Back pain is a common and sometimes debilitating ailment that affects the lives of millions across the globe – and that’s no exaggeration.
According to experts, up to 80% of people will experience some form of back pain during their lives, and lower-back pain in particular costs Americans at least $50 billion in healthcare every year.
This might seem like a depressing outlook, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many treatments out there that can help to prevent back injuries and ease pain, one of which involves using a back brace.
Whether you’re experiencing back pain personally or know someone else who is, this Mueller back brace review and buyer’s guide will help you find the best Mueller back braces to help you get back the freedom of movement that is so integral to everyday life.
What is a Back Brace?
Back braces wrap around the midsection of your body, the idea being that they limit the motion of the spine, offering stability and helping to unload some of the weight that is usually placed on the lower back.
Improvements are constantly being made to the design of back braces, allowing them to perform more effectively. Unfortunately, this also means there are different types of braces available for various purposes. Finding the right one can be a challenge, which this guide aims to help you do.
Different materials used in back braces:
- Moldable plastic
There are two overarching types of back brace on the market – rigid and flexible. Each of these has different benefits depending on what they are being used for.
Rigid Back Braces
Rigid back braces, also known as lumbosacral orthoses, are generally used to treat lower back pain and stabilize your lumbar spine following injury.
Their shape and rigidity usually come from vertical strips of plastic or metal designed to follow the curve of the back. Bands then run horizontally between these vertical strips (following your thoracic, or upper, spine). Usually, fabric strips are used to place pressure on the abdomen rather than the spine.
There are different types of rigid back braces:
- A chairback brace – a short brace that restricts your ability to bend and limits how much your spine can rotate.
- Raney flexion jacket – secures the lumbar spine in a neutral tilt that creates more pressure in the abdomen.
- Williams brace – allows forward bending but limits side-to-side bending and extension.
Flexible Back Braces
Flexible and semi-flexible back braces are usually used for mild to moderate pain rather than severe injuries. They are made of soft materials like cotton or neoprene and vary more in appearance than rigid braces due to the fact that they can be used to target different spinal areas.
As with rigid braces, there are different types of flexible back braces:
- Corset brace – allows a limited amount of bending and is similar in appearance to a woman’s corset.
- Lumbar/sacroiliac belt – exerts pressure to stretch the erector spine muscles; helps with healing, and gives lower-back support during exercise.
Who Can Benefit From a Back Brace, and How?
Anyone who suffers from back pain could benefit from using a back brace. However, there are several specific injuries and medical problems for which back braces are known to be used, as you can see below:
- Spinal stenosis
- Post-operative healing
- Vertebral compression fractures
- Muscle tension and strain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis
While the benefits of using a back brace under these circumstances can be wide-ranging, the main ones are as follows.
Your back is under a lot of pressure at all times. This is because it has to support a lot of weight on its own, and back braces can help to relieve some of this pressure by giving extra support, thereby relieving injured or weakened muscles.
Many back braces divert some of the pressure from your back to your abdomen, relieving your spinal column while also improving your posture.
Spinal injuries can be exacerbated through excessive movement, so back braces often have a restrictive quality which ultimately aids the healing process.
When pressure is diverted from your back to your core, which is typically a weaker area of the body, this forces your core muscles to grow stronger. The spine is also strengthened when your muscles are forced into alignment.
Top 4 Picks for Mueller Back Braces at a Glance
- Best Overall Mueller Back Brace: Mueller 4-in-1 Lumbar Back Brace with Removable Hot/Cold Pack. This easy-to-use back brace provides excellent support using 4 lightweight, flexible stays, and it comes with a range of additional features which make it, in our opinion, the most comfortable and effective brace on the market.
- Best Budget-Friendly Mueller Back Brace: Mueller Adjustable Back Brace. This affordable back brace is designed to offer support during physical activity. It has eight supportive steel springs and is made from breathable fabric – ultimately, a good product at a good price.
- Best Mueller Back Brace for Injuries: Mueller 255 Lumbar Support Back Brace with Removable Pad. This back brace provides extremely strong support for lower back injuries due to its flexible steel supports along the spine. The removable lumbar pad also cushions and compresses the lower back.
- Best Posture Correcting Mueller Back Brace: Mueller Posture Corrector for Women and Men. This posture correcting back brace provides light support for the upper back, with a mixture of stretch and non-stretch materials offering the perfect combination of support and comfort.
Top 4 Mueller Back Braces: Review
As we have established, different back braces serve different purposes, and with so many available to buy, it can be difficult to work out which one is best.
The reviews below should give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of our top four back braces, so whether you’re recovering from an injury, trying to alleviate pain, or simply looking for a way to improve your posture, you’ll be able to select your favorite product with confidence.
Best Overall: Mueller 4-in1 Lumbar Back Brace with Removable Hot/Cold Pack
The first product on our list is our favorite overall, the Mueller 4-in1 Lumbar Back Brace.
This brace has been thoughtfully designed to suit anyone recovering from an injury or suffering from back pain. The quality of Mueller’s products is unmatched, and this is no exception.
The reversible lumbar pad cushion offers an optional layer of compression – something which many other back braces are lacking – while the hot and cold pads do a fantastic job of speeding up the healing process.
Whether you’ve injured your back or you’re just experiencing the usual aches and pains, this back brace has been designed with that in mind, allowing easy application and adjustment through handy finger pockets. At a time when your range of motion may be limited, this really is a great added bonus.
- Optional extra compression.
- Removable hot/cold packs for accelerated healing.
- Easy adjustment via finger pockets.
- Maximum support level.
- A cold pack can make it difficult to lie flat.
- Not as lightweight and compact as some other back braces.
Best Budget: Mueller Adjustable Back Brace
If you’re suffering from back pain, but you want to keep moving, this is the product for you. The Mueller Adjustable back brace is designed to offer extra support during day-to-day activities to relieve sore and aching backs.
Fortunately, the neoprene fabric is exceptionally lightweight and breathable, meaning that you can wear it all day without feeling any discomfort. Eight supportive steel springs provide much-needed support, but the product isn’t bulky at all.
Though it’s one size fits all for this particular back brace, the tapered cut makes it suitable for both men and women, and it’s easy to adjust to suit your specific body size and shape.
- Lightweight and breathable fabric.
- Easy to adjust.
- The tapered cut is suitable for men and women.
- Comfortable to wear for extended periods.
- Runs small.
- One size.
Best for Injuries: Mueller 255 Lumbar Support Back Brace with Removable Pad
The concentrated support of the Mueller 255 Back Brace can’t be beaten, and for this reason, it’s the best product to help you recover from an injury.
The removable pad provides extra compression when needed, but as you heal and recover strength, it can also be removed. Likewise, the flexible steel springs in the back provide just the right amount of support, preventing any movements that could exacerbate an existing injury.
Brace rolling and bunching, which are common problems with many products on the market, have been eliminated by Mueller’s clever internal molded plastic component, and though this is a fairly heavy-duty back brace, the fabric is still breathable, so it can be worn for hours at a time.
- Breathable fabric.
- Concentrated support.
- Adjustable compression.
- Removable pad.
- No rolling or bunching.
- Sizing runs small.
Best Posture Correcting: Mueller Posture Corrector for Women and Men
When it comes to comfort and ease of use, this brace wins every time thanks to its perfect combination of stretch and non-stretch materials which gently correct your posture without feeling overly restrictive.
The adjustable strap system makes it easy to put on, and it also means that one size really can fit most! Even during busy day-to-day life, the fabric is lightweight and breathable enough to be worn for hours at a time without feeling uncomfortable.
Crucially, this posture correcting back brace is slim enough that it can be worn under clothes without being noticeable. Yet, the double-thickness padded straps ensure that the product is highly durable and long-lasting.
- Discreet design.
- Highly adjustable.
- Durable double-thickness straps.
- It can be challenging to take off.
- It doesn’t adjust to an extra small size.
Some Alternative Recommendations
Other than our favorite back braces, you can select a suitable product based on other factors such as the level of support offered and how that support is provided.
For example, you may want abdominal support as well as back support. If that’s the case, you can find our alternative recommendations below.
Back Braces with Abdominal Support
Back braces which are also focused on offering abdominal support, usually do so because this provides a more comprehensive form of stability for certain injuries such as hernias or lumbar conditions.
Therefore, if you have suffered from a severe back injury and think you might benefit from a particularly strong and sturdy back brace, it’s worth considering one which works on the abdomen, too.
Our Picks for Best Back Braces with Abdominal Support
- Mueller Sports Medicine Surgical Binder 6048 – Mueller’s back brace and binder offer comfortable all-day support without the stiffness of a corset. The hook and loop fasteners make it highly adjustable and easy to wear, and the soft, flexible front panel easily contours to the shape of your body.
- Mueller Green Adjustable Back and Abdominal Support – Who doesn’t want to save the planet? Well, the Mueller green range helps to do just that! This back brace is made from fully recycled materials. The one-handed adjustment makes it the most straightforward brace on the market to wear.
Discreet Back Supports
Just because you need a back brace doesn’t mean it has to be noticeable. You might want to be able to hide it under your clothes and wear it without it being noticeable. This is perfectly normal, and there are undoubtedly many back braces out there which will allow you to do just that.
Our Picks for Discreet Back Braces
- Mueller Back Support SS18 – With subtle elastic straps and a tapered cut, this back brace is perfect for wearing under your clothes. It isn’t bulky at all, but the eight steel springs ensure your back gets all the support it needs.
- Mueller Adjustable Back Support – The perforated fabric of this back brace means you can wear it all day under clothes without feeling uncomfortable. It is tapered and easily molds to the shape of your body like wearing a second skin.
Buyer’s Guide: What Should You Look for in a Good Back Brace?
You probably hardly think about it unless it’s causing you pain, but your back is responsible for so much of what your body is capable of. It offers support and core strength – in fact, your back gives power to your whole body.
Consequently, most people buy back braces to help them carry on doing all the things they enjoy without suffering from pain or injury.
Back braces can have powerful effects; not only do they offer stability, but they can also give you back your confidence, which is why it’s so important to choose the right one.
To do that, you’ll need to carefully consider a few different factors, which I have listed below. Feel free to use these while hunting for your ideal back brace!
Stability of the Back Brace
Your back is extremely complex – probably more so than you’d think! For example, your spine is made up of 33 bones, called vertebrae, which can be divided into 5 sections:
The human back also consists of 40 muscles, which is pretty incredible. For the purpose of buying a back brace, however, all you need to know is whether your pain or injury is in the upper or lower back because this will determine the kind of support you need from a back brace.
If you are recovering from a serious injury, you will probably need a heavy-duty medical-approved back brace which offers a lot of support to both your back and abdomen, while, on the other hand, if you’re simply trying to alleviate the pain you will be able to use a much more discreet, lightweight product.
Type of Back Brace
One type of back brace might work wonders for one person, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for you as well! That’s why it’s important to consider your needs and how you might benefit from different types of back brace.
If you’re hoping to correct your posture, then lookout for a brace that has been designed with this in mind. Likewise, there are many manufacturers out there who make products specifically for recovering from injuries or for maximum pain-relieving comfort.
Comfort Level of the Back Brace
Wearing a back brace all day is quite a different experience to wearing a back brace from time to time when you need to support the most. As such, the amount you are going to use your back brace should influence how important its comfort level is.
Since back braces can feel quite restrictive, particularly at first, try to find one that is lightweight and breathable yet sturdy.
Price and Budget of the Back Brace
While it’s often true that price can be an indicator of good quality, this isn’t always the case. Some budget braces perform extremely well and can last a lifetime, while other premium products will disappoint.
The best way to check whether a back brace is worth the money is to read reviews from verified customers.
Most back braces will cost somewhere between 15 to 50 dollars.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people have questions about back braces but are afraid to ask because they are worried about admitting that they might need one. However, there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you need a little extra support.
In this section, we’ll answer as many common questions as we can.
Back braces are designed primarily to reduce spinal pressure. They usually lessen muscle tension and reduce your range of motion during the healing process.
Back braces are usually prescribed following spinal surgery. They can also help with spondylolysis, osteoarthritis, isthmic spondylolisthesis, vertebral compression fractures, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and muscle tension/stain.
Answer: If you notice aches and pains in your back, then the chances are you could benefit from using a back brace. While they are commonly prescribed post-surgery, they can be used successfully by anyone who feels like they would benefit from the extra support.
Answer: It depends on what you are hoping to get out of using it. If you’re not sure, the best thing to do is consult your doctor or a health care professional who will advise you.
Typically, heavy-duty back braces are designed to help you recover from injuries, whereas lightweight, discreet ones are best for general aches and pains.
Answer: Typically, back braces will be worn all day long, especially if you are recovering from an injury. However, if you specifically feel pain during certain activities, you can choose to only wear it at these times.
Answer: Though it might seem uncomfortable or unnatural at first, back braces are supposed to offer support and, therefore, should be fastened up reasonably tight. In addition, compression helps to ease swelling and muscle tension.
That being said, you don’t want it so tight that it cuts off your blood circulation. Back braces are highly adjustable, so you can keep altering the compression until it feels just right.
Back braces become an essential part of everyday life for many people, allowing them to engage in the activities they love the most without feeling pain. They can give a much-needed sense of freedom while offering stability when it’s most important.
The Mueller 4-in1 Lumbar Back Brace with Removable Hot/Cold Pack is our favorite because it does all of those things and more. It’s comfortable, it aids healing, and it’s secure.
What do you think about back braces? Let us know if you’ve used one before and whether you benefited from it!
If you are interested in finding out about other ways you can support your body, check out some of our other guides below: