to the lower back

Best back brace for active lifestyles: FlexGuard Back Support

  • List price: around $25
  • Sizes: extra small, small/medium, large, XL
  • Advantage: may be more suitable for long periods of wear
  • Disadvantage: some reviewers state it does not give enough shoulder support

This back support provides a combination of posture correction and lumbar support. The cushioned shoulder straps straighten the back, while the supportive waistband provides compression on the lower back.

Its sleek and discreet design allows users to wear it under clothing. It has flexible and breathable fabric to prevent irritation and itchiness when moving and wearing it for long periods. This may make it suitable for people with active lifestyles.

This brace has the following features and specifications:

  • sizes:
    • X-small (20–24 in)
    • small/medium (24–30 in)
    • large (30–35 in)
    • X-large (34–40 in)
  • machine washable
  • offers maximum support
  • provides support to the upper and lower back

Best back brace for work: ComfyBrace Posture Corrector

  • List price: around $22
  • Sizes: fits chest sizes of 30–43 in
  • Advantage: fits under clothes and may be suitable for more chronic pain
  • Disadvantage: only available in one size

This posture corrector aims to reduce chronic back pain by aligning the spine and reducing pressure. It is reportedly breathable and silky to the touch, making it ideal for wearing under a person’s clothes.

This product may benefit those who experience back pain at work, as it is discreet and may help support posture.

This brace has the following features and specifications:

  • machine washable
  • offers basic support
  • provides support to the upper back

Best medical back brace: Aspen Horizon 456 TLSO

  • List price: no information available
  • Sizes: adjustable to 24–50 in and up to 70 in with extension panels
  • Advantage: offers localized compression
  • Disadvantage: only available via prescription

This back brace restricts movement to help promote upper and lower spine healing. A doctor may recommend this brace for those with challenging conditions such as burst fractures.

It has a patented tightening mechanism that independently localizes compression. It also has the following features and specifications:

  • handwash only
  • offers maximum support
  • provides support to the upper and lower back

Best back brace for posture: Truweo Posture Corrector

  • List price: around $9
  • Sizes: fits chest sizes of 30–43 in
  • Advantage: offers adjustable heights and shoulder straps
  • Disadvantage: some reviewers report it is not very durable

This posture corrector prevents neck, shoulder, and back pain by correcting a person’s posture as they perform daily activities. An individual can also adjust the shoulder straps to adjust the tension. Additionally, the corrector allows for height adjustments to accommodate different body shapes and sizes.

This brace has the following features and specifications:

  • machine washable
  • offers basic support
  • provides support to the upper back

Best back brace for pregnancy: NeoTech Care Pregnancy Support Belt

  • List price: around $39
  • Sizes: small, medium, large, XL, 2XL
  • Advantage: designed specifically for pregnancy
  • Disadvantage: not suitable for use while sitting down

This pregnancy support belt is fully adjustable and ideal for a pregnant person’s growing abdomen, as it comes with an abdominal attachment and offers back support. People should use the support belt with clothing for maximal comfort. Additionally, individuals should only use the belt when standing or walking.

This brace has the following features and specifications:

  • handwash only
  • offers basic support
  • provides support to the lower back

Best for a wide range of sizes: DonJoy Comfortform Back Support

  • List price: around $35
  • Sizes: extra small, small, medium, large, XL, 2XL, 3XL
  • Advantage: may be suitable for strained muscles
  • Disadvantage: not suitable for people with waist sizes smaller than 20 in and larger than 62 in

The DonJoy Comfortform Back Support is available in seven sizes. It combines mesh elastic and a molded lumbar compression pad with overlapping pull straps to align the spine and support strained muscles.

This brace has the following features and specifications:

  • latex-free
  • stabilizing lower back support

Best with compression shorts: Saunders S’port All Back Support w/ Shorts

  • List price: around $70
  • Sizes: small, medium, large, XL, 2XL
  • Advantage: comes with athletic compression shorts
  • Disadvantage: not suitable for upper back pain

This brace combines a back brace with athletic compression shorts.

The brace and shorts contain 83% nylon and 17% spandex to allow for extra stretch. Additionally, people can adjust the side pulls to provide differing levels of lower back support.

This brace is available with and without a fly front.

Best for hot and cold therapy: BraceAbility LSO Back Brace

  • List price: around $139
  • Sizes: small, medium, large, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL
  • Advantage: comes with reusable gel packs
  • Disadvantage: some reviewers report the back panel is too stiff and prevents standing upright

This brace aims to relieve back pain by transferring pressure from the discs to the abdomen. It is larger than most back braces and compresses and stabilizes the trunk. The back panel is medical-grade plastic that follows the spine’s natural curvature.

This product also has a pocket that holds gel packs. The company includes the gel packs in each purchase and states people can heat or cool them to provide therapy. Additionally, this brace features hand loops to make putting on and taking off the brace easier.

This brace has the following features and specifications:

  • double pull tension strap provides adjustable support
  • reusable gel packs

The following table compares the back braces in this article.

SizesProsConsList price
Muellersmall–plusremovable lumbar padssizing may not be accuratearound $19
FlexGuardextra small–XLsuitable for long periods of wearmay not give enough shoulder supportaround $25
ComfyBracefits chest sizes of 30–43 infits under clothesonly available in one sizearound $32
Aspenfits waist sizes of 24–70 inoffers localized compressiononly available via prescriptionno information available
Truweofits chest sizes of 30–43 inadjustable shoulder strapsmay not be durablearound $9
NeoTechsmall–2XLsuitable for pregnancynot suitable while sittingaround $39
DonJoyextra small–3XLsuitable for strained musclesmay not fit all waist sizesaround $35
Saunders S’portsmall–2XLcomes with compression shortsnot suitable for upper back painaround $70
BraceAbilitysmall–4XLreusable gel packsback panel may be too stiffaround $120

It is best to follow recommendations from a doctor or a physical therapist when choosing a style, material, and type of back brace.

Level of support

Back braces can be rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible. Rigid types offer stability for people with conditions causing moderate-to-severe pain and instability, such as fractures or health issues following traumatic accidents.

Flexible types consist of softer materials to limit excessive motion and provide compression while offering more freedom and flexibility.

Semi-rigid braces combine the two and feature a flexible brace for the body with rigid panels surrounding the device.

Size and fit

Most off-the-shelf products come in a universal size with adjustable belt wings or hook and eye locks to ensure a snug fit. Others are custom molded to a person’s body.

Materials

Flexible braces often comprise cotton, canvas, or neoprene, while rigid types can consist of metal, leather, or moldable plastic. Belts for sports enthusiasts usually retain heat to induce sweat.

Durability and maintenance

Machine-washable braces are easier to maintain. Braces with Velcro might wear faster, while stretchy types may stretch out after regular use.

Most back pain can improve by itself. People can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, use hot and cold compresses, and try gentle exercise to improve pain.

However, people should speak with a doctor if they experience any of the following:

  • pain that does not improve with home remedies
  • pain that prevents people from performing daily activities
  • pain that becomes worse over time

Additionally, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting to wear a back brace to ensure the product is the best choice to remedy back pain.

The following are some common questions and answers:

Who needs a back brace?

Most people do not need to wear a back brace — they should avoid using them unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

Back braces may benefit individuals with scoliosis and could be useful during pregnancy. A person should look for a back brace that will suit their health needs.

Does Medicare cover a back brace?

Yes. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health insurance providers consider back braces to be DME. An individual must show a doctor’s prescription to be eligible for coverage.

How long should you wear a posture corrector?

People should only wear a posture corrector under the advice of a healthcare professional. These professionals can help determine how long a person should wear this product.

How should you choose a back brace?

A person should consider the area that needs support, the amount of support they require, and the back brace’s material, size, and features.

Should I sleep in a back brace?

A person should wear a back brace while sleeping if a healthcare professional recommends doing so. For example, healthcare professionals may recommend sleeping in a back brace for people with scoliosis.

How long do back braces last?

Back braces wear out over time. The rate at which they wear out varies depending on how often a person uses these products.

People should look for signs of wear and tear and check the seams for fraying. Additionally, stretchable areas may lose their elasticity. If the back brace no longer provides support, a person should replace it as soon as possible.

People with back pain may opt to use back braces or postural supports to reduce pain and improve their posture.

There are many back braces available over the counter. However, individuals should consult a healthcare professional before buying one to ensure they choose a device to help with their condition.