My goal with this post is to take a look at the best back braces for lower back pain. A lot of us deal with lower back pain on a daily basis. Whether it is due to an injury, or just wear and tear over time. I have been dealing with back problems most of my adult life and I can certainly attest to the fact that it is really unpleasant. If you are looking for some much-needed relief, please continue reading.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Click here for details.
Be sure to check out the FAQ’s at the end of this post as well.
I am not a doctor but have been through a lot
Okay, so I am not a doctor, but just a guy who has been through a lot with my back pain problems. You can check out my complete story here. In 2015 I let my ego got the best of me. I was working out and doing things I just should not have been doing. Come on, who needs to be moving buses anyway?
While working out, I sprained my pelvis and blew a disc in my back. I was in pretty bad shape. My disc was pushing up against my spinal cord, which in turn made it so I was not able to stand fully upright. I was hobbling around bent over at about a 30-degree angle at my waist, this went on for months.
I paid a visit to my chiropractor twice a week for about 4 months. I was a mess. My pelvis needed to be put back in the right place, and my disc was not helping the situation any. It was a precarious situation, move one thing the wrong way, and I would be screaming at the top of my lungs. Thankfully my chiropractor is top-notch so that never happened.
Time to implement a back brace for lower back pain
Anyway, after months of treatment, I was finally able to wear a back brace, which provided some much-needed relief for me. I am certainly not alone. Many, many people have chronic back pain and often use a back brace of some sort to help with the pain.
The main reasons my chiro had me wear a brace were that compression therapy can reduce swelling, increase circulation to the affected area, help to speed recovery time. This is what prompted me to build a list of the best back braces for lower back pain.
Back pain often arises, from stress on the muscles. This happens when we lift heavy stuff without proper mechanics, twist and turn awkwardly, or have bad posture. Lifting heavy stuff has long been an issue for me. I always try to lift without asking for help.
After my most recent injury, I have learned a very valuable lesson, and I enlist my teenagers to help me do the heavy lifting. Okay, I figured it out, teenagers are the answer to back pain! I don’t need to type anything else, back pain solution found! I am kidding of course, but teenagers can be very helpful.
Why do people buy a back brace anyway?
People purchase back braces for a number of reasons, or conditions they deal with. Some people suffer from scoliosis or weak and underdeveloped muscles around the spine. That is another reason core exercise is super important.
Please check out these core exercises for ways to improve core strength. Other people are born with back or spine issues. Anyway, there are a lot of reasons people use a back brace for back pain. This article from US News talks about the benefits of wearing a back brace.
Some benefits of using a back brace are:
- Help to stabilize an injured area to help with recovery
- Improve posture
- Help distribute weight around a painful low back, this helps to reduce pressure on the spine
- Immobilize an area to help in healing
- Basically to help protect your spine
These are all reasons that I started to wear a back brace when I was finally able to stand upright after my injury.
I see guys at the gym squatting, deadlifting, leg pressing, insane amounts of weight. I just think that is an accident waiting to happen. But at least they are wearing something to brace their lower back. You will see employees in hardware stores, or warehouses wearing a back brace to prevent an injury. So many people use them nowadays.
Check with your doctor first!
Before you rush off to buy a brace, I would definitely check with your doctor first. I initially had problems wearing my brace and it actually hurt because I wasn’t quite ready for it. I wanted to be so ready, but I just wasn’t. So, when I finally got to the point that I could wear one, I did. The point is not to increase your pain level!
Now, I do want to tell you that I don’t think you should wear a back brace all the time. This will lead to your muscles around the spine, and your ever-important core muscles, weakening. Ideally, you want to do some core training and build up muscles to help support your spine. See my post about core exercises, no equipment required. If you wear a back brace intermittently and it helps to take some pressure off, then, by all means, this can be great. But just don’t get in the habit of wearing it all the time.
Sizing you back brace
As far as sizing yourself for a back brace, you will want to measure around your belly. If your waistline and your belly are in agreement, that is fine, but if your belly is a bit larger, you will probably need a bigger size :). So, measure at your belly button. Okay, moving on.
A couple of recommendations:
- Work with your doctor to make sure a back brace is appropriate for you
- You don’t want to overtighten the brace
- The brace should be comfortable, and it should not hurt
The best back braces for low back pain
There are a lot of different types of back braces available and there are a lot of different price points. A couple of things you want to keep in mind when you are choosing a back brace:
- Find one that fits you – Every body type is different and it’s important that the brace fits you well.
- The brace needs to be comfortable when you are wearing it. So find a brace that will move with you and doesn’t pinch when you are walking, or bending over. No point in buying a brace that is so uncomfortable it actually causes you pain.
- The brace also needs to be supportive and provide you with some pain relief. After all, a big reason people use a back brace is for pain relief.
So, after all, that, let’s get to it. There are a lot of different products on the market, so I will walk you through many different back braces and look at the good and if any, the bad.
Mueller 255 Lumbar Support Back Brace
Mueller has been around for a long, long time. Honestly, this is one of the first names that comes to mind when I think of back braces, as well as other types of braces.
This is a great belt for added protection when lifting. Now, just because you have some added protection when you are lifting stuff, this does not give you a license to go around lifting super heavy stuff, so please keep that in mind. What it does do, is help to provide support. Is bad posture a problem? This brace can definitely help you with posture.
My wife wears a brace similar to this as well. She is on her feet all day and uses a brace to give her body a bit of break. Some people also use these braces instead of a lumbar support for sitting at work.
The Mueller 255 Lumbar Support Brace comes with dual fold adjustment straps. The first set of straps will cross over in front with a velcro strap closure, to hold the brace in place. There are two additional straps that will stretch around from each side and overlap to give you however much tension you want. So this brace is really customizable for you. This brace is more narrow in the front and broader in the back to give you more stability coverage. I really like the fact that you can adjust the tension.
One more great feature with this back brace is that it comes with an adjustable (or removable if you so desire) lumbar pad. This is a small pad that attaches with velcro to where the pad will be in contact with your lower back. You can move the adjustable pad wherever you want it so you can get just the right spot. So, not only can you adjust the tightness of the fit, but if you need the extra lumbar support, you are covered.
You can wear this brace either over your clothes, or underneath. Let me get into wearing this underneath your clothes. I actually used this type of brace when I was recovering a few years ago. I would wear it under my polo shirt at work but over the top of my undershirt. See, I tend to sweat (yes, I am a sweater) and having this on over the top of my undershirt worked really well. This way, the brace doesn’t get all sweaty, helping to make this one of the best back braces for lower back pain.
Speaking of sweat…you can wear this brace when you exercise, many people do. Whether it’s tennis or going for a hike, you can wear this brace. Again, I would wear an undershirt, not only for the sweat factor, but that should help to prevent any chaffing. Ah, so if you do sweat, or just think it is time to give your brace a bath, it is hand washable. It is best to hand wash and let it air dry.
- You can control the amount of support
- Washable – hand washing is recommended
- You can use it when you exercise
- Available in regular and plus sizes
- If you wear it against bare skin, it may chafe
- Not machine washable
BraceUP® Stabilizing Lumbar Lower Back Brace
This back brace is very popular for a lot of reasons. First of all, it is really breathable. It is made from a lightweight breathable mesh material. I think that is one of the better features of this back brace. The breathable nature will allow you not only do more but will hopefully keep you from sweating.
The dual adjustable straps make for an easy and comfortable fit. So, these dual straps allow you to get the brace just right. As the day wears on, or you decide you need more or less compression, you can easily adjust it for whatever is most comfortable for you. The first layer has two velcro straps that will position the brace where you want it height wise.
The additional straps stretch, one on either side and allow you to tighten or loosen the amount of compression that the brace offers. It’s really a snug fit and a great idea. This brace will compress your abs but still allow you to move and offers a great range of motion. You also have the flexibility to adjust one side tighter than the other. For instance, if you need more support on your right side. Of course, you can also have them even if that suits you.
The BraceUP® is built with stays into it, which provide added support. So with the stays, and the ability to adjust the amount of compression, this belt really has a lot to offer.
I would add that from personal experience, if you wear this under your clothes, I would wear an undershirt, or some type of clothing to avoid any rubbing, if you wear this for long periods of time. If you wear the brace for doing yard work, or exercise, and you sweat, the extra layer between your skin and the brace might be a good thing.
If the brace gets dirty or stinky, it can be washed, although I would tend to hand wash and let it air dry. You never know with the stays that are sewn into the brace, I would just be cautious and hand wash it.
This is a very solid back brace and a lot of people have been very happy with it. If you do purchase this, don’t think that will give you a license to go lifting whatever you want, whenever you want. You will need to use this brace for it’s intended purpose.
- Breathable mesh material
- Stays are sewn into the brace for added support
- Dual layer adjustment
- Maybe a little bulky under clothing
- Can cause some skin irritation if you wear it for a long time without a shirt under
ComfyMed® Premium Quality Back Brace
ComfyMed is a family owned business that prides themselves on building a better back brace.
First off, the brace is made from a soft, comfortable and durable Neoprene material an includes a removable lumbar pad. So, if you need added support for your lumbar region, you can adjust or remove the extra pad. This will depend on your body and how it feels when you wear it. You will want to try with and without the lumbar pad and see what give you the best result. The only downer to the brace so far is that it may not be as breathable as others since it is made from neoprene.
You will love the ergonomic design of this brace. The ComfyMed® brace is designed to help you stay active and keep you active. The front of the brace is more narrow than the back, which allows you to bend over freely or sit down, without the brace impeding your movement. This brace really gives you the freedom to go about your daily activities allowing you to move freely.
The Premium Quality brace is Designed to sit between your hips and ribcage, allowing the built-in plastic rods to help route some of the weight away from your torso, and spine, instead, distributing the weight evenly through your hips. This will help to relieve pressure on your spine. Which goes back to one point I mentioned earlier about how a brace can help to distribute weight and pressure around the spine.
To put this brace on, you will put the belt around your waist and get it positioned where you want it with the first set of velcro straps. Then you can tighten it down to your liking with the outer compression band, using the metal rings. The velcro on this brace is no joke, and will really hold tight. Because of that, ComfyMed has made this brace with metal rings on the end of the straps, to make it easy to tighten or remove the brace. At least you know it will be a really secure fit when you have it on. The brace should be comfortable and you definitely don’t want to overtighten it.
If you plan to wear this brace under clothing, you can. I would recommend wearing an undershirt or tank top. Of course, it’s personal preference. As for washing, go ahead, but I would recommend hand washing and let it air dry.
- Comfortable design and fabric
- Snug fit
- May not breathe as well as some others
Venom Lumbar Back Brace Support
The Venom Lumbar Back Brace is definitely designed with active people in mind. This is a family-owned business that has really made an outstanding back brace. Whether you are an athlete, or just doing everyday activities like bending over to pick up a kid, you can use this super supportive back brace.
I think you will really be happy with the durability and quality that went into making this brace. The brace incorporates a lightweight mesh, but yet has a very solid back to it, which will help support where you need it most.
This brace offers an inner set or velcro straps that allow you to secure it in place, exactly where you want it. This easy to wrap velcro closure offers a wide range of adjustments and fits many different shapes and sizes of people. If this initial wrap is what you need, then great, but you can also take it further for increased compression. The outer set of straps stretches and allows you to tighten or loosen as needed. This design is great for quick adjustments.
As I mentioned earlier, this brace is great for active people. It is not as bulky as some of the other back braces out there, so you can wear this with confidence when you are exercising, doing yard work, or whatever activities you are doing. Some people wear this while playing tennis and have said it does not impede their performance.
The Venom Lumbar Back Brace Support mesh will help to keep you cool while you are working up a sweat. The lightweight mesh design is again made for your active lifestyle. You can also wear this for everyday activities as well, so it’s a really versatile brace. I would recommend washing this by hand and letting it air dry.
You can wear this under clothing, but again, I would recommend an undershirt, or tank top, or something to make it more comfortable as you are exercising.
Overall, I think this brace is a solid option as many people really like it. I think it’s a little more geared toward sports and exercise which is a real bonus.
- Not as bulky as some braces
- Mesh material helps breathability
- Lightweight and solid
- I would not recommend wearing directly against your skin for long periods of time
Old Bones Therapy Lower Back Brace Support Belt
Now we’re talking. Old Bones Therapy has really hit a home run with this back brace. Ready for this? It comes with hot and cold gel packs! This is such a great feature to add to a back brace. I used a back brace with an ice pack when I was recovering from my injury a few years ago. It was great because I was able to sit at my desk and ice a spot that is pretty hard to get to, without laying flat on my back.
The main part of the back brace is made from perforated neoprene and will help to insulate the ice pack to keep it cool. The perforation will allow airflow and help to maintain breathability.
One thing when you start to ice your lower back is ice tends to melt quickly. An inflamed lower back can give off some pretty good heat. So, with the neoprene insulation, this will really help to keep the ice pack cold for a longer period of time.
You will love the added lumbar spines that will provide additional support to your lower back. So with the lumbar spines and the neoprene construction, this brace really has a lot of support. But, that is not all. This brace is equipped with dual elastic bands so you have the ability to adjust and tighten the brace even more if you need it. This brace is really versatile, making it one of the best back braces for lower back pain.
Whether you are trying to prevent further injury, or just help support your lower back with your daily activities, I really think Old Bones Therapy has made a great back brace. I would recommend washing this by hand and letting the brace air dry. You can wear this brace under clothing.
This brace comes in three different sizes and comes with one red and one blue gel pack. You can heat the pack up in the microwave and put one in the freezer. Overall, this is a great brace, with the added option of heat or cold, which can really help an aching back. The cold pack will last about 15 minutes and the hot pack about 20-30 minutes. You can buy additional gel packs from Old Bones Therapy directly.
- Comfortable neoprene material
- Hot and cold gel packs
- Adjustable fit for just the right amount of support
- Sizes tend to run small
- Ice pack could last longer
King of Kings Back Brace
If you are looking for a more heavy duty back brace, you may just want to give the King of Kings brace a try. This brace provides a large coverage area for your lower back. One of the really nice things about this brace is that it comes with 2 rods which provide additional support on either side of your spine. The really nice thing is that you have the ability to align these rods where you need them the most. You can adjust the location to be wider, or more narrow, depending on your size, or where you feel that you need the support.
This brace is really designed to move with your body, and a lot of people who do heavy lifting have really found this brace beneficial. The brace is not made from neoprene, but rather a super comfortable, breathable material.
What really sets this brace apart is the pulley system that is incorporated to give you lots of room for adjustments. This is a unique system, different from some of the others I have discussed. This pulley system pulls the brace snug from multiple points around your lower back, not just one point. This is a dynamic feature that I think really adds to the value of this brace.
With this brace, you have the main brace itself which attaches with velcro, one side of the other in front of your stomach. If this is enough support, you are good to go. If you require additional support, that is where the pulley system comes in handy, so you can get just the right amount of compression. Again, I think it is really unique that the compression occurs from multiple points on the back of the brace. I think this provides a wider area of consistent support as compared to some of the other braces on the market.
This brace can be worn over or under clothing and you can wash the brace too. I would recommend hand washing and let it air dry, just to be on the safe side.
If you are looking for the best back brace for lower back pain, I would definitely give the King of Kings Lower Back Brace a try.
- Comfortable for long periods of time
- Pulley system enables a fairly wide area of compression
- Can be worn over or under clothing
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Maybe more appropriate for heavy lifters
Conclusion: Best Back Braces for Lower Back Pain
I hope you have found this review valuable. There are a wide variety of back braces available out there to hopefully help provide some much-needed relief for lower back pain. I know I benefited from my back brace when I was recovering from my injury a few years ago.
Everyone is going to be different, so these braces will depend on your body, your injury, or a number of other factors. Before you purchase a back brace, please consult your doctor. Back braces can provide some added stability when you are recovering from an injury, or doing heavy lifting. I believe the best remedy is a strong core, and these braces can help offer some support while you are working on building a stronger core.
Please click here to check prices on Amazon for all lower back braces.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
How can a back brace help?
As was my case, using a back brace allowed me to be upright for longer periods, which also helped in my recovery since I was able to be active when I otherwise couldn’t. Wearing a brace allowed me to go for walks, and do some light exercise which was part of my recovery in building a stronger core.
Without the brace, I was not able to do these things, and that would have slowed down my recovery. So the point is that a back brace can be helpful, but you don’t want to just rely on the brace, ultimately you want to improve strength and that will be the best long-term solution.
If you wear the brace all the time, you are not giving your muscles a chance to work and that can lead to more problems down the road. Yes, a back brace can assist in healing and potentially decrease the chance of further problems later on. The key is to find a happy medium for wearing your brace, you don’t want to overuse or underuse it. If you are going to wear a back brace, intermittent use is the way to go.
Using a back brace the right way is extremely important. You don’t want to increase your pain or cause more damage.
Can I sleep with a back brace?
Unless your doctor tells you to, I would say no. Sleep is a time for your body to recover, so you want to give your body a chance to do so. The additional constriction from the brace might not make sleeping with it a good idea. You may just be more comfortable without the brace. I never slept with my brace on.
Also, having the brace on may cause some irritation to your skin. I am kind of all over the place when I sleep so a brace may rub and cause irritation. Braces are best worn to recover from back pain, and worn during the day to help with things like walking, exercise, or bending over.
How long should I wear my brace?
You definitely don’t want to wear a brace all the time. The brace is designed to help strengthen muscles when you otherwise can’t. You don’t want to become completely dependent on the brace, let your muscles do the work.
Wearing a brace intermittently throughout the day is best. This can help with posture and also give your muscles a break. A few hours, maybe up to four, is about the most you want to wear one. Of course, again, your doctor can guide you through this process. The brace should be worn, so eventually, you don’t have to wear it at all.
Should I wear the brace under or over my clothes?
I definitely recommend having some sort of material between your skin and the back brace. I have tried different braces against my skin and it’s not very comfortable. In addition, if you sweat, then you are sweating on the brace. It’s easier to throw an undershirt in the laundry than to hand wash the brace and air it out. So for comfort and cleanliness, I would wear an undershirt, or wear the brace over your clothes.
Is a back brace machine washable?
Some are, but most you will want to hand wash and let it air dry. Each back brace will be different, so the best bet is to read the care instructions.
Will a back brace help with lower back pain?
I believe it can, but this will be something to discuss with your doctor. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t quite ready for one when I was recovering from spinal stenosis and it actually hurt me to have it on, because the brace caused me to be too far upright at the time. Later on, I was able to use the brace and it helped with my recovery by providing support so I could exercise.