Back braces are a potential home remedy for lower back pain - and in this article I'm reviewing a new one: the STOT Sports Back Brace.
Trying On The New Back Brace For Lower Back Pain
Does A Back Brace Work For Lower Back Pain?
This is a debate, and I'll lay out both sides of the back-brace-for-lower-back-pain argument.
Yes, it works: Back braces help give your lower back a break. If you suffer from a lower back muscle strain, a vertebrae injury, or inflammation from a disc, you may just need to stay off your back and let it heal. In the case of needing to stay off your lower back, a back brace is a good solution for pain relief. A back brace takes away the support and work your lower back muscles typically need to do to hold you upright, so your lower back can rest and repair.
No, it does not work: A back brace is a band-aid for lower back pain. Back braces limit your flexibility, making you stiffer. Back braces also do the work your muscles are supposed to do, making you weaker. Wearing a back brace for an extended time can make you stiffer and weaker than you started, and you should focus on stretching and strengthening instead of dodging the real problem (you are tight and weak).
Here's a video supporting the latter: https://youtube.com/shorts/k6Fl8UEG7SU?si=6imYQJYAQbUSduvm
I believe the answer lies in the middle. Sometimes, you just need to give your back a break and need a back brace for lower back pain. Other times, you need to take an honest look at your physical abilities and improve strength and mobility without the brace.
For those of us who fall into the back brace camp, keep reading.
The Best Back Brace For Lower Back Pain
I've tried a handful of back braces in my time, and I'm a big fan of the STOT Sports one, which is pictured in all the images in this post.
STOT Sports Back Brace
The STOT sports back brace is on the lighter side - not super stiff or limiting, but slightly elastic and naturally supportive. The material is super comfortable and the straps are velcro and easily adjustable.
Barring a back break or surgery-required spinal injury, I actually much prefer the lighter back braces like STOT sports. They are much less limiting mobility-wise, and the slightly stretchy material moves with you as you go about life.
In Use - STOT Sports Back Brace For Lower Back Pain
If you are interested in the STOT Sports back brace for lower back pain, follow the link below. I have a 32-inch waist (I wear 32" pants) and the size small fits perfectly for reference.
I can also say the STOT Sports back brace has a pleasant unboxing experience with a slick bag and box. If a back brace is right for you, I'd try it out.
STOT Sports Back Brace Bag
How To Wear A Back Brace For Lower Back Pain
The goal of a back brace for lower back pain is to support the lumbar spine, so the area can better relax and heal. We want to position the back brace so that it covers the lumbar spine, as in the image below.
How To Wear A Back Brace For Lower Back Pain
How Long Should You Wear A Back Brace For Lower Back Pain?
The duration you wear a back brace is incredibly case dependent. It is best to consult a professional who knows your case in person, but here are a few general rules of thumb:
- Do not use a back brace as a forever solution, or you will undergo muscle atrophy
- Listen to your body. If you feel better after a few days of wearing your back brace, there is no need to keep going
- Wear your back brace when doing light physical activity - walking, hiking, yard work, playing with the kids, etc.
What Is The Best Back Brace For Me?
This is impossible to answer as a general blanket statement for everyone reading. Although here are a few buckets I can put you in:
If you had a very serious spinal injury, you should a) be a doctor and not reading this, and b) opt for a high-end rigid back brace. These are much more expensive and stiff than the STOT Sports back brace, but it is likely what you need to allow your lower back to turn off and heal.
If you have general non-specific lower back pain, the STOT Sports back brace is great. It is light, malleable to the body, not limiting, and easily adjustable.
If you don't know where to start, it is better to start too light than too heavy/rigid when it comes to the best back brace for lower back pain. Not only are light back braces cheaper, but they are the less potent option that gives you more natural freedom of movement.
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