If you frequently suffer from neck and back pain, a posture brace may be able to help you tremendously. Many people wonder if they work, and if you purchase the best one for your needs from a reputable source, use it properly, and give it time, the chances are that it will. As with any other form of chiropractic care, nothing works overnight. However, if you use a back brace for posture continuously while also seeking professional care, you are bound to see improvements over time.
The Benefits of Good Posture
Having good posture benefits you greatly. Most commonly, poor posture is associated with back pain and muscle tension, but it impacts so much more. Posture also affects your bones and joints, which can help prevent tissue degeneration. Additionally, having good posture can increase your energy levels because when your spine and muscles are in the proper form, your body uses less energy.
Having good posture can also make you seem taller and more confident. It can help you be less prone to injury since all of your bones and muscles are working together efficiently. Good posture helps maintain your respiratory health because when you're hunched over, you crowd your lungs and diaphragm.
Fundamentally, having good posture affects many aspects of your life, and it is important to learn and maintain. Check out these good posture tips, and keep reading to find out if a posture brace may be right for you.
What Are Posture Braces?
Posture braces, also sometimes called posture corrector devices, are designed to be worn on your body. They usually focus on the position of your back and shoulders and come in several different forms depending on your unique posture problems.
Posture braces are made from a wide variety of materials, from neoprene to spandex. They sometimes include a hard material such as a plastic disc or rod to help provide extra support. Posture braces help address the most common issues that people have with correct back and shoulder placement.
A posture brace may be designed to hold your shoulders back and prevent slouching, or offer support to your lumbar spine. The posture corrector devices that exist today are typically discrete, and many can be worn under your clothing without anyone noticing. Your doctor or chiropractor may recommend that you wear one for just a few minutes a day or the entire time you are awake, based on your needs.
Usually, individuals begin to see an improvement within a few weeks of wearing a posture brace. The ultimate goal is to help train your spine and muscles to hold the correct form, meaning that eventually, you will no longer need the posture brace.
For those who suffer from chronic conditions or do frequent manual labor, posture braces or lumbar support belts may be recommended for more extended periods of time.
The Different Types of Posture Corrector Devices
There are many different types of posture corrector devices, and each addresses various posture issues. Your doctor or chiropractor can advise you on the best model after evaluating your health needs. Back braces for posture can be broken down into several main categories.
Cross-Back Elastic Braces
Cross-back elastic braces are comfortable to wear, sleek, and discrete. They are designed to hold your shoulders back, helping you to stand up straight, alleviating the pain associated with slouching or slumping over. These posture braces can be particularly helpful for those who sit at a desk all day and find themselves hovering over a keyboard or computer screen for hours.
With a cross-back elastic posture brace, the straps go under each arm and over the top of each shoulder. They are generally light-weight, and if they are fitted correctly are not uncomfortable.
Molded Back Braces
Molded back braces are more intense than the basic cross-back elastic posture corrector. They are typically recommended for those with serious posture problems. They may be recommended for individuals recovering from an injury, or those with health conditions such as scoliosis.
Molded back braces include hard elements such as rods or plates designed to both protect and support the spine. They are still detachable, meaning that a person can take them on and off as-needed. These braces typically span the entire length of the back, both crossing over the shoulders and wrapping around the lumbar region.
Longline Back Braces
Longline back braces are considered to be the most intense of all, for those suffering from extremely poor posture or severe injury. The braces go all the way from the bottom of your neck to the top of your hip and support your entire back. The longline back brace is not typically sleek or discrete, and an individual should only use one at the recommendation of a doctor or chiropractor.
Support belts, also sometimes called lumbar support belts, wrap around the waist and lower-to-mid back. They are effective in helping individuals who suffer from lower back pain. They may benefit those who sit for extended periods, as that has been shown to put pressure on the lumbar discs. They may also help those who frequently lift heavy objects, a frequent cause of back injury.
Finding the Right Posture Brace
If you are struggling with back pain, and believe that it may be the result of poor posture, seek advice from your doctor or chiropractor. Since chiropractors specialize in evaluating and treating spine alignment, they will be able to examine your needs, ask questions about your lifestyle and the pain you are feeling, and advise you on the posture corrector device that will best help.
Is a Posture Brace Right for You?
If you already have good posture and do not experience back, neck, or shoulder pain, you most likely do not need a posture brace. However, wearing one is not likely to cause you any harm. When determining if a posture brace is right for you, seek chiropractic care, and consider the following questions:
- How often you experience back or muscle pain
- Where the pain occurs
- Is there anything in particular that prompts the pain or activities that make it worse
- How long the pain lasts
- If you have had any surgeries or injuries in the past
- Do you have any health conditions such as arthritis or scoliosis
- Is your lifestyle active or sedentary
- Are you experiencing any other symptoms aside from back, neck, or shoulder pain
Make an appointment with your local chiropractor and be prepared to answer these questions during your appointment. It is not possible to diagnose yourself over the internet, and spine health is a very serious issue as it connects to your entire central nervous system.
Speak to your chiropractor before purchasing or wearing a posture brace, and ask for their recommendations. There are many other ways that you can work to improve your posture, and they may recommend alternative treatment methods either instead of or alongside a posture corrector device.
Popular Posture Braces
The good news is that if you are looking for a back brace for posture, there are many available at affordable prices. Today, posture braces are sold at many major retailers as well as online. Once you have received guidance from your chiropractor on what type of posture brace you may need, read lots of user reviews to see the experience that others have had with the device you are considering purchasing.
There are many inexpensive posture braces available on Amazon that are very highly rated:
1) The Truweo Adjustable Upper Back Brace (a cross-back elastic brace)
2) The Mueller 225 Lumbar Support Brace (a lower-back belt)
3) The JNTAR Back Brace with metal ribs (a molded back brace)
No matter what sort of posture brace you are looking for, there is bound to be one that you can purchase. There are many different colors, levels of support, and price ranges. If you want to be sure that you are buying the correct device, show your chiropractor the link on your next visit and ask their opinion. They may even have their favorite brands and models they can recommend to you.
How to Improve Your Posture without a Brace
In addition to wearing a posture brace, there are many ways that you can improve your posture on your own. There are exercises that you can do daily to help improve your posture and alleviate back pain and chiropractic treatments that can help.
A chiropractor may recommend a combination of in-office treatment, at-home exercises, and a posture brace for the best results.
Exercises to Improve Posture
There are many exercises you can do on your own to help improve your posture, ranging from low-impact gentle stretching to cardio and strength training.
It is recommended that you focus on strengthening your core muscles when looking to improve posture. Yoga and Pilates are great examples, as they are gentle enough for beginners and often take place in a guided group setting. Instructors can help guide you through the correct posture, and you will find over time that you need less correction. In other words, your body's muscle memory will begin to correct itself automatically.
Promoting Good Posture While You Sleep
Sleeping incorrectly is another primary source of back and neck pain for many individuals. Since you typically cannot wear a posture brace while you sleep, it's essential to develop good habits.
Try to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees to support the natural curve of your spine. Or, sleep on your side with your knees bent but not curled up to your chest. It is also important to use a pillow that adequately supports your neck and select a mattress that is firm.
Everyday Habits for Better Posture
There are many things that we do every day that lend to bad posture, yet there are ways that we can correct these habits. If you spend lots of time looking down at your phone, you probably notice that the back of your neck starts to hurt.
Or, if you are looking at a computer all day, you may begin to experience tension in the shoulders and the upper back. To solve these common problems, be sure to lift your phone to eye-level instead of bending your head down to look at the screen. Use monitor lifters to bring your computer screen to eye-level as well.
If you are seated most of the day, you may want to try a lumbar support cushion for your desk chair. Also, be sure to stand up and walk around at regular intervals to stretch your muscles.
Chiropractic Treatment for Poor Posture
If you are struggling with poor posture and frequently experiencing back and neck pain, schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. Chiropractic techniques, including spine adjustments, massage therapy, and physical therapy, may be recommended.
Physical therapy may be particularly helpful if you have been injured or in a car accident and are having posture-related problems as a result.
Only a chiropractor will be able to fully evaluate the health of your spine and determine the source of your poor posture. From there, a comprehensive treatment plan will be developed to help solve the problem.
ChiroCare of Florida has helped many individuals overcome their struggles with poor posture, effectively alleviating pain. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.