Question:

Dear TAI Experts:

I am interested in purchasing a back brace that will help my posture permanently that I would most likely only wear at night. I have seen so many different types. Do you have any recommendations of a certain type?

Answer:

It is difficult to identify the best brace without first doing an exam to see what type of posture is being demonstrated. I also need to understand the motivation behind improving posture so the brace can focus on specific goals. For example, is it for pain relief, to sit or stand taller, or to be better at a specific sport? My recommendation is to see a local physical therapist before you try a brace. Poor posture can typically be reversed with strengthening, stretching, and joint mobilization. PT’s can also help retrain muscles to hold you in the correct posture for specific activities based on your goals. A back brace worn at night may help improve posture while sleeping, but unless muscles are strengthened and retrained, there will be little carryover into daily posture.

A back brace is most effective on individuals with a fixed posture, such as scoliosis. With this condition, the spine is rotated and side bent, causing limitations in movement and pain with activity and sustained postures. Most individuals will benefit from strengthening and stretching. If pain persists, a back brace such as SpineCor can be worn through the day for extra support. If you consult a PT and decide together that a brace is the best option, they can help choose the best one to meet your needs, or direct you to a local Orthotic Clinic to have one fitted.

Lindsey McLeod PT, DPT