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All You Need To Know

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Updated: Nov 16th, 2022

Jump to The Best Back Braces

Back braces can be used to provide support and stability for the lower back during activities. However, they should not be relied upon as a long-term solution and should be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as physical therapy, to address the underlying cause of the pain.



SUPPORT: Provides support and stability to the lower back, which can theoretically help reduce pain and discomfort during activities. PROTECT: Can help protect the lower back from further injury or strain. POSTURE: May improve posture and reduce the risk of developing low back pain or worsening existing pain. LIFTING: May be helpful for individuals who need extra support during heavy lifting or other physically demanding activities SIMPLE: Can be easily removed and worn as needed, providing flexibility as a self-care intervention.


NOT ADDRESSING UNDERLYING ISSUE: May not address the underlying cause of the pain, and may only provide temporary relief. RESTRICT RANGE-OF-MOTION: May reduce mobility and flexibility if worn for extended periods of time. CORE STRENGTH: May lead to muscle weakness or atrophy if relied upon too heavily. DISCOMFORT: May cause skin irritation or other discomforts if the brace is not properly fitted or adjusted. COST: May be expensive, especially if multiple visits to a healthcare provider are required for fitting and adjustments.



There is mixed evidence regarding the effectiveness of braces for the management of lower back pain. A 2009 study by Calmels et al (1) examined the effectiveness of a lumbar (low back) belt in subacute low back pain. The results showed small to moderate improvements in pain, functional levels, and reduced use of medications. However, a sytematic review within the framework of the Cochrane Back Review Group in 2001(2) concluded there was limited evidence that low back supports are more effective than no treatment. They also noted only 4 of 13 studies reviewed were of high quality. Following on this research, a literature review and meta-analysis (3) in 2022 in the Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine assesed the evidence on the use of non-rigid lumbar supports (NRLSs) for non-specific low back pain management. They concluded there was enough evidence to state NRLSs had overall efficacy for both disability and pain. However, they were not able to determine which type of back pain sufferer would benefit most from th use of these braces. One other note, a common concern among clinicians is the over-reliance of back braces leading to general trunk weakness. There appears to be little evidence to support this theory. One small study (4) on on 20 healthy subjects and 9 controls exploring this assertion showed no negative effects on muscle trunk strength after 21 days. This study was small however, and limited conclusions can be made. PROTECTION WITH HEAVY LIFTING We reviewed one study specifically taking a look at the use of back support vs back education alone in promoting recovery from lower back pain (5). This study concluded there was no overall effect on recovery times or lost work time for the back brace group. However, they did note the group using the back brace was significantly less likely to report re-injuring their back.


1. P. Calmels, P. Queneau, C. Hamonet, C. Le Pen, F. Maurel, C. Lerouvreur, et al. Effectiveness of a lumbar belt in subacute low back pain: an open, multicentric, and randomized clinical study. Spine, 34 (2009), pp. 215-220 2. I.C.D. Van Duijvenbode, P. Jellema, M.N.M. Van Poppel, M.W. Van Tulder Lumbar supports for prevention and treatment of low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2 (2008), p. CD001823 3. Gignoux et al. Non-rigid lumbar supports for the management of non-specific low back pain: A literature review and meta-analysis. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicin, Vol 64, Issue 1, Jan 2022, 101406 4. I. Fayolle-Minon, P. Calmels. Effect of wearing a lumbar orthosis on trunk muscles: Study of the muscle strength after 21days of use on healthy subjects. Joint Bone Spine, 75 (2008), pp. 58-63 5. Oleske et al. Are back supports plus education more effective than education alone in promoting recovery from low back pain?: Results from a randomized clinical trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) . 2007 Sep 1;32(19):2050-7.


  • Make sure you have the correct size of brace for your body.

  • The brace should fit snugly but not be too tight. You don't want your movement restricted.

  • Wear the brace over your clothing. It should not be worn directly against your skin as it may cause irritation.

  • Do not rely on the brace to support your entire body weight. It is intended to provide support and stability, but you should still use proper body mechanics when lifting and moving.

  • Do not wear the brace for extended periods of time. It is best to wear it only when you need it, such as during activities that put strain on your back.

  • If you experience any discomfort or irritation while wearing the brace, remove it immediately and consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.

  • We recommend against sleeping in a brace unless instructed to by a clinician.


We would tread carefully with back braces. Some studies have found that low back braces can be helpful in reducing pain and improving function, particularly with acute back pain or following a spinal surgery (your surgeon will provide the correct brace in this case.) However, other studies have found little or no benefit from the use of these braces for back pain management. 


If you do try a back brace, we recommend a non-rigid model that provides light to moderate compression and does not restrict range-of-motion. Use the brace for short periods only and wean off it as soon as possible. In other words, use it as a tool to help you tolerate movement and exercises early in the recovery process - those are the things that are clinically proven to provide the most benefit.


Neenca   |   Bauerfeind

Back Braces

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Value Pick

The Neenca Professional Back Support Brace does an excellent job balancing compression with comfort. Easy to take on and off. Four spring stabilizers fit snugly on the low back and upper buttocks, which adds a sense of support to the area in general. High quality materials, which we've come to expect from Neenca products, and their 3-D hollow knitting technology does a good job keeping the brace in position. The additional compression bands allow for extra stability, however, we recommend only using these very lightly as they can create a feeling of overall trunk stiffness.

We do wish the brace extended a bit lower along the pelvis and buttocks region. This would have added an even greater sense of lower back support. Also, dropping the end-point on the upper end of the brace would have reduced the perception of mild to moderate motion restriction from the brace.

That said, these are minor complaints for a brace that provides good support at a great value.



  • Great value

  • Good materials, well built

  • Easy to take on and off

  • Excellent company and return policy



  • Rides just a bit high on the mid-section for our tastes

  • Slightly stiff which can restrict movement patterns

Premium Pick

We really like this brace, but understand the price point may be a bit high for a lot of individuals. The Bauerfeind  LumboTrain comes in versions specifically designed for biological male vs female frames. We considered this to mostly be a marketing gimmick, but have to admit the designs are significantly different in how they help disperse weight on the upper pelvic crest and lower back. This can make quite the difference for individuals with narrower waists/larger hip profiles vs those with wider waists/narrower hips. We also liked that there are no rigid parts. The soft but firm support provides a sense of stability while allowing full and unrestricted range of motion. 

The soft knit fabric is high-quality, breathable, and extremely comfortable. The triangle cushion pad stood out to us. Per Bauerfeind it "support the back during movements, provided a massaging effect and relieves pain." 

Once again, we know it's quite a bit more expensive than our value pick. But in this case, you get what you pay for. 


  • No rigid parts

  • Extremely comfortable

  • Easy to take on and off

  • Triangle cushion supports while mitigating pain

  • No range-of-motion restrictions

  • Separate designs specifically for biological male and female body frames


  • Price

Best for Lifting

This brace is not intended to alleviate your back pain. It's job is to reduce the risk of another episode of back pain from occurring. We reviewed one study specifically investigating the use of back support vs back education alone in promoting recovery from lower back pain (see evidence section above for references.) This study concluded there was NO overall effect on recovery times or lost work time for the back brace group. However, they did note the group using the back brace was significantly less likely to report re-injuring their backs while lifting at work. So with that in mind, we're including this brace with the specific caveat that correct lifting techniques is also very important.

Regarding the BraceAbility Industrial Work Back Brace - great brace, great materials, and excellent support. The suspender straps help keep the brace from sliding to low, and are easily adjusted. The double-pull tension straps allow to a snug fit, which in the case of a work brace, is quite important. Finally, the four plastic stays provide a rigidity that is needed in the case of lifting protection.


  • Good rigidity (important for lifting)

  • Snug, fairly comfortable

  • Adjustable suspender straps


  • May lead to sloppy lifting technique - be careful to not let this happen

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