A good posture corrector can train your spine to maintain proper posture, offering benefits such as pain relief, increased mobility, a slimmer and taller appearance, and even bolstered confidence. However, many have misconceptions about how posture correctors work. This guide details how to use a posture corrector so you can enjoy its back-saving, confidence-inspiring benefits.
How to use a posture corrector properly
Posture correctors are effective tools for achieving proper posture and alleviating tension and strain when used correctly. Here's what you need to know.
Understand why you're wearing a posture corrector
A common misconception is that posture correctors will magically straighten the spine overnight, but that's not how posture correctors are designed to function.
"Posture correctors are not a brace. Braces tend to be rigid and restrict most, if not all, motion in an unwanted direction. Posture correctors should allow movement in all directions, should fit comfortably, and support your back and posture when you are relaxed," says Dr. Kevin Lees, D.C., a chiropractor and manager of auditing and quality at The Joint Chiropractic, the nation's largest provider of chiropractic care.
While back braces might force wearers into position, the most effective posture correctors offer support and train your muscles to hold proper posture over time. They are "correctors," not "holders," and eventually, you won't need a corrector to maintain your posture while sitting, standing, walking or exercising.
"There are many misconceptions about using posture correctors. A prominent one is that you need to wear them forever. This is not true," says Dr. Logan Osland, D.C., who treats patients at Logan Osland Chiropractic in Ventura, CA. "In fact, you should only wear a posture corrector for a short period of time, and perhaps numerous times in the day. Like inversion tables and other spine-related tools, frequency may be more effective than duration."
How to wear a posture corrector
There are many different styles of posture correctors, and each has its own guidelines for recommended usage. This is a general overview of how to wear a posture corrector based on the instructions for BackEmbrace:
- Put on your BackEmbrace as though you're putting on a vest
- Slip the straps over your shoulders
- Reach behind your back and pull the ends apart
- Pull the straps down at a 45-degree angle
- Fasten the ends below your bustline
- Adjust the shoulder straps for maximum support (with BackEmbrace, you can then separate the straps for a more personalized fit)
Tips for getting the most out of a posture corrector
Follow these tips to improve your results when you use a posture corrector.
1. Choose a posture corrector you'll use
Posture correctors come in many different styles and sizes, so choosing one that's comfortable and suits your sense of style is essential. Avoid cheap, poor-quality knock-offs and be willing to spend a little more for a posture corrector that's high quality and designed for long-term use. Read reviews and look for posture correctors with media coverage from top news outlets, which offer unbiased insights into quality, comfort and performance.
2. Follow manufacturer instructions
Follow manufacturer instructions for best results with your posture corrector. Without proper adjustment and fitting, the posture corrector may not work optimally to improve your posture. Wearing the posture corrector too infrequently will not provide the sustainable results. Conversely, wearing the posture corrector for too many consecutive hours may result in additional strain on the body and may worsen any pre-existing condition. That said, with a quality posture corrector, you can get great results when following the manufacturer's instructions. Some companies like BackEmbrace even provide how-to videos for step-by-step guidance.
3. Make posture correctors part of your overall lifestyle changes
Use a posture corrector in conjunction with other lifestyle changes for sustainable results.
"Posture correctors are a step in a lifestyle change. More changes need to be made to correct the problem," explains Dr. Lees. "Exercise, stretching and having an ergonomic workspace will all contribute to improving your posture."
FAQs about using posture correctors
The following frequently asked questions offer additional insights into how to use a posture corrector.
When should you consider using a posture corrector?
You should consider using a posture corrector if you have obvious posture issues, such as swayback, lordosis or kyphosis. Posture correctors can also help alleviate back and neck pain caused by long hours at your desk or on your phone.
"A large number of us are reading this at a desk or slumped on a couch on our phone. Poor posture has been affected by the tech component of our day-to-day lives," says Dr. Lees. "If you notice that your shoulders are rounded, your head is forward, and your upper back and neck are getting tight, a posture corrector may be a good addition to your lifestyle changes, along with exercises and stretching."
How long should you wear a posture corrector?
Beginners should start slow, wearing posture correctors for up to 30 minutes at a time, a few times each day. You can wear your posture corrector for more extended periods as you grow more accustomed to it.
"Initially, you may be a little sore after using (a posture corrector), so start slow, maybe 30 minutes to an hour a day," Dr. Lees advises. "As you feel more comfortable, you can use the posture corrector for longer periods, but as your posture improves, you may only use the corrector as a reminder occasionally."
Many experts recommend wearing a posture corrector up to six hours per day – but not more than that.
"You shouldn't wear posture correctors all day long," says Dr. Lees. "A posture corrector can help your proprioception to tell your body where your posture should be, and help stretch those muscles that have become chronically tight. Use the posture corrector when it's the most help, with exercise or when your posture is challenged at your desk."
When will you see results from using a posture corrector?
Timelines vary depending on the severity of the problem and how long you wear the posture corrector, but in general, you can expect to see results after just a few weeks of use.
"Every person is different. The flexibility and muscle tone as well as the health of their joints differ," says Dr. Lees. "Someone with very poor posture may feel different very quickly, although they may have to use the corrector for longer periods to get the results they are wanting. It is also important to stretch and exercise as part of improving your posture, which will decrease the time needed to see improvement."
Keep in mind that you might experience mild pain while you adjust to using a posture corrector, but this is temporary. It's vital to stick with it to achieve good posture over time.
"Another misconception is that results will be felt immediately after wearing a posture corrector," says Dr. Osland. "In reality, sometimes you will feel brief pain after using the tool."
How tight should a posture corrector be?
Your posture corrector should fit snugly, but it shouldn't be so tight that it constricts circulation. Remember, good posture correctors guide you into holding proper posture on your own rather than force you into position. If you're feeling discomfort (other than soreness due to retraining your muscles), adjust the corrector so it fits comfortably.
Can you wear a posture corrector under clothes?
Some posture correctors are designed to be worn under clothes, a benefit to users who need to maintain a professional appearance at work or who simply don't want coworkers and others to see their posture correctors.
That said, some models are stylish enough to be worn over clothing, and still others, like the BackEmbrace, can be worn over or under clothes. That's ideal for hybrid employees who spend part of the week at home and part of the week in the office, because they can change how they wear their posture correctors based on where they're working on a given day.
Can you wear a posture corrector while sleeping?
Many people ask whether you can use a posture corrector while you sleep. It's certainly possible to put one on before going to bed, but there's little benefit to wearing a posture corrector while sleeping.
"Posture correctors work by stretching chronically tight muscles as well as helping your body's proprioception. This occurs through feedback when your body is doing activity and the joints in your spine and shoulders stay in the proper position," says Dr. Lees. "When sleeping, there is less feedback. You also want uninterrupted sleep, so it would be best not to restrict your body's movement."
In fact, wearing a posture corrector while sleeping can do more harm than good.
"Many falsely assume that wearing the posture corrector while sleeping is a good idea. It is not," says Dr. Osland. "Being fixed in that position could cause more problems than it helps. Again, brief periods of use is a better strategy than long durations."
Can you use a posture corrector while driving?
Posture correctors can help alleviate back pain while driving, especially if (like many people) you tend to sit with poor posture behind the wheel. Like sitting at your desk or standing at work, a posture corrector can help train you to hold proper position while driving. A 20- to 30-minute commute is a perfect opportunity to wear a posture corrector.
Can you use a posture corrector while running or working out?
Yes, posture correctors can help you maintain proper form while exercising.
"It might sound counterintuitive, but wearing the posture corrector while working out can be beneficial," says Dr. Osland. "This is especially true for chest, back, bicep and leg exercises where the weight is at your side or in front of the body. In all exercises, it will help prevent a forward roll of the shoulders."
Posture correctors worn during exercise will also help train your muscles to maintain proper posture through a range of motion, not just when sitting or standing.
"Exercise is a perfect time to wear your posture corrector," says Dr. Lees. "Your body is learning with movement and building memory. Having good posture while exercising helps that memory build faster. Make sure the corrector fits well and is not causing restrictions or skin chafing."
Can you use a posture corrector after an injury?
A posture corrector can prove beneficial following an injury. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before using a posture corrector to help with an injury.
"As a chiropractor that works frequently with personal injury clients, we recommend using a posture corrector after the injury to prevent any long-term postural issues from developing," says Dr. Osland. "Often, we will compensate with rolled shoulders and forward neck because of a strain in our upper body. We may even have a forward lean as a result of knee and ankle pain. Wearing a posture corrector makes sure we do not create additional issues down the road."
A good posture corrector offers substantial benefits when you use it properly. Follow the physician advice outlined in this article on how to use a posture corrector to straighten your spine, alleviate pain, improve your appearance and even inspire greater confidence.Looking for a lightweight, comfortable, stylish posture corrector that works? Try BackEmbrace!