This is my second look at BeActive Brace, after evaluating the product and performing a variety of tests.
In Part 1.
My initial review of BeActive can be found on my personal blog accroya.com. In that review, I offered some general observations on the product, along with observations from a chiropractor in California.
Today I offer additional thoughts after a first-hand look at BeActive Brace.
What they claim
BeActive’s advertising initially appeared to only target those suffering from sciatica, a type of back pain which radiates along the sciatic nerve. Upon closer inspection, however, you’ll see that BeActive also claims to relieve lower back pain associated with other conditions such as chronic lower back pain, pregnancy, or Piriformis syndrome.
Although I do not have sciatica, I have suffered mild chronic lower back pain for many years. So while I originally did not attempt to try the product because I don’t have sciatica, I decided to try it because I do have one of the conditions listed on the packaging. Below are my observations after using the product.
“Just Below the Knee”
BeActive has a “pressure pad” which must be strategically placed in order to achieve its purported results. Where to position the brace, however, is not as clear as I expected. The instructions state that the pressure pad should be “on the outer outside edge of the calf muscle.” The photo on the box shows the pressure pad on the side of the model’s leg, while the television commercial seems to show it on the back of the leg. The BeActive informational video also shows the pressure point at the back of the leg. I did not get a clear sense, based on the instructions vs the video, where to place the pressure pad.
Some commenters on my initial review have stated that my results were due to incorrect placement of the brace. My placement mirrored that shown in the screenshot above of an official BeActive instructional video. I would further note that if proper placement is something which is debated among consumers, the makers of BeActive may want to clarify this.
The “just below the knee” problem leads me to another point of concern: the pressure point. I spoke to an acupuncture specialist here in Las Vegas about pressure points and back pain. He noted that there are multiple pressure points required to provide relief, and that pressing on just one pressure point is not likely to provide much relief. He also stated that finding the appropriate location of the pressure points is not something the layperson can do easily.
Right vs Left
The brace should be placed on the leg which corresponds to which side of your back is producing pain. It is labeled with the letters “L” and “R” to ensure the brace is placed properly on each leg. If your pain is in the center, the instructions tell you to “try to determine if the pain is more towards the right or left and then apply the wrap to that side.” If you can’t determine a side, they recommend trying the right side first. My pain is mostly in the center of my back, but slightly to the right, so I opted to use the brace on the right side.
This is perhaps a small point of contention, but after strapping on the BeActive Brace, I noticed that the two support straps had bunched up and were sticking out in a loop, as seen in the photo below. At first I thought that I may have put the brace on incorrectly. After watching their informational video on YouTube (linked above), I noticed that this bunching also occurred with their model. Again, it’s a small point, but it is not aesthetically pleasing if you are wearing the brace with shorts.
I strapped on the BeActive Brace for several hours a day to see if my mild lower back pain would decrease. I didn’t find the brace to be uncomfortable, and I was able to perform normal tasks such as walking or running while wearing the product. Although I could feel the pressure pad applying pressure, I was never certain if I had placed the pad in the correct location. My lower back pain did not disappear.
The best solution I have found for my chronic lower back pain is a set of stretches taught to me by a chiropractor.
Below is a short video I created to show the unpacking and use of BeActive.
BeActive attempts to be a one-size-fits-all solution to the complex and individualized problem of lower back pain. While it’s possible that the product could offer some relief to certain types of back pain, it seems a stretch to believe it will be an all-encompassing solution to the many varieties of back pain.
Updated April 1, 2015
Originally published September 2014