The BaxMAX is NOT a normal back brace.
Back braces have been around for 60+ years and most people have put one on at one time or another. A typical back brace uses elastic to tighten around the waist and hips to create compression and stabilize the core, which in many cases can provide short term relief for lower back pain. Back braces are also used for healing an acute lumbar issue such as a bulged/herniated disc or sciatica. Although back braces do not cure a condition, they are very useful in a treatment or "healing period". Back braces are also worn for heavy physical activities if core muscles are not strong enough to support the activity.
Why do back braces get a bad (w)rap?
Unfortunately, typical back braces are uncomfortable to wear because they are made of materials that don't breathe and are bulky. Also, because they only use the force of an elastic band to tighten, they don't get tight enough to keep the lumbar spine from compressing, which is needed to optimize healing and provide effective pain relief. One of the most common mistakes that people make in wearing a back brace is wearing it too long, which ultimately creates atrophy (weakness) in the core muscles, resulting in long-term (often more severe) chronic issues.
The BaxMAX was engineered to address these issues.
When the BaxMAX was created, we considered all of the shortcomings of a typical back brace in our design. First, the BaxMAX is not made of elastic. It's made of a thin, porous nylon fabric (stitched with Kevlar) so it doesn't stretch like an elastic back brace and is breathable. The material compound makes it extremely durable (has a 5-year warranty), yet comfortable enough to wear all day if needed, plus it doesn't hold heat, so you won't get hot and sweaty.
The patented 5:1 compound pulley system enables the BaxMAX to get 5X tighter than the elastic braces, resulting in 5 times the support. There are several back braces on the market that use cord-pulls to tighten, but it's important to understand the difference.
Multi-pull "criss-cross" braces
A multi-pull back support has more than one pull to tighten the brace around the core. Often, these types of braces (also called criss-cross braces) are easier to tighten than a stretch brace, however just because they use multiple pulls does not mean that they get any tighter than a stretch brace. Multi-pull back braces either use a pull to stretch an elastic panel sewn in the rear of the brace, or the pull may be connected to the opposite side of the brace and simply bring two parts of the brace together. Multi-pull braces are the most common types of back braces and can help someone who is just looking for some extra support for lifting or has a minor low back issue. However, they typically don't get tight enough to address an acute or chronic low back pain problem. Also, people tend to wear a multi-pull back brace too long because they are too difficult to loosen and re-tighten, which ultimately causes muscle atrophy.
A single pull back brace (like the BaxMAX) has only one pull that is connected to both sides of the brace and includes a series of "pulleys" to tighten the brace. This is called a compound pulley which gives you leverage when you are tightening the brace. For example, the BaxMAX has a 5:1 compound pulley, giving you a 5:1 mechanical advantage over a standard 1:1 pull system. The compound pulley effect enables you to get the brace tighter and provide more support than a multi-pull brace. In the case of the BaxMAX, it provides 5 times the amount of support. The BaxMAX is a rigid support, therefore does not use any elastic to create abdominal and lumbar support. This gives the user full control over how much support they are getting. Also, thanks to the one-pull system, the BaxMAX can be loosened almost instantly which makes it quick and easy to release the support without taking off the brace. Then re-tightening is just and quick and easy. Our recommendation is to loosen the BaxMAX once per hour for 5-10 minutes, which ultimately addresses the muscle atrophy issue.
Why does a back brace need to be tight in order to be effective?
Every day, your spine gets compressed with the natural forces of gravity. Under normal circumstances throughout the day you sit, stand, then sit again changing the angles and amount of compression that is forced onto the lumbar. However, if you stand for a long period of time (say for several hours at work) the amount of compression that is forced on the lumbar is extreme and can cause excessive force on the lumbar. This can cause the spine to either have too much curve (a condition called Lordosis), or have too much force placed on the discs. Much like standing, the same effect can also happen for sitting in one place for long periods. In the case where a person has an acute disc issue, such as a bulged disc, the additional force can cause additional pain and excacerbate the problem. Although an elastic back brace can help, it generally doesn't get tight enough to decompress the spine and provide any pain relief.
The BaxMAX almost instantly relieves low back pain for people with a bulged or herniated disc, sciatica, compressed disc, lordosis, and many other acute (or chronic) lumbar issues because it gets tight enough to "unload" upper body weight from the lumbar spine. It is used in clinics worldwide to supplement decompression therapy programs and is by far the quickest and easiest way to offer instant relief for most back pain sufferers.