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The first step in choosing the best lower back brace is to determine the purpose of the brace and what it will do for you. People with persistent back pain often choose to purchase a brace that will help correct poor posture, while others who participate in activities that require heavy lifting will purchase a lower back brace designed for support. Still others require a lower back brace that is meant to support the back while that person recovers from an injury. These braces will often be recommended by a doctor or physical therapist. Decide what you need a back brace for, and then begin to research options.
For heavy lifting and bending, consider a lower back brace that features shoulder suspenders. The back brace can then dangle from the shoulders when not in use, thereby preventing it from impeding normal movement when you are not lifting heavy objects. The brace itself should wrap tightly around the lower back and stomach, just above the hip bones. Choose a lower back brace with high quality Velcro® as an attachment system, as this will allow you to quickly remove or secure the brace with very little effort. The back of the brace should immobilize the lower back while lifting, forcing you to lift with the legs rather than the back.
A posture support brace often supports the entire back, not just the lower back. Choose one that is not too bulky so it will fit naturally underneath your clothing without bulging. Carefully consider the materials used for the construction of the brace as well. Latex is quite supportive, but it does not breathe well, meaning moisture and sweat will become trapped between your skin and the latex, possibly creating some discomfort. Choose instead a Lycra® lower back brace; this stretchy material is low profile, breathable, and durable. Make sure any brace you purchase fits you properly and is sufficiently adjustable.
Braces designed to support the back after an injury are usually much bulkier and stiffer than other types of support braces. These braces tend to be quite uncomfortable and are used only in the most severe cases; a doctor will usually recommend what brace to use in such a situation. Remember that any brace you purchase will not ultimately solve the problem on its own; its use must be combined with other practices meant to strengthen the back to prevent future injury or pain.
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