Postural correctors/braces have been on the rise for the past few years. This is because the most common problem in today’s society is bad posture. People spend too much time sitting, texting, and on the computer. This causes your head to protrude forward and your shoulders to round forward. Overtime this poor posture results in neck, shoulder, and back pain. Look at yourself in the mirror. You may find that your head protrudes forward and your shoulders are hunched forward. This poor posture puts a lot of extra stress on your neck and back.
So, what is the solution to fixing your posture? Most people believe the best solution is a posture corrector brace that helps support your back in a better position. But do they actually work? What are the pros and cons of using a posture corrector? I am going to be discussing the benefits/drawbacks to using a posture brace. Also, when and how to use them correctly.
Will Posture Braces Fix My Posture?
Posture braces do work, and can help improve your posture. However, they do not permanently fix your posture. A posture corrector brace is only a temporary solution. A posture brace will indeed put you in a better posture, and remind you to maintain a more upright posture. But, this is only temporary. The permanent fix for improved posture is to actually engage your muscles. Each and everyone of us has great postural muscles! They just are not doing their job. They need re-trained due to them becoming weak from sitting, texting, etc.
I recommend people wearing a posture brace temporarily. It is a great product to “feel” how your posture is supposed to be. However, chronic use of a postural brace can actually weaken the postural muscles, and make your posture worse in the long run. It is like wearing a cast. When your muscles are in a cast they get weak/small from not using them. The same thing would happen with years of being in a postural brace. Your muscles would stop working and stop doing their job, because the brace would be doing all the work.
Benefits of Posture Corrector Braces
Posture braces do have some great benefits. The main benefit is that it instantly improves your posture. It also gives people a “feel” of good posture. It is important for people to understand what good posture actually is, and for them to know how it feels. A postural brace worn temporarily is a great way to trigger your body into remembering good posture. I recommend people wear the brace for short periods of time. A quick 10-15 minute session with the posture brace, and then take it off. After you take the brace off try to remember what it felt like, and try to maintain that position without the brace. This is the best way to use a postural brace. Short durations periodically. This will remind you to keep a good upright posture, and still make your OWN muscles do the work.
Benefits of Posture Braces:
- Improve upright posture
- Decrease tension
- Physical appearance
- Reduce stress/fatigue
- Improve blood flow
- Reduce neck/back pain
- Improve shoulder mobility
Disadvantages of Postural Corrector Braces
The main disadvantages of posture braces is that they are not a permanent fix. The product will indeed put you into a better posture, but your own body is not doing the work. You cannot rely on a brace to fix your posture permanently. Instead, you should use the posture brace as an aid. The brace should simply be used as a supplemental tool for you while you fix your own posture. Relying on the postural brace long term can lead to worse posture in the long run. The product long term will cause your back/shoulder muscles to become weak. They will no longer do their job which is to hold you into an upright posture.
The main solution to fixing your posture is from movement! You need to strengthen your postural muscles, and stretch your tight anterior muscles (pectoralis major/minor). Use my quick posture guide here. This is the best permanent solution to fixing your posture. I recommend using a postural brace only as a cue/aid to help you.
When Should I Wear My Posture Corrector?
I recommend wearing your posture brace for about 1-2 hours a day initially. This is for your body to get a “feel” for good posture. Try to consciously think about your posture even while you are wearing the brace. This will help your mind remember what it felt like for when you take it off. Remember to perform postural strengthening/stretching exercises while the brace is off.
I recommend cutting the time down to only 30-45 minutes a day. At this point you should be thinking more and more about your posture every single day. So you do not need to wear the brace as long. It is important to continue strengthening/stretching your muscles throughout the day to help permanently fix your posture.
You should not be using the brace much at this point. Your posture should be improved, and you need to slowly start weening yourself off the postural brace. Only wear the brace periodically for 10-15 minutes, and then try to maintain that posture without the brace. Continue strengthening/stretching exercises to maintain your improved posture.
Remember fixing your posture will take time. You need to be constantly thinking about your posture, and fixing it whenever you notice yourself slouching/hunching forward. Posture improvement needs to be engraved in your brain every single day. This is the best way to make an overall difference in your posture. I recommend purchasing a posture corrector brace, and wearing it to see how “good posture” feels like. You will be more upright, have less pain, and feel better overall. However, do not wear the posture brace all day everyday. You need to only use it as an aid. This will prevent your muscles from becoming weak due to non-use. It is important that you still use your own back muscles, and try to maintain your improved posture without the brace. Start out with the posture brace, and then slowly start weening yourself away from it. With improved posture, you will notice a huge improvement in your overall physical, mental, and social well being!