Do Posture Correctors Work?

By Dr. Philip Cordova

February 28, 2024

Do posture correctors work? For just a moment, stop and take a deep breath and then gently roll your shoulders back and down. Maintain this position for a few moments – this position exemplifies proper posture while sitting or standing. Bad posture can be avoided through a variety of methods. 

Sadly, many people naturally lack good posture, often adopting unhealthy positions due to prolonged periods at desks or in cars, potentially jeopardizing back and spine health. Posture correctors aim to rectify this by enhancing posture and supporting a healthy spine.

The effectiveness of posture correctors is a subject of debate among skeptics and advocates. Are they helping or are they creating a situation where you are now dependent on the support brace?

Understanding Posture Correctors

Posture correctors are wearable devices designed to promote improved posture by aligning and sustaining proper spinal positions. Various designs exist, including the cross-back brace, the molded back brace, and electronic posture correctors. What are the best posture correctors? What are the main types of posture correctors? Which device can correct your posture and help you sit up straight? A good posture corrector can alleviate tension from the base of your neck while also alleviating low back pain, but can they be worn long-term?

Cross-Back Brace

These appear to be the most commonly worn by our patients who slouch or hunch. They are reasonably comfortable and minimally restrictive. They usually feature two straps that cross in the back, similar to a racer-back tank top. They do support the chest and back, promoting an upright posture. These types of braces are easy to put in, similar to a bra or sports bra, you just need to adjust it to find the right fit. While you wear one, it will remind you to sit upright, pull your shoulders back, and be straighter.

This is more of a shoulder brace, one that will hold your shoulders and provide some pain relief. While a good posture support, it’s not a true back posture corrector even though it can help with daily support. 

Molded Back Brace

A bit more involved, the molded back brace incorporates a small metal or plastic piece between the shoulder blades. These tend to be bulkier, and are more suitable for someone with severe posture issues. While less comfortable to wear, they offer full back support and can reduce back pain.

These braces are more noticeable under your clothing and are recommended for patients dealing with osteoporosis that severe enough to lead to compression fractures in the spine. They need as much support as possible, and these can make you dependent on them — but there’s little option at this point. Not wearing the extra support could lead to even more compression fractures.

An even more rigid version of this back brace posture corrector is worn by scoliosis patients for thoracic and lower back posture correction. Wearing the posture corrector can be uncomfortable at times and take some getting used to, but it can give you a straight back over time. 

Electronic Posture Corrector

Not truly a posture corrector brace, but rather a device to help remind you to have better upright posture. This device relies on electronic pulses to provide posture reminders. It creates awareness through vibrations, alerting when posture falters. Some models include apps to track progress. While these devices don’t aim for upper back correction or lumbar support, they are able to help you remember your physical posture without a visit to a physical therapist or orthopedic doctor. 

posture correctors

Do They Work?

While studies and expert advice indicate that posture correctors can heighten postural awareness, ensuring lasting change is not guaranteed. Advocates argue that these devices aid in achieving changes to your posture, while critics suggest potential harm as users may become overly reliant on them, leading to weakened supporting muscles. (I’m one of those critics.) I’m more of a fan of learning how to activate the muscles and teaching your body to keep your shoulders down and back. I know I’m not wearing something that’s restrictive, even if it pulls my shoulders back. 

The effectiveness of a posture corrector largely depends on the individual. Models promoting muscle activation may be preferable to those offering constant support. I only recommend posture correctors for short term use and will still recommend that patients do posture exercises to make sure they do not become reliant. Severe osteoporosis patients should wear posture braces and should still do weight bearing exercise.

Posture correctors are best utilized as short-term aids for heightened awareness, ideally worn for about two hours daily. Prolonged usage might lead to weakened back and core muscles. This can be mitigated by continuing to do posture exercises to keep your spine strong.

Generally safe, if significant pain arises while using a posture corrector, consulting a medical professional is advisable.

Alternatives To Posture Correctors

For a long-term solution, consider incorporating exercise routines like yoga, pilates, or strength-building exercises. Focusing on core muscles stabilizes the spine and facilitates your ability to stand up straighter while retraining your muscles. Additionally, breaking up prolonged sitting with exercises or consulting a chiropractor for expert guidance can contribute to overall posture improvement. Correctors can help back pain and neck pain, and bad posture doesn’t have to be a part of your life. You can keep good posture and avoid the hump with comfort and ease, it just takes a little work. 

Experts say that once you start to slouch, the harder it can be to remember what good posture feels like. Neck and back pain starts and then leads to the type muscles in your chest and weak muscles in your back and shoulders. 

The effectiveness of posture correctors varies, and individual preferences can play a significant role. Exploring alternative methods such as exercise routines or professional guidance may offer more sustainable solutions for achieving and maintaining good posture.

Chiropractic care has been shown to help patients improve their posture and range of motion. Chiropractors regularly recommend specific posture exercises to help patients support their improved posture without the use of posture correctors. Occasionally, we will recommend them for our patients, but it’s on a very limited basis. A posture corrector helps in the short-term, but real lasting change takes some time and effort. Find your best posture and you’ll see that using these tools will go a long way for better health and improving posture and back pain.

Dr. Philip Cordova

About the author

Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, Texas. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and decided to become a chiropractor after hurting his back as a teenager and getting help from chiropractic care. He is speaker on health & posture. Click Here To Read His Full Bio

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