People can only usually tell if you have a back brace on when there is a neck extension or you do not wear a shirt over it.
Now, their might be a couple counter examples to this statement, but the truth is that most of the time people can not tell.
Remember, it is different when you are the one putting this on for the first time and you are conscious of the fact that it is there. – There is a difference however, between what you know and what everyone else sees. – Really.
When I (Daniel Rinella) was in my residency for orthotics (braces), I can recall a time when a young woman was supposed to come in for a back brace adjustment. Keep in mind, this was for a scoliosis brace which basically starts just above your lap and then comes almost all the way up to your sternal notch (the center of your collar bone).
Here I am, already with more experience than your average individual and I was tricked! It was kind of funny actually because I was thinking to myself that “why would someone come into their follow up appointment and not bring their brace?”. How am I supposed to help this person if I have nothing to work on.
This notion was quickly cast to the side when the young woman said, “I have my brace on”!
The bottom line is that these supports are quite thin actually and if you wear a shirt or sweatshirt over the top of it, you can fool even a “brace guy”. Things have changed and ten years later I can confidently say I have not made this mistake again!
Spinal orthoses (another name for back braces of all kinds) typically less than 1/2″ thick. This is even the case when it comes to a full body, “turtle shell” type of back support. They can get even thinner in some cases if you do not opt to get padding, but we don’t always recommend that (for obvious reasons).
What does 1/2″ equate to? Yes, you can get out a ruler. But, you can also do a quick check and look at one of your thumbs. Yes, we know that everyone’s thumb is different in size, but typically if you were to take half the width of your thumb that would equal the thickest back brace you would ever receive.
We hope this information has been helpful.
If you live in Chicagoland, call us with any back brace related questions. 815-717-8970