BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Suspenders keep brace in place to prevent slippage. Fastens with Velcro. Adjustable panels to tighten fit. Can be worn over or under clothing. Designed to provide support when lifting heavy loads.
Should be loosened when not lifting.
Comfortable brace at a reasonable price that helps with a variety of ailments. Offers removable lumbar pad. Double adjustment provides maximum support.
One size does not fit all. The brace may seem heavy.
Lightweight brace with mesh panels that make it breathable and comfortable to wear under clothes. Very easy to adjust. Mesh to release heat and moisture.
Complaints of it fitting too small and too large. Some wearers find not enough support.
Offers plenty of support and relieves lower back pain. Includes removable lumbar support insert. Perforated neoprene allows for breathability. Easy to adjust and wear.
Removable gel pack can be cooled or heated to provide hot or cold therapy for sore or strained muscles. Four support strips provide stability for improved posture.
Extra gel packs are not available separately.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
An aching back can put a serious damper on day-to-day activities, whether the pain is caused by injury, strain, or incorrect posture. Even simple tasks like bending over, standing up, or sitting at a desk can become unbearable.
A back brace can promote recovery and reduce symptoms of pain and discomfort by giving you extra support where you need it most. To choose a back brace that will work for you, you'll want to identify the source of your pain and determine how much support you need.
Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point in his or her life. While many cases may resolve themselves over time, chronic back pain can drastically impact your quality of life.
For those who are unable to undergo surgery and don't respond to other conventional treatment methods, such as physical therapy or pain medication, a back brace may provide some much-needed relief.
Depending on the style and the level of support it provides, wearing a back brace can also help with the following.
Aid recovery by restricting movement of injured areas
Provide stability and promote healing following surgery
Help improve and correct posture
Reduce the risk of injury caused by strain while lifting heavy objects
Lessen back pain through warmth and compression
Offer support during everyday activities
Soothe and stabilize arthritic joints
Remind wearer to use proper form when lifting and exercising
Although a back brace can help manage pain, it's important to remember that simply wearing a brace is seldom the sole solution.
In many instances, a more holistic approach that includes physical therapy and exercise may be required for complete rehabilitation.
Back braces come in a wide selection of styles and sizes – over 30, to be exact – all of which fall under two broad categories.
These heavy-duty braces have a hard, molded shell designed to immobilize the spine and surrounding muscle tissue, restricting movement by as much as 50%.
Rigid back braces help keep the spinal column in proper alignment and are typically used after surgery or in the ongoing treatment of a condition like scoliosis.
Corset braces generally consist of polyester, nylon, and rubber, and many have integrated metal panels (stays) for added stability.
These braces are available in different lengths and offer a combination of support, compression, and soothing warmth.
With a flexible design that allows for a more natural range of motion, these back braces are suitable for everyday use.
Soft braces can also act as a reminder to take it easy and may be used by anyone seeking relief from mild to moderate back pain.
With so many options available, finding the right back brace can be a challenge. It can be helpful to keep the following considerations in mind as you shop.
This is hands down the most important step in finding a back brace that works. Those with occasional pain who are fairly certain of the cause will still need to select an appropriate brace. For example, if you suffer from mid- to upper-back pain and suspect the culprit is poor posture, consider a posture corrector to help straighten your shoulders. Those who frequently lift heavy objects and then experience lower back pain may benefit from wearing a supportive corset back brace.
Moreover, if you experience chronic back pain and are unsure of the cause, using a back brace could potentially mask a more serious underlying condition that may require specialized treatment.
Do you have occasional, mild back pain? If so, a soft and pliable back brace may offer just the right warmth and compression to provide relief. If you experience more intense pain or lead an active lifestyle that leaves your back vulnerable to strain and injury, you'll require something with more support. A firmer back brace may take a little more getting used to, but it will provide superior stability, resulting in protection from further injury and improved pain relief.
The adjustability, construction materials, and padding all contribute to how comfortable a back brace is to wear. It should be adjustable enough to provide a snug fit, but one that’s too flexible could stretch out over time. Breathable materials like nylon, polyester, and cotton can help minimize perspiration. Also, some level of padding will go a long way toward reducing skin irritation, especially when wearing a rigid back brace.
While your options may be limited if you've been prescribed a back brace following surgery or injury, this step shouldn't be overlooked when choosing your own. Most people require something that provides support and alleviates pain when they’re away from home. A discreet option that can be worn under clothing tends to be the most desirable. If you'll be using your back brace at the office or when out and about, look for a balance of firm support and comfortable padding without excessive bulk. It’s a good idea to consult with a physical therapist before purchasing a back brace to help identify the most suitable option.
A quality back brace will do the best job of providing optimal support for as long as you need it. Metal stays and plastic supports will not only offer increased stability but can also help the brace maintain its shape. If you intend to wear the brace for extended periods, look for double stitching to help prevent premature fraying. Velcro is by far the most common fastening method for elastic back braces. While all Velcro straps are prone to losing grip eventually, wider straps or straps with more than one securing point may hold longer.
Depending on your needs, the following features can offer improved comfort and support.
If you live in a warmer climate or intend to use your brace primarily for exercising, consider a model with mesh straps for optimal breathability.
Heat can be especially soothing for back pain related to osteoarthritis and stiff muscles. Some back braces are designed to trap body heat, offering consistent warmth throughout the day.
A back brace with removable pads provides extra customization by allowing wearers to trim bulk or add additional support and comfort as needed.
Integrated features like metal stays and molded plastic supports provide superior stabilization and support, as well as improved durability.
Back braces that are designed to fit the body’s natural curves may be less prone to bunching and rolling.
Back braces vary greatly in size, materials, and price. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 to over $1,000, depending on the features you need.
You can find these for as little as $10, but at this price, the support and quality will be minimal.
Firmer back braces capable of providing effective stability and compression cost between $20 and $150, depending on size, materials, and supportive features.
Rigid back braces are primarily designed for rehabilitative use following surgery, injury, or in the correction of degenerative spinal conditions, so these are usually recommended by a medical practitioner.
Sometimes a custom fit, additional treatment, or physical therapy is required. Depending on these factors, prices can range anywhere from $300 to well over $1,000.
A. That depends on how much pain you experience and how frequently. Moderate to severe pain, whether caused by injury or chronic back pain, will naturally require extended use. However, those seeking additional support while performing strenuous physical activity, such as moving furniture, may only need to wear a back brace for the duration of the task. It's always best to consult with a chiropractor or physical therapist on the correct usage of a back brace.
A. Once you're free of pain or the discomfort is manageable, it's best to wear a brace only when necessary. This could be at times when your back will be placed under extra pressure or to quell occasional flare-ups. Otherwise, it's generally best to skip wearing a brace in the absence of pain because unnecessarily prolonged use may eventually lead to muscle weakness.
A. Many women experience lower back pain during pregnancy, and extra support can be helpful. Specialized maternity back braces (sometimes called belly bands) are designed to safely relieve pain and offer support while pregnant. Check with your health care provider to rule out possible complications and find out which of these braces is most suitable for you.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.