Does wearing a back brace weaken muscles?

When your back is hurting and you just want the pain to go away, a back brace might be the right answer for you.

But the pain doesn’t just last during your waking hours.   It goes on well into the time that you sleep, making you toss and turn and wake up in the middle of the night.

I’ve been there before.  Shoot, it’s what prompted me to write this article!

You wanted to know if wearing a back brace weakens your muscles.

It’s a good question and is something I considered when getting my first back brace.


grayscale photo of woman touching her back

So... Do Back Braces Make You Weaker?

The short answer?

NO.  Back braces do not make your muscles weaker.

According to researchers Richard M. Rosenthal, MD and Shawn Spencer, BS, the research does not support the myth that back braces make your muscles weaker.  

The Science Is In!

Research shows that your muscles are not weakened due to wearing back braces.  It should also be noted that this is true for people who use back braces and try to maintain some level of activity.  Nothing can be said for people who put on a back brace and lay down all day.  I know the pain can be unreal at times, but if you're worried about your back muscles weakening then you should keep this all in mind.

This is great news, right?  You can be confident and rest assured that wearing a back brace does not weaken your muscles.

Well let's not get ahead of ourselves.

There are still a few things we should keep in mind when wearing a back brace.

Whether this is your first time wearing a back brace or you've been playing this game for years, here are a few important Do's and Dont's for wearing a back brace:

Get The Most Out Of Your Back Brace

Make sure you're wearing it right.
I know that sounds like a huge no brainer, but you'd be surprised the difference that can be made by wearing your brace correctly.  Try experimenting with your back brace and see if it can be moved around to get that perfect fit.

Wear your back brace with breathable clothes.
When I put on my lumbar support for the time, I had it on underneath my shirt.  I soon found out why I shouldn't have done that.  I was dripping beads of sweat right down into my pants!

Don't Do These Things With Your Lumbar Support!

If there is ONE thing you take away from the 'don'ts' section for your lumbar support... it should be this:

Do not rely 100% on your lumbar support device.
Your back brace is not and should not be a permanent thing.  They are meant to aid us in our everyday movements, not to do the work for use forever.

You should try to do as much as you can without a back brace, first.

This is really the only thing you shouldn't do with your back brace other than the obvious 'don'ts' like:

  • Don't get it wet - it irritates the skin
  • Don't wear it improperly
  • Don't use it as a slingshot (well, maybe... no.  Don't do this)
When Should I Wear A Back Brace?

There are many reasons why people get back support braces and they range from mundane and mild to severe.

Minor reasons someone would want to wear a back brace vary wildly from wanting to improve posture, after outpatient minor surgery, after having a baby, and the list goes on.

Major reasons for wearing lumbar support can be something like recovering from major spine and back surgery, a serious case of scoliosis and other serious bone and muscle conditions.

Always consult a medical professional if you're on the fence about getting a back brace for yourself.  At least now you know if won't weaken your muscles.

Spread The Good Word
Marty L.