A lumbar support brace should fit comfortably, provide adequate support, and limit the risk of injuries to the wearer. People who need to wear braces can take a number of things into consideration when making a purchase. It is important to be aware that back braces cannot be worn continuously unless a patient is directed to do so by a doctor, as the muscles in the back can atrophy. Additionally, people who experience back pain should be evaluated by a doctor to learn more about the cause; a brace may not resolve the issue.
Fit is an important consideration for a lumbar support brace. These products are adjustable, but it is important to purchase a brace of the right size. People with short backs may have concerns about a brace that rides up or down or digs into the buttocks, and people who are very large may need to purchase a special size to get a brace that fits. When people buy lumbar support braces, they should ask for assistance with fitting it the first time, as contorting to manage the straps while adjusting it can pull the brace out of alignment and ruin the fit.
Some braces have pockets that can hold pads for added support and stability. Heating pads designed to work with lumbar support braces are available and can be useful for people who benefit from mild heat on their spines. If a lumbar support brace with a pocket is chosen, it's important to make sure the items inserted into the pocket fit appropriately and to adjust the brace as needed to accommodate the increased bulk.
People should also think about why they are wearing a lumbar support brace. Braces designed for people who do heavy lifting often have support straps across the shoulders to stabilize the brace and promote good lifting form. Braces for people who experience mild low back pain have no support straps and vary in rigidity to help people sit and stand straight while applying gentle pressure to address back pain. Braces for people preparing for or recovering from surgery are usually prescribed and fitted by a doctor.
Other considerations are more practical. Lumbar support braces can become soiled over time and people may want to check on the ease of cleaning a lumbar support brace. Some can be thrown in the washing machine, while others need to be washed by hand, or are not washable at all.