Updated: Jun 12, 2019
To Brace or Not To Brace
It is a common question
Nowadays, you can find many different kinds of posture correctors. In its most basic definition, a posture corrector (also referred to as a posture aid or posture supporter) is a garment designed to support your neck, back, and shoulders. Originally they took the form of various back braces but today you have more choices. You can even find an assortment of posture supporting clothing such as t-shirts, leggings, posture correcting bras, and even some special devices for your back and neck.
Generally, I recommend using a posture corrector. They can be a helpful tool in your posture correcting efforts. You should do other things to improve your posture as you cannot rely on the product alone, such as massage, corrective exercise and stretching.
Pros: There is an ever-widening selection of posture correctors flooding the market and there are certainly some easily wearable choices. Posture correctors come in a variety of sizes and designs that take into account your gender, weight, height, age, budget, correctional goals and lifestyle.
The “figure-eight” design, worn like a backpack, tends to be the most popular because it is relatively cheap and can be concealed underneath clothing. However, for a higher price, you can get a posture correcting shirt which can be worn even more seamless while being completely concealed. If you require stronger back support you may opt for the vest style brace which is more restrictive but also offers greater reinforcement for the lower back. Fortunately almost of all posture correctors are made in a lightweight and breathable material that doesn’t irritate the skin.
Cons: While the design and variety of posture correctors have improved over the years, they probably won’t be the most comfortable thing you can wear and there will be occasions where you can’t wear them. While being comfortable is surely a concern, we are talking about correcting your posture so some level of discomfort is unavoidable.
Even smaller and/or more camouflaged posture correctors can be visible. A posture brace will probably be visible underneath more tight clothing. If you are wearing a posture correcting shirt or bra, your choice of clothing is also going to be limited if you want to hide it. Also, if you tend to feel warm often wearing a posture corrector could make you sweat.
Safe and Useful
Pros: When used properly, wearing a posture corrector is a great, healthy measure to help train your body into sitting and moving with proper alignment. Eventually this does improve your posture and overall appearance. Posture correctors can also be used as a preventative, giving some extra support for you when you spend long periods of time in the same position like driving and working at a computer. Additionally, they can provide temporary pain relief and support after an injury since wearing them encourages good posture relieving excess stress on joints and your spine.
Cons: Posture correctors should not be your permanent solution! They are meant as a training tool that gently reminds and encourages you to have correct alignment. At some point, you want to graduate from that training. You will find that most medical professionals warn against using them for extended periods of time because it can create an over-dependence, eventually leading to atrophy of your muscles. This means the important posture stabilizing muscles go on vacation and regrettably, the term “use it or lose it” describes the strength of your muscles well. When your muscles no longer have to work as hard because they are supported by the posture corrector, they will eventually weaken.
Affordable and Easy To Buy
We live in the age of online shopping and unsurprisingly, you can purchase various posture correctors on Amazon and many other major online retailers. You can find excellent posture correcting products in a price range from approximately $20 – 120, with smaller posture braces mainly being in the low end and posture correcting clothing in the higher end.
Please remember that posture correctors are not a cure for scoliosis or a replacement for surgery, they are only a tool to help (re)train your mind and muscles.