With most of us sitting down more than we should, you’ve probably suffered from your fair share of back pain.
And you already know that maintaining a healthy posture is the key to eliminating it.
So the big question is, will a posture corrector fix your back woes?
Self-awareness is the key to correcting your spinal alignment, so do posture correctors help you create healthy habits?
In this guide, we will review the theory and science around wearing a posture corrector.
We’ll talk about the benefits, disadvantages, how to correctly use one, and also recommend a few good options.
Good Posture Benefits
There are many reasons why people need to adopt a good posture. We are all inclined to slouch, especially if we spend a lot of time in front of the computer. But keeping your back straight brings about several benefits we can highlight:
When your back is straight, your lungs are no longer compressed and your airways have more space to facilitate breathing.
Oxygen intake improves, which influences your body as a whole, improving your mood, musculoskeletal health, and more.
Better mental state & focus
According to a study published in the journal Biofeedback, sitting in an upright position facilitates the process of recalling and accessing memory as opposed to slouching.
Other studies found a relationship between posture and emotions such as depression and anxiety. A better posture is usually associated with a better mood and mental state.
Balance depends on how evenly weight is distributed in your body, and your back muscles play an important role.
An upright posture will reduce your risk of falling and improve athletic ability.
Slouching not only compresses your lungs and airways but also your blood vessels and circulations.
If you correct your posture, more blood will reach your organs and make them work smoothly.
Spinal misalignment is a widespread problem, and many people have pathologic curvatures without noticing.
They can become a bigger problem as we age, but we can prevent that from happening by straightening up.
Eliminate back pain
After years of slouching, back pain is predominant in the U.S., causing problems to 1 in 4 adults.
Improving posture and spinal alignment is usually accompanied by fewer episodes of back pain.
Stress on your neck is a significant cause of tension headaches. You can correct them automatically by keeping an upright posture.
Body language is very important in our social interaction, and people commonly see slouching as a sign of low self-esteem.
However, it’s far from being only a perception issue.
A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology reports that adopting a more confident and straight posture improves self-confidence when it comes to expressing thoughts and ideas.
Are Posture Braces Bad For You?
Posture braces are not best friends nor are they worst enemies.
They are special aids you can use and they will work only if you truly need them.
This is a brief review of the pros and cons of posture aids to keep in mind:
- They work as reminders to straighten up instead of forcing you to adopt a new posture.
- They are not pricey, at least not compared to medical treatments of any back or shoulder injury.
- There are different models and types of braces. Some of them have thin straps, others are made for fitness individuals.
- Each posture aid is useful in its own way, depending on what you need.
- Posture aids should not be used over very long periods because they may weaken the back muscles and make things worse.
- Each patient may require a different type of posture brace. If you have a medical condition that requires a brace, you need to talk to your healthcare provider before making your purchase.
- They will not fix your posture permanently. They provide support and a reminder, not a magical fix.
Looking at the clinical evidence of posture correctors, we can say without a doubt that they do work, just not for everyone and not in the same way for all patients.
It also depends on whether or not patients follow instructions and use their braces appropriately.
Thus, there’s a lot of human error in the process, which is why results of scientific studies should be interpreted with care.
What some studies have revealed
Many studies in children and adolescents found that laptop users have a higher incidence of musculoskeletal pain.
Similarly, other studies have tried to correct the problem by using posture braces, but they’ve only looked at short-term results.
Authors suggest that one of the main benefits of posture correctors is that it increases self-awareness and helps patients correct their spinal alignment on their own.
The use of braces on athletes
Another interesting study published in the Journal of Athletic Training evaluates the use of braces by athletic individuals with poor posture.
They used a randomized controlled clinical trial to test whether scapular stabilization braces can modify posture and muscle activity.
The researchers reported that the forward shoulder angle was reduced (no more hunching), and the lower trapezius was becoming more fully activated while relaxing the upper trapezium.
These results are promising for athletes with poor posture, and similar studies have been released for other groups and populations.
How Posture Devices Work
Posture devices are designed to align your spine and engage the shoulder and chest muscles.
It helps by restricting slouching and serves as a reminder that you should straighten up. So in due course, your body gets accustomed to adopting an upright position naturally.
Therefore, we could say that the best thing and the worst thing about a posture device is this one thing – it won’t force anything on you.
You will need to become self-aware and straighten up every time.
Questions about shoulder braces
Do they work long term?
Clinical studies only evaluate shoulder braces in the short-term. But according to users’ experience, using them permanently is not recommended.
They could make the problem worse by making your back muscles lazy and sometimes causing atrophy.
Do posture correctors weaken muscles?
As noted in the study mentioned above, posture correctors increase muscle activation in certain areas while relaxing the muscle in other parts.
This is helpful to correct your posture but not okay to maintain over a long period.
To know when to stop, take a break from your braces and try to maintain a healthy posture without them. If you can, stop using them.
Can you sleep with a posture corrector?
Definitely not. You should use this type of aid for a few hours every day. It is not safe to use them all day and all night. Plus, it can be really uncomfortable to sleep with them.
How tight should a posture corrector be?
Your posture aid should not be loose but it should not be extremely tight either. It’s best to adjust the tightness until you feel the stretch, but it’s still not uncomfortable to wear.
Is it bad to wear a posture corrector all day?
Wearing a posture corrector all day can be quite uncomfortable and sometimes painful. It’s not a good idea in the long run.
Start by wearing it 25 to 30 minutes a day and gradually increase time in the next few days until you reach 5 hours without any discomfort.
Do posture correctors help back pain?
If the back pain is caused by poor posture, the answer is yes.
Note that back pain is only a symptom, and there are many causes besides hunching and adopting a poor posture at your desk.
Does fixing posture hurt?
It can be uncomfortable because your body and muscles are accustomed to something else.
However, after fixing your posture you will notice how your back pain and other problems start to disappear.
Best Posture Correctors
We can show you the best posture correctors on the market but the final decision to purchase depends on you and your needs.
So, what should you consider when buying the best posture corrector adapted to your particular needs?
What to consider before buying
The best advice we can give you is to consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have recurrent back pain or a musculoskeletal condition or injury.
What else to consider
You need an effective posture corrector that works on the weak area that is causing the problem.
Is it your lower back? Maybe your neck? You will find different models focused on each part.
Above all, it should be comfortable to wear. Stay away from extremely tight or rigid models that limit your mobility.
Each posture corrector has an area of support, and the model should be chosen accordingly if you have any type of injury.
Talk to your doctor if you need further guidance on this particular.
Easy to use
Ask yourself whether or not the device is easy to put on and take off. Can you adjust the tension by yourself?
Find a model that is comfortable and easy to adjust without any external help.
Recommended posture correctors
Most posture correctors need straps all over your body, but this one is quite different.
It attaches to your back and vibrates when you start hunching. Moreover, it has a cool Android and iOS app where you can track your progress.
This model is one of our favorites due to its improved support for the lower back.
It comes in 10 sizes and can be adjusted depending on your fixation level. This brace does the work and it is not difficult to put on and take off.
If you feel lower back pain while sitting, the lower back support of this belt will be most appropriate for you.
It is designed for sitting instead of wearing all day long and is especially for people who do office work or stay seated for long periods of time.
Other Ideas For Correcting Posture
Posture aids are only an aid. As mentioned before, they won’t force a healthy posture on you and you need to do your part.
So, even if you don’t have one, there are other things you can try:
Pay attention to your stance. Try to stand straight, relax your shoulders and pull them back lightly. Keep it natural and do not exaggerate your normal back curvature.
Physical exercise can help you improve your posture, especially when you strengthen your back and core muscles.
Try to live an active life and rely on bodyweight training if you can’t go to the gym.
Take regular break
If you’re sitting for a long time, take regular breaks, stand up, stretch, try some bodyweight movements if you like.
Sit upright at your desk
When you’re sitting, adopt a neutral posture, keeping straight without exaggerating your natural curves. You might want to use a supportive cushion on your back for support.
Invest in an ergonomic workstation
Sitting ergonomically is much more than being comfortable. You need to adjust the monitor height, your chair, the position of your keyboard, and much more.
If you spend hours on your computer, investing in an ergonomic workstation is fundamental for maintaining good posture.
These chairs are somewhat similar to regular chairs. However, they have added lumbar support.
There are also kneeling chairs and other types you might have never seen or considered before.
You can choose from monitor stands or laptop stands depending on the device you use.
They increase the height of monitors so you can avoid looking down at the monitor and automatically hunching.
Under desk trays
Placing your keyboard comfortably is also fundamental to maintain your posture. It will also prevent carpal tunnel syndrome if you use computers way too much.
Lumbar support cushions
These are a great alternative if you stick with regular chairs. What they do is add support to your lumbar spine and help you keep your lower back straight and comfortable.
Sitting is the new smoking because it’s a long-held habit with many consequences.
If you want to counter that, standing desks are a comfortable way to keep on working while standing up.
Do posture exercises
There are ways to reset your posture after sitting for a long time.
For example, you can do a wall slide, which looks similar to a dumbbell shoulder press but without adding any extra weight.
The child’s pose is another option if you want to stretch your spine after a computer work session.
Improve your core
Core strengthening exercises will not only address your abdominals but your lower back and posture.
Planks and bridges are very good examples. They straighten your core and lower back, making you adopt a naturally straight posture.
Do They Work?
After reviewing posture correctors and analyzing scientific studies and clinical experience, we’ve concluded that though posture correctors can make a difference, they are not a miracle fix.
They don’t restrict your mobility or force you to adopt a certain position.
Instead, they serve as a useful reminder to straighten up and are adaptable to your particular needs.
If you suffer from back conditions or have recurrent back pain, you might need professional guidance.
If that is the case, refer to your doctor, and ask for advice before buying any fancy-looking models.