S3 SpinalQ Posture Brace

The Alignmed S3 SpinalQ jacket is designed for medical problems such as poor posture, rotator cuff injuries, slap tears, osteoporosis, and spinal conditions, including vertebral fracture healing and back discomfort. This article will concentrate on SpinalQ’s use to cure one of the most prevalent problems mentioned above, namely poor posture. Posture is a severe issue that affects millions of people each day.

A poor posture epidemic is sweeping the nation, as we sit for an ever-increasing number of hours each day cradled in our hands-free electronic devices, computers, and television sets. According to various sources, the amount of time we spend in front of digital gadgets varies, but it’s between 8 and 12 hours each day. Unfortunately, many people’s time is spent in poor posture.

You recall my recent evaluation of another Alignmed product, the Posture Shirt 2.0? After trying the Posture Shirt, I was eager to learn more about the S3 SpinalQ.

I discovered several discussions about this product on the internet, but none provided any feedback. This is most likely due to its recent emergence. I’m writing this article to share my knowledge and thoughts on the device.

History of Alignmed

Since 2001, the firm that produces and sells the Spinal Q has been marketing what it terms “Evidence-Based Clothing.” Bill Schultz is credited as its founder and president on its website.

Schultz spent several years selling surgical equipment before launching Alignmed. While he was in his thirties, he suffered from severe back discomfort, which prompted him to seek spinal fusion surgery. He knew that performing such an operation would almost certainly cause problems later in his career, having seen numerous similar functions. Instead, he went to a Newport Beach, California chiropractor who used a gadget that he thought could be an answer to his back trouble after being advised by a friend.

The chiropractor who created it intended it to assist patients following shoulder surgery. Surprisingly, the doctors’ gadget alleviated his back pain as soon as he put it on. After realizing the value, Schultz bought the patent from the chiropractor and started Alignmed.

The SpinalQ was initially designed by Bob Waeger, who then teamed up with Alignmed to sell the brace.

The anatomy of the SpinalQ


Unlike its posture shirt counterpart, the Spinal Q is more robust and resembles more of a vest since it is sleeveless. It’s made of 70% Polypropylene and 30% Elastane, making it durable and flexible. A label on the bottom of the jacket states, “Made in Taiwan.”

It’s very heavy-duty in appearance, yet it is quite light. The x-large weighed approximately 16 ounces when I received it. In comparison, a 100% cotton polo style shirt with the exact measurements as your typical x-large weighs around 11 ounces.

A few distinct characteristics of this posture jacket set it apart from the competition. The two adjustable “Scapular Retractor Straps” are most prominent. Posture braces have traditionally been designed to hug the armpits and frequently gather up beneath, resulting in chafing. The retractor straps are sewn into the vest’s front and extend over each shoulder. They come together in the middle of the back and exit through the front sides, where they are joined to a big Velcro pad on the outside. The Velcro feature allows the user to alter the tension on the shoulder straps.

The lower portion of the vest wraps around your waist and attaches at the front, with a 5″ wide lumbar strap built-in. This device is also equipped with a Velcro fastening system that may be altered to provide various tension levels. The strap secures the vest and provides lumbar support while maintaining posture.

The vest’s front has a series of seven metallic hook and eye fasteners. To join two ends before zipping them together, use these. The vest is fastened with an open-ended plastic zipper.

Installation and removal

The SpinalQ vest is simple to put on and takes only a few seconds. Here’s how to wear the vest:

  • Ensure the lower lumbar and scapular straps are free of the large Velcro pad on both sides of the vest.
  • Unzip the jacket’s front.
  • Put on as you would any other jacket.
  • If need be, use the hook and eye method to connect the front of the vest.
  • Zip it up.
  • Attach the lower section of the large Velcro pad on each side to the lumbar straps.
  • Pull down on each scapular support and fasten them to Velcro in a comfortable position while maintaining good posture. You should notice the shoulder straps gently pulling your shoulders back.
  • Remove them in the opposite order. Remove the straps after unfastening and unzipping the hook & eyes.

How it’s used

The ultimate objective of using the SpinalQ is to improve your health, whether it’s correcting poor posture or recovering from an accident or surgery. If you’re using it to improve posture, you should use it as a training tool to retrain your muscle memory. The manufacturer recommends using it for only 4-6 weeks and wearing it for up to four hours each day.

The manufacturer advises starting with a small step-up to acclimate you to wearing the vest. The following are their suggestions. Keep in mind that you have the option of modifying their recommendations to fit your specific preferences.

  • On the first day, allow one hour to an hour and a half.
  • Wear them for one hour during week 1
  • Wear it for two hours during week 2
  • Wear it for 3 hours on the third week
  • Wear for 4 hours or more every week.

Finally, the brace should be worn for a total of four hours every day, two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. You can wear it for a more extended period than recommended, but you don’t want to go overboard. Your body can become reliant on the support that a posture brace gives, just as it would with any other type of posture brace. Wearing it too much can cause your core muscles to weaken over time.

It would help if you also did a variety of exercises to help build up your muscles and utilize a brace.

Available sizes

Choose your size according to the following chart, which is a suggested guideline from the manufacturer:

What is the cost of the SpinalQ?

There is good news and bad news, according to the old adage. The unpleasant information is that it will be rather expensive if you buy this brace and pay for it out of pocket. The Alignmed website does not feature a price; however, comments from consumers on several discussion boards indicate that the device costs around $350.

The good news is that you’ll almost certainly be able to obtain one for nothing (or close to it). How?

If your doctor thinks that the Spinal Q is a medical need, most major health insurance plans will cover it. Such equipment is often classified as “Durable Medical Equipment” by insurance firms, and the expense is covered. However, if your deductible has not yet been fulfilled, you may be required to pay a certain amount.

Contact your doctor and inquire about a brace to help you improve your posture. You may indicate that you’re interested in this product. After that, the doctor will write out a prescription or a Letter of Medical Necessity (LOMN), also known as a prescription. A doctor will order a brace for you and handle all the paperwork.

Medicare & Insurance coverage

Because there are approximately fifty million people in the United States who receive Medicare, many people may want to know whether or not Medicare covers the Spinal Q. I wrote to the manufacturer and asked him this same thing.

The SpinalQ passed its regulatory hurdles in November 2014 and can now be charged using the PDAC code L0457. What does this imply? Said, the brace is now covered by Medicare and several other insurance companies.

My personal review

Arrival and initial fitting

The Spinal Q came in a cellophane wrapper with a swanky neoprene zip-up carrying case and some information.

My first impression of the brace was good. The design, material, and construction all appeared to be exceptional. There’s a significant difference between the Spinal Q, and other (less expensive) posture supports that I’ve evaluated in the past. The feel and appearance were that of a high-end medical equipment item you might find at a medical supply shop.

I pulled off the Velcro straps and slipped it on as I would any other vest. It’s crucial to note that you should wear the brace so that the shoulder straps are on the inside of your vest. The straps are shown on the outside in the images to the left. This was done only to demonstrate how the shoulder straps operate.

Now for the hard part: fitting my big potbelly into a tight-fitting vest. It became quickly apparent that this would not be an easy job. Fortunately, the creators of this brace considered my needs while they were developing it. “They were cleverly situated with a” hook and eyelet” every three inches (7 in total) next to the zipper. I attached each hook one at a time, beginning with the top while looking in the mirror. The first three were a cinch, but the next four went something like this:

Suck in, fasten. Suck in, fasten, Okay, you understand.

How to wear it


I stood there, looking like a broken can of biscuits with several decades’ worth of pizza, twinkies, burgers, and cake neatly tucked. With the vest clasped, I zipped the front shut while avoiding a thicket of stomach and chest hairs. That is until I tried to resurface it. Aah, how much better!

I took a close look at my side view in the mirror after zipping up. I was surprised at how flat my stomach appeared. This was a pleasant surprise that the manufacturer didn’t factor into our equation.

To attach each strap to the Velcro pad, I used the finger loops on each side of the lumbar strap. Once both sides were fastened, I immediately felt the lower back support.

The scapular straps needed to be adjusted next. I yanked on the straps and could feel them drawing away from my shoulders. I changed the tension of each strap until they were comfortable yet sturdy, with my shoulders in a good posture.

Putting it to the test

During the second two weeks, I put the SpinalQ to the test by completing various everyday activities involving job, leisure activity, and moderate exercise.

After the first week, I was able to wear it for a total of 4 hours each day, even though the manufacturer recommends a four-week gradual warm-up period. The comfort was far greater than I had anticipated, making it simple to wear for extended periods.

I put it on under a shirt while working at my computer. I usually slump over after a few minutes when I’m in a chair. The SpinalQ helped me sit up straight and function as a great reminder not to lean forward. I put it on for the first two hours of each day’s work.

I’d put it on in the evenings when I watched TV and did a few chores around the house. It was outstanding in various activities, including barbecuing and yard work. I noticed that I was standing taller, and it was instrumental in relieving my usual daily back pain.

I traded my usual cycling jersey for the SpinalQ before going out for a ride. The brace felt quite helpful and non-restrictive to me. However, I prefer the moisture-wicking features of my Lycra jersey.

Overall, it performed admirably in most situations. My posture throughout the day improved by the end of week 2, even while I wasn’t wearing the brace.

Summary and thoughts

I had a fantastic experience using the SpinalQ. I was initially hesitant about the vest’s close fit, but I quickly grew to like it. It provided just enough support without restricting my movement. The shoulder strap design kept my shoulders back while not irritating my armpits, as many other clavicle braces do. I appreciated the sleeveless design, which allowed me entire movement in my shoulders.

Here are a few things to consider while using this brace. To begin, don’t attempt to wear it over a shirt. It will create a lot of tension in your neckline and make you uncomfortable. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and put your shirt on top of the support.

When wearing the vest, make sure all straps are unbuckled. It is far simpler to install if they are. This is also good to know if you have a large belly because starting at the top and working your way down will be more effective.

I discovered that it was nicely hidden beneath regular fitting clothing when it came to concealment. It’s almost impossible to tell when worn beneath a t-shirt or polo.

Overall, the SpinalQ was found to excel in all areas, including quality, comfort, performance, and concealment. Unfortunately, the high cost may deter those without adequate health insurance coverage.

My advice: If your medical insurance covers these costs or if you can afford the out-of-pocket expenses, the SpinalQ is a must-have. If you can’t afford it, consider looking for a cheaper one. There are a plethora of posture supports available for less than $100. This table will assist you in comparing them.

Pros vs. Cons


  • High-quality. Made from sturdy materials and well-made
  • The “Scapular Retractor Straps” is a superior design that gently pulls your shoulders back without aggravating your armpits.
  • Comfortable. It’s pretty pleasing, making it simple to put on.
  • The tension is controlled by the adjustable shoulder and back straps.
  • Versatile. It may be used to treat various diseases and recover from surgery.
  • Fully flexible. Allows full shoulder mobility.
  • The flat, low-profile design makes it simple to conceal beneath your clothing.
  • Bonus for reducing the stomach.
  • It works! It’s excellent for correcting poor posture and relieving back and shoulder discomfort.


  • While medical expenses are usually covered by insurance, those who do not have medical insurance will be responsible for the payment.

Do You Still Need Help Selecting a Posture Brace?

There are well over 100 different items available on the market right now, including posture supports and resistance trainers, biofeedback clothing, and other equipment. With so many to select from, selecting one that fulfills your needs may be challenging.

I compared the most popular posture braces to create this Posture brace comparison table, based on comfort, efficacy, and innovation criteria.

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