Awkward posture can lead to many back problems, and a lot of pain.
In fact, poor, slouching posture is one of the reasons why 80% of individuals suffer from some kind of spinal problem in their lifetime.
As we spend increasingly more time hunched over laptops and cellphones, poor posture has increasingly become the norm.
These bad back habits can be very difficult to break. Instead of trying to consciously sit up straight all day long (I usually fail at this within 3 minutes), using a posture brace can help keep you aware of your posture while relieving back and spine pain.
Today we’re talking about why healthy posture is important and how to pick out the best posture brace for your needs.
Why Good Posture Is Good For Your Health
Maintaining proper posture is beneficial for a number of reasons, including:
- Improves Physical Appearance. Standing up straight and tall with proper posture gives you a taller appearance and can even make you look slimmer. It also adds a sense of inner and outer confidence. Who doesn’t want a little more of that?
- Increases Energy Levels. Slouching over actually prevents your body from receiving sufficient oxygen. This can drastically affect your energy levels, leading to weight gain and lethargy.
- Boosts Blood Flow. In addition to oxygen deprivation, slouching posture also affects blood flow. Straighter posture promotes healthy blood flow, which may even prevent heart issues.
- Reduces Head and Neck Pain. Bad posture often results in neck, head, and back pain that will only get worse if not corrected.
- Alleviates Headaches. Poor posture can regularly lead to tension headaches.
- Cure Numbness. The spine is part of the body’s central nervous system, which means a poorly positioned spine can result in limb numbness and even impaired bladder or bowel control.
- Prevent Depression. Poor posture isn’t just bad for your physical health – it may affect your mental health too. Research from San Francisco State University has actually found a link between bad posture and depression.
Can Posture Braces Help?
The goal of a posture brace is to retrain your musculature to naturally maintain proper posture.
Posture braces force and individual’s shoulders to sit back and upright. The position may be uncomfortable initially for those who have become accustomed to poor posture, but over time, the brace will alter your muscle memory so that you begin to hold yourself upright without thinking about it.
There is some controversy surrounding posture braces, as some doctors believe braces can weaken muscles as they become too reliant on the brace. Instead, they recommend regular posture exercises.
While overusing a posture brace might prevent muscles from improving, many of us who sit slumped over a computer can benefit from a brace to simply get our bodies into the habit of sitting up straight.
Once this muscle memory has been achieved, individuals should stop using the brace (or at least use it less frequently) to encourage proper muscle growth.
The key value of a posture brace is to improve muscle memory and habit – once that is achieved, the brace should be removed so that your body can develop those posture-strengthening muscles independently.
What to Consider When Shopping For A Posture Brace
When shopping for a posture brace, there are a few things to keep in mind, including:
- Comfort. You won’t be too likely to wear a posture brace if it isn’t at least semi-comfortable. Some braces are meant to be worn all day long (although many can be worn less frequently and still be very effective), so you don’t want a brace that will be causing you pain and irritation.
- Size. Some posture braces were created to be one-size-fits-all, while others will come in a several sizes. Your comfort level is partially dictated by the correct brace size, so make sure to pick the right one for your body type.
- Cost. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on a posture brace. This is not a product where you’ll want to go with the cheapest option. You want something that is durable, will last a long time, and is machine washable, for connivence.
Type of Posture Braces
Depending on your needs, you will find that there are different types of posture braces.
1. Standard Posture Braces
Standard posture braces are commonly made of soft nylon straps that are worn over your shoulders. These posture braces work by pressing your thoracic spine in the middle of your back, guiding your shoulders into retracting.
As a result, your upper spine and neck will straighten, and your chest will push outward in a proper posture position.
2. Support Bands and Belts
Posture support bands are similar to traditional posture braces, but follow a slightly different design. Posture support bands can be worn around your lower back, or your lumbar spine.
Support bands are often used to prevent hunching over, and also to give you extra support when you are lifting heavy objects. However, studies have proven that this method does not do a lot to protect your spine when you do heavy lifting.
3. Posture Bras
Posture bras offer the same kind of support as a brace, but in the form of a a bra. These are especially convienent for women, who can wear posture bras under their everyday clothing.
Posture bras can be especially beneficial for individuals with bust-related posture issues.
4. Posture Shirts
Posture shirts are very similar to traditional braces, but are usually made out of elastic rather than nylon. Posture shirts come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Some posture shirts use inner elastic bands to compress certain muscles to help keep your body straight.
They also have the added benefit of discretion, as they resemble a normal workout shirt.
Which Type of Posture Brace Should I Choose?
The best type of posture brace for you depends on your unique needs.
If you are currently having sore back and neck issues, or have developed acute postural issues, like rolled shoulders, then a standard posture brace might be your best choice. You will find that these braces are more firm, and give you a higher quality support to guide your back into a proper sitting posture.
A posture shirt will work if you are just trying to stop beginning posture related issues. Posture shirts have the added benefit of being discreet, resembling normal clothing. If you feel like you are starting bad posture habits, the posture shirt will provide you with the moderate support you need.
Posture bras are designed specifically for women, and are an especially good choice if you are suffering from bust related neck and back problems.
Posture Brace vs Back Brace: What’s The Difference?
Posture braces and back braces can be used with similar effectiveness, but are actually designed for different purposes.
Posture braces are used to improve your comfort level, and they mostly designed to support your shoulders, or clavicle area, and the upper back. They help your posture by preventing slumping by pulling your shoulders back. Your body is then trained over a period of time to sit up straight in more of a therapeutic manner.
The back brace, on the other hand, fits around your lower back, and was created to restrict your movement when you have a serious injury, like a strain or sprain. They also can be used to support you while you are lifting heavy objects. Some back braces are created to treat more serious medical conditions like Scoliosis.
Posture Safety: Don’t Wear A Brace 24/7
It’s worth noting that most posture braces should not be worn 24/7. Most are designed to be worn between 30 minutes to a few hours each day.
Remember, the goal of a posture trace is to re-train your muscle memory – not become a crutch! You should never use a posture brace for many hours over an extended period of time, as you won’t get as much muscle development when depending on a brace.
6 Best Posture Brace: Reviews
The StabilityAce Back Posture Brace has a comfortable design, and is made with velvet and padded foam positioned along thick straps.
Easy adjustments can be made with the strong straps and movable d-rings.
This brace is unisex and can be used by both men and women – however, you’ll want to make sure to measure under your armpits and around your chest for accurate sizing.
This posture braces uses a figure 8, backpack-style design which firmly pulls your shoulders back into alignment, giving you postural support and stabilizing your clavicle.
In addition to correcting posture, this brace can also be used to address sprains, fractures, shoulder instability, fibromyalgia, and collarbone pain.
This is an inexpensive treatment option that helps you with long-term pain management.
• Users say they can feel it correcting their posture as it is worn
• Clever, convienent design
• Hard to put on by yourself if you’re not flexible
• Some report that this brace is painful to wear in the armpit area
The Lumo Lift Posture Activity Tracker isn’t technically a brace, but it’s still a valuable tool for adjusting poor posture, which is why it has earned a place on this list.
Lumo Lift is a digital device that tracks:
- steps taken & distance travelled
- calories burned
- posture positioning, correcting you when you slump
- total “good posture” hours
The Lumo Lift uses a digital tracker that you wear to collect data, which syncs with an app (which is available for Windows, iOS, or Android devices).
How does it work? The Lumo Lift Posture Tracker uses a lightweight, discreet device that is clipped to your shirt to track your posture and movement.
The device is worn just below your collarbone, and can be attached to the outside of your shirt via a magnetic clip, or inside your shirt for the ultimate discretion.
The device uses a patented biomechanics monitoring sensor and angle displacement measurements to detect when you’ve begun slouching.
When it senses that you are slouching, the device vibrates to remind you to sit up straighter and will signal when you’ve corrected your positioning into what you’ve calibrated as your standard of good posture.
Users report that the Lumo Lift charges very quickly and lasts about 2 days on a single charge. Most note that the main benefit of Lump Lift is increase awareness of poor posture.
- Makes you more mindful of your posture & teaches better posture habits
- Easy to use
- Very small and discreet
- Must be worn on snug-fitting shirts to work properly
- Heavy amounts of sweat can upset it
- Some users find the instructions and UX difficult to navigate
- Some report pairing difficulties
- Users wish for more goal customization & more features
The BetterBack Posture Corrector is a doctor-recommended posture corrector that helps to improve your posture through an ergonomic belt-style brace that links your back and knee together (rather than shoulder positioning, which most other braces focus on).
This brace turns any chair into an ergonomically-friendly one.
The BetterBack stabilizes your pelvis so you can’t slump, restoring your spine’s natural curvature, and providing lumbar support.
It’s lightweight, easy-to-use, and is very portable – it can be unzipped and folded very quickly, allowing it to be stored in a purse or bag.
It’s reported that the BetterBack only needs to be worn 15 minutes to receive better posture. However, it’s also safe to wear all day to alleviate back pain.
To top it all off, the BetterBack brace was featured on Shark Tank, where sharks loved it!
- High reports of pain relief and comfort
- Users consider this brace to be quite stylish and attractive compared to competitors
- Extremely portable, can be taken and used anywhere
- Made of a porous and perforated back cushion to help in the heat
- Some find the adjustable buckles to be awkwardly positioned
- Requires users to refit it every time they sit down
- Some users report knee pain if they use the BetterBack too often, so avoid long periods of use if you have knee issues
The Yosoo Corrector Brace is a neoprene posture brace that promises pain relief from injuries and encourages proper posture.
The Yosoo Corrector is especially good for those who work at a computer, as the brace pulls back rounded shoulders, which commonly fall forward when sitting at a screen.
It features shoulder velcro straps that can be adjusted for a perfect fit, and breathable, latex-free material to help keep your back from getting heated and sweaty.
The Yosoo Corrector aims to relieve spinal pressure on your discs, reduce pain, and lessen inflammation resulting from bad posture.
The device claims to be thin enough that it can be worn under your clothes without calling attention, allowing for all day use (although product info suggests starting off at 15-25 minutes and increasing more time as your muscles grow).
- Works well for small to medium sized individuals
- Many report that is successfully relieves muscle tension and corrects posture
- Many find the sizing to run small, and feel that this brace cannot fit larger individuals
- Does not include instructions – you’ll need to figure it out on your own!
- Some have issue with the underarm placement, since if you sweat, you’ll definitely get some on the brace
The Comfort Posture Support Brace is an adjustable posture corrector, in the form of a shoulder and back brace that helps create good posture in both children and adults.
The brace is designed to be worn over a t-shirt, and the strap style is slightly different from traditional braces, with a large back panel and a thicker waist support strap.
Is it durable, washable, and should fit most sizes thanks to its adjustable straps. The brace should be worn 1-2 hours – no more, no less.
The Comfort Posture brace seeks to promote a healthy lifestyle by realigning your spine by pulling your shoulders back.
• Straps adjust easily
• Comfortable and soft
• Doesn’t come with directions
• Sizes run small
• Takes a while to get the rubber synthetic smell out
The Insta Slim Compression Shirt is designed to slim and tone your body while also encouraging proper posture support.
Made primarily of nylon, the shirt gives your body a firmer look to provide better confidence along with better posture. The shirt comes in several different sizes and colors.
- Can be worn as a regular shirt or under sweaters and other outerwear
- Tight, firming material that’s also breathable
- This posture shirt is not unisex -it’s designed specifically for men
- Primarily designed to slim and tone, with posture support as an added bonus benefit
Our Tip Pick For Best Posture Brace!
The Comfort Posture Support Brace is our top pick winner for our best posture brace roundup!
It’s a great product for both children and adults that is soft and comfortable, with easily adjustable straps, as well as durable and long lasting quality.
This is a great posture brace for anyone that has back aches, poor posture, or slumping shoulders!
Additional Ways to Improve Posture
- Belly Breathing. Practicing belly breathing from deep in your abdominal encourages movement in the spinal nerves, which can help with overall posture.
This video explains the connection between posture and breathing, along with demonstrations of breathing exercises you can use at home!
- Standing Desk. Standing desks have become increasingly popular in the workplace as more research comes out about the dangers of sitting all day. Consider asking your boss about a standing desk at work, which can help keep your spine straight as well as avoid other health issues associated with sitting.
- Adjust Your Monitor & Keyboard. Even if your boss isn’t down with a standing desk, adjusting the positioning of your monitor, keyboard, mouse, and footstool can do wonders for improving your desk posture.
- Spine Strengthening Exercises. Neck stretches like side-to-side and ear-to-shoulder movements can be very beneficial for your cervical spine. Some suggest that just 10 minutes a day of stretching is all your need to see significant improvement.
- Healthy Diet. A diet of fresh veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help your body build muscles that will support your spine. Experts also recommend a B-complex, Omega-3, and multivitamin to decrease nerve pain in the spinal area.
- Massage Therapy. Massages let those stressed-out muscles relax and loosen, allowing your body to position itself in a natural position more easily and correct poor, muscle-learned postures.
Do you have any tips for maintaining better posture? Have you ever used a posture brace? Share your thoughts in the comments!