Back Braces: How to choose the right one for you

Want to learn about the benefits of a back brace, whether or not you need one and how to choose the right one for you? Keep reading...

Benefits of a back brace

Across Australia, 4 million adults suffer from an episode of back pain every year. A staggering statistic which highlights how frequent back pain events are. Our sedentary lifestyles, combined with increased work hours, stress and a general lack of exercise, are all significant factors in this trend. Whilst fixing this problem should be high on the priority list, back braces can be a useful tool to assist in the meantime. They provide stability and support - allowing you to continue to be active whilst protecting your back. Along with a sedentary lifestyle, one of the other significant factors that lead to back pain in sport. Acute injuries are common, with recreational athletes, right through to elite stars being sidelined due to back pain.

Top 5 Injuries that back braces help manage:

  1. Back sprains

  2. Chronic back pain

  3. Disc bulge

  4. Sciatica

  5. Facet joint injuries

When do you need a back brace?

There are a number of situations where a back brace may be helpful:

With all sports, there is a risk of back pain or injury. Prevention through strengthening training and warm-ups can help reduce the risk but unfortunately doesn't provide 100% protection. Back braces can be used as additional support in the prevention of injuries, or more commonly, as a tool to allow players to return to sport as their injury continues to repair.

The most common sports where a back brace can be useful:

Different types of braces

Not all back braces are created equally, with different levels of support for different types of injury.

Soft brace

A soft back brace is made of breathable, lightweight material, making them the most comfortable every day back support. These braces work by compressing the abdominal area, and offering lumbar support, whilst maintaining enough flexibility to allow for movement.

Sports brace

Sports braces are similar to a soft brace, providing lumbar support, whilst being flexible enough to allow for movement.

Rigid brace

A rigid brace provides much more lumbar support than traditional braces, ensuring that even the most severe back injury is protected. The downside to these braces is that they are usually a bit chunkier, and less breathable - making them tougher to wear, particularly in the summer months.

How much does a back brace cost?

The most basic back support will cost you around $35 retail. If you require something with more support or perhaps even something more customisable, you will expect to pay upwards of $250. You get what you pay for, so make sure you choose something that suits your injury and your current needs.

How to choose the right back brace

Now that you can see the different types of back support out there and the costs associated, it is now time to choose the right one for you!

It is essential to consider a few factors in the decision-making process:

For most back injuries, a soft brace or sports brace will provide adequate support, whilst still allowing for enough movement. These braces are perfect for acute back pain, minor injuries and any sporting injuries. If your pain is more severe, or perhaps something more chronic, then you may consider a rigid brace. Providing significantly more support, rigid braces are more robust and sturdy. The only negative being the bulkiness and size of these braces can make it harder to be active. If you are still unsure about which brace to choose, speak to your local physiotherapist who can guide you on this decision.

Are you still suffering from back pain?

Whilst a back brace can give you some support - remember it's just that, support! Find a local physio who can help treat your back injury and get back to your active self.

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