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GENERAL HEALTH MATTERS AND CORSETING?
[Updated 12/10/15]


Please realize that we are not medical experts nor medically trained. Therefore, we cannot render a medical opinion, or make medical claims regarding our corsets. However, we can speak from common sense, common knowledge, general research, consultations with our medical experts and doctors, and our personal experience. We can let our clients tell their own stories about relief they have experienced from various health conditions and challenges, both permanent and temporary.

Q. I've heard that Victorian women damaged themselves and re-arranged their spine and ribs by corseting. Is that true?

A. Perhaps, but consider research reported in November, 2015.

Forbes.com reported in November, 2015 on research to the contrary. "Some women lived long and healthy lives, counters anthropologist Rebecca Gibson of American University, whose latest research on corsets and their effect on the skeleton has been published in NEXUS: The Canadian Student Journal of Anthropology. The view of corseting as having created short and painful lives is anachronistic, she says, as many of these women lived much longer than average for the time."

Regarding the eons-old "Corset Question" of doesn't a corset hurt or cause damage?, almost anything can possibly risk our healt or "cause damage" concerning certain medical conditions, or extreme wear, but witness what a retired physician client told us on December 10, 2015:

"If folks give the corset a chance and learn to relax in it, and take it slowly for the adjustment (down) they will learn to love it as much as I do. When I wake up in the morning after sleeping in my corset I am in such a state of comfort that I hardly feel it on me." Dr. Milt Simmons (11/15/15)
and in 2014:
"You are a very sharp and intelligent woman to run a business like this with an extensive organization. you changed your field of interest in your earlier life from law ( which in itself takes dedication) to this. I would like to mention that I saw you on television over twenty years ago on some newscast program relating the values of corsetry. You impressed me a great deal at that time as I never heard or saw anyone with such conviction on this subject. I am very pro the garment for many reasons. This includes (possible benefits) to the lung springs in sleep apnea, emphysemia, muscle degeneration, bone abnormalities, kyphosis, scoliiosis, nerve constrictions reductions - and the list goes on and on." (See Question/Answer no. 4 below; 4/21/14)

A client who ordered a corset to help with a back problem also wrote in early April:
"The new corset by Jill arrived a few weeks ago, and I have been wearing it daily. The lacing closes comfortably to about 1/2 inch at the middle and 1 inch at the top and bottom edges. Wearing it from bedtime to early afternoon eliminates most of the pain in the glutes and in the pectineus area." William (4/9/15)
Another hernia client (we saw pictures of a substantial inquinal hernia as it seemed) wrote:

" Last spring I lost interest in wearing a corset to lose weight. I gained back most of the weight I had lost when I stopped wearing foundation garments. I look like hell and fell like hell! I put my corset on for the first time last week and have I have started to break it in. This was the first time in my life to be laced into a corset. It is more comfortable to wear than I was expecting. The workmanship on my corset is excellent. The hernia supports are excellent and 100% effective controlling my hernia. The back support is fabulous and has stopped most of my back pain. It has reduces my waist size by several inches and my pants fit very loosely. After it is broken in, I plan to wear it on a regular basis for 8 or more hours a day to see how effective it is helping me to control my weight. If it helps me lose weight I will continue wearing my corset." John W. (12/10/13)

Certainly a custom corset would fit better under clothing and be more comfy than a bulky medical corset. I know, since I wore an inflexible, thick and hot medical corset over my lifetime from age 22 on from time to time for back spasms; now I wear a lovely custom corset to prevent spasms and to relieve excess back muscular tiredness for a few days before going back to my physical therapy/exercise program to keep my back strong and flexible.

Since I am not a doctor, I cannot truly answer your question. I strongly suggest that you discuss your interest in corsetry with your physician. My educated guess is that he or she might approve you wearing a corset in a moderate way.
Please also realize that some physicians prefer to keep health-related information and supplies remotely "medical" inside the medical establishment. Furthermore, sometimes physicians don't have modern info on how well modern day corsetry fits and how comfortable a corset can feel, thus they may disapprove.


But what about milder cases of scoliosis?

Many individuals have up to a 1/2" difference in the measurement of one side of the body to the other. To adjust the corset pattern to that or less curvature, may result in exacerbating the curvature and torquing the corset, seen right in a denim corset and in a corset muslin. It is only perhaps, when your spine curvature exceeds 1/2" that you should measure and report your body in two halves. Print our measurement form and write at top of one: "from my eyes looking outward, right side" and on the other form write: "from my eyes looking outward left side." That way we can be certain which side of the body is which when your corset is patterned.

With full information, your chosen corsetiere will decide if she needs to pattern each side separately for you. Still, we cannot guarantee a corset won't torque a bit. You can always pull the corset in the opposite direction to straighten it up as best you can.

In the end, it could be that only trying a corset will give you the facts that you need to decide if these will work for you or not. It may require some risk via investment of funds for a real-life trial, but I would guess that you as have I, occasionally spent money on things that just don't work out, despite you having every confidence that they will. I certainly don't want to discourage you as I truly believe these garments are magical and wonderful for almost everybody! I do however, want to be cautious on your behalf.


Q.2. Should I worry about losing my back strength? I've been told that sleeping in a corset might do that.

A. Not really, unless you are going to do what is known as "lifestyle corseting" 24/7.

In that case yes, you will most likely lose muscle tone and at some point be unable to go without your corset because of back tenderness or pain.

This is why we support never waist training or wearing a corset more than six days per week, using the seventh day to test your back strength, noting any soreness developing. It's for that reason that we also strongly support both daily back strengthening and back flexing exercises that we explain in our Corset Magic book, or which you may get from a qualified Physical Therapist.


Q.3 I've heard that a corset can help with back soreness and pain. Is that true?

A. A corset basically serves the same function as a medical brace to reduce back soreness and spasm, or prevent back strain or injury.

It may be appropriate for some conditions, but not appropriate for other back conditions.

I suffered for 30 years from age 21 until some years ago, from occasional disabling back spasms that would put me down for months on end. There was never any disc involvement or actual injury revealed on any X Ray, but some arthritic showing up as I aged. I used to reach for a heavy white cotton-with-buckles and rigid medical brace or corset 1/2"-wide steel boning whenever that happened, and unhappily wore it until the spasm passed. I say "unhappily" because it never fit underneath my clothing and was quite common in appearance, drawing attention to my problem. Some years later I discovered thick rubber waist supports closed with Velcro. I hated them both. The white one was so stiff as to force me to remain upright or prone in bed! Then I discovered custom corsets in 1989 -- and promptly threw out the medical versions and never looked "back"--so to speak!


Perhaps the most amazing example of corsets providing relieve from back discomfort and pain, is that provided by a lady, seen left, who attended merely to observe the corset muslin fitting for her friend's overbust corset. Before they left, I tried an elegant silk underbust corset on the observer, whom I learned was forced to quit her former career as a masseuse because of several terrible car accidents that had seriously damaged her neck and back. The corset she tried on was designed by our senior corsetiere, Sheri.

Sitting primly corseted on the couch for a few minutes, my client and I noticed his friend with her face in her hands, softly weeping. I was stunned and initially alarmed, thinking that in error I had laced her too tightly which is never my practice. I was enormously relieved and pleased when, after a few moments she lifted her face and seemed to radiate pure joy: "For the first time in years, my back feels so wonderful and I am pain-free!" she exclaimed. It was truly a magical moment for all of us, as it well may be for you and your ailing back. And yes, she ordered a corset by Sheri!

Yet another client, Cherie, ordered a corset by our youngest corsetiere Jill, because the client fractured her spine and had a couple of compressed discs. She was resolved to wearing a medical back brace alternating with a "Squeem," a rubberized and lightly- boned support garment, when she found us. Here is what she said a few days after receiving her corset:

"I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with my Victorian Under bust Corset by Jill Hoverman. The workmanship is excellent and the fit is perfect. My mom came over to look at the finished product, and she gushed with pride and said we (she) did an excellent job with the measurements. This corset is so perfect it looks as if I was born with it. When I put it on I feel beautiful, fractured spine and all. I am no longer in pain, and the corset is much cooler than my ugly back brace. Beautiful work for a busy young mom. Once again I thank you. I'll be saving up as I would like to have the same corset done up in red satin as well navy blue. Corset hugs right back at ya:)."
Nothing can make me happier than hearing similar stories over the years, such as Chris' story in 2000. Here it is in his own words:
"I am so pleased with (my new corset), it is impossible to find words that describe how it feels to now be able to do things that I wasn't supposed to do any more in my life! I've had people come up to me and say, 'I thought you broke your back? What are you doing on the track riding?' They can't believe I am back riding again, or working out or shoeing horses. I've been wearing the corset you made for me quite regularly and it is doing well. I haven't had a pain pill of any kind since I've been wearing it. Had a good ride today and feel fine--no back problems at all. The corset also makes you sit up straight and in a more balanced riding position. Therefore, the horse seems happier and responds more quickly. Thanks for making my life easier. If you ever need a reference as to what a corset will do, feel free to have customers contact me at my email address: WCRMRR2@aol.com I will be glad to help anyone get back to living and enjoying life again. After all, it's not how long you live, it's the challenges you face while you're here! Thank you for helping me." Chris Rule (2/13/00)
You may read additional related comments below:

  • "I love my new Jill corset! While I was ordering the corset to address my post-baby lower tummy, I found out that when wearing it, my back doesn't hurt anymore, I don't have the huge knots in my shoulders, and I haven't had one single migraine caused by my neck! It all started in 2002 when I was 21 with a five-car pileup where I took over 13 impacts. We all walked away, but a month later I started having severe migraines and back pain for days on end. For several months I lost most of the use of my left arm. Until recently my back hurt every single day. But doctors found no nerve or bone damage; my problem was all muscular. When I got in my car (while wearing my corset), I actually had to adjust all of my mirrors again because with my back all straightened out, I am taller. Now I feel so much better both mentally and physically. I haven't felt this great since before the car accident. I shall certainly be hooked for life. Thanks." -- Angela (5/4/09)
  • "I do love my corset. Makes my back feel better when I wear it." Lea (9/18/08)
  • "You're right, it was good news when I received Jade's men's stays. Have been breaking it in and it feels very good. It has adjusted to fit very comfortably. Good back support and noticeably improved posture when I'm wearing it. Thanks for this design since it is much better than the one with the low back. If and when I get accustomed to wearing this I probably will be in the market for a slightly modified version, maybe one for tighter lacing and more waist reduction?? Again, thanks for a good product." Eric (9/11/08)
  • "I have started to wear my new corset daily for the two to three hours as you recommend during the seasoning process. I am very comfortable in it and it is a welcome addition to my day since it really takes much of the ache from my back. Thanks again." Emma (7/08)
  • "It may seem counter-intuitive that a tight garment is comfortable. After two thoracic surgeries my already weak back was constantly in pain, even with strong medications. I couldn't sleep, which only aggravated the condition and I was desperate to escape this deprivation and pain cycle. When I realized that compression and support could possibly reduce or eliminate my pain, and finally got up the courage to arrange a corset fitting with you, I was greatly relieved. I immediately saw and felt that only a real corset could provide the support that I needed. You made the whole process so easy. When the corset I chose made by your corsetiere, Sheri. finally arrived, I was elated! The support I felt for my back and chest wall was fantastic! I was tempted to bypass the break-in period you recommend, because it immediately fit like a glove, but I followed your detailed instructions to protect my corset and accommodate my body to restriction. It has been nearly three years since I received my treasure, and it still fits like a glove and is comfortable enough to sleep in all night, now fully laced down and closed in back. My many 4-6 hour once-per-week car commutes were only possible with the aid and support of my corset. It is even clandestine enough to wear under a golf shirt. I can't emphasize enough the benefit that can be gained through proper support of a well-fitting corset! I encourage your prospective clients, both male and female, that have back or chest wall pain, to invest in a custom corset. It will be the one of best, if not the best, investments they will ever make. Thanks." Brian (7/14/08)
  • "A few months ago I was in a car accident and my physical therapist prescribed a medical corset for me for back support. After wearing it for about a month I found that it really helped my back and I liked the way that it narrowed my waist. The problem is that it is bulky under my clothes. I had purchased a Victorian corset from you a few years back but hadn't worn it in a long time I decided to try wearing it again and also found that it did also give some relief to my back the problem is attempting to lace it up myself. Recently I visited my therapist dressed in a suit which is my proper work attire and she agreed that the corset looked to bulky under my clothes suggesting that I try to find something more appropriate. Is there a corset you can suggest that I can possibly lace myself yet will provide the necessary back support I need. I am open to all suggestions. Thank you in advance."Loren (1/8/08)

Q.4. What do physicians say about wearing corsets to relieve back pain?

A. Some personally find corsets helpful with various back conditions, and some who do not corset, are still supportive of the use of corsets to relieve certain symptoms.

Witness what one correspondent, M. Simmons M.D., said about his condition of Ankylosis Spondylitis.

"I am a male physician (quoted above) who has worn corsets for over 45 years, medical-surgical ones in my early years of practice, but I found a wonderful corsetiere who has made me two wonderful corsets which control my back problem of Anklyosing Spondlysis for the last six years. Ankylosis means limitation of movement. In the chest region it is classified as a reduction in chest expansion of 2.5 cm. (1 inch) in its later stages, and in the lower spine, a decrease range of spinal mobility. The condition can affect multiple sites in the spinal column. Thankfully mine is in the lower spinal column. Regarding spondylitis, the term "itis" refers to inflammation. In this particular case it refers to the sacral and lower lumbar areas. In other words inflammation sets up followed in time by a limitation of movement. Of course there are structural changes of the vertebrae on x-ray, but even more evaluation can be seen with the MRI. The condition is also associated with other disease conditions and sometimes has a specific antigen that can be tested for. Considered now to be seen equally in men and women, but more so in Caucasians then other racial groups.

"Treatment for me with the use of the corset permits me to relax my lower spine for a limited period of time which reduces the pain. I do not use any pain medications or anti-inflammatory meds. I only use a 161 mgs. of Aspirin for cardiac protection. After a relaxation period in the corset which includes all types of exercise without formulating irritation in the sacral iliac area, I can then remove the corset and allow movement in the affected region in some degree of comfort. In other words I do not want to keep the area completely immobilized all the time as a certain amount of activity is important to allow and maintain a further range of motion.

My biggest problem is as you know that I hate taking the corset off as it feels so wonderful to me. After a period of time it doesn't feel like I'm even wearing it."


Q.6. What conditions should cause me to hesitate about wearing corsets or waist training?

A. Conditions should cause you to pause and discuss the matter thoroughly with your doctor, if they are related to high blood pressure, heart problems (such as pericarditis and cardiactampanode), ankle swelling, hernia (even repaired hernias), GERD (acid reflux) disease, serious chronic constipation, claustrophobia, and certain skin sensitivities such as hives and excema.

We cannot manage in this short space nor based on our limited medical training to give details regarding the above, but suffice it to say that pressure placed on the midriff by corseting, lacing down of any kind (think tight belt), and waist training, can become highly risky, exacerbate prior conditions, and possibly, even become lethal.


Q.7. Can or do corsets cause miscarriages?

A. As pointed out to me by a physician consultant, although it is or may be possible, if corsets really caused this result, it is highly likely that vast numbers of women seeking to terminate pregnancies intentionally, would buy corsets for that very purpose, and that simply is not the case.

Furthermore please consider the known fact that there were pregnancy corsets advertised in Victorian times and many upper income women who laced very tightly in corsets in the 1880s until about 1905, had large numbers of children. In addition, you will easily find on the Internet, images of pregnancy corsets worn during Victorian times.


Q.8. I am a dialysis patient on peritoneal dialysis. I am filled at all times with somewhere between 1500 ml and 2 ˝ liters of fluid. I don't know how that will affect corseting, and I'm afraid to ask the nurses at my PD clinic.

A. First let me encourage you to be honest and up-front with your medical support team, and seek an accurate answer as to whether and how you could safety wear a custom corset for fashion purposes.

Whether you could corset and waist train requires sound medical advice. I am firmly committed to your health and that of my clients as well as myself. I also suggest you raise with your medical professionals two very moderate steps you possibly could take to gently and reasonably test out how you might respond to corseting, without engaging in independently risky behavior.

The first is to purchase a wide plastic or leather belt (about 3" or so) perhaps a used belt you might find at Good Will. Cinch that down 1" from you normal snug waistline, and see what results after you wear it for a few minutes up to an hour. If there is no harm, then wear it the next day for two hours and the next day for three hours. Then cinch down one more grommet or 2," and go back to wearing it two hours and build up. Note any untoward effects and immediately take the belt off if you experience discomfort. The second is to purchase a lightweight body briefer (like the Spanx brand), or even two of same, and wear those in the same manner to see what results. Even wearing a girdle might be informative. Of course, the best test for you is to be able to try on a fine corset that is near to your measurements, then lace gently down 1-2" and stay corseted for a few minutes to see the results, building up to more minutes, then some hours.

I have one repeat corset client who has a colostomy, and he successfully and with no harm, wears his corset by our corsetiere Sheri, perhaps the most comfy corset maker on our team. He adores his corsets, starts lacing gradually as described above, and does not report any problems.

Regarding construction and hygiene matters, we provided him with two front protectors to go beneath the front laces so he could launder them first if soiled, and also we provided him with several CorPros, tube tops worn beneath his corset and laundered first. His corset is made out of cotton so it, too, is hand washable (with care per our instructions). You like him, may order your corset closed back with convenient front lacing to be able to adjust your equipment.

As for waist training, that is a question which puts the horse before the cart. You must first resolve the above questions, then understand that based upon my research with generally healthy students and excluding those undergoing dialysis, usually I recommend they start wearing their waist training corset only two hours per day. working up to as long as they can tolerate or 10-14 hours per day, then dropping back to two hours per day and lacing down 1/4" to ˝" more and building up hours, and continuing. Some need longer hours of wear, some tighter and faster lacing down to see results. I do not teach lifestyle waist training which is normally understood to require corset wear 24/7 and perhaps ends with rather extreme lacing down of 9-10." I take a much more moderate approach to waist training and corseting. What will or may work for you remains to be seen and truly there is no set answer. You would have to pay close attention to your body as to comfort or problems developing, and there can be no guarantee that you might have to terminate training at some point, or even terminate corseting itself.


Q.9. I've been noticing some slight discomfort in my central back after about twenty minutes. I don't blame the corset. This is the fruit of twenty-some-odd years of poor posture, the same thing my doctor has complained about. I know that the corset is correcting this, and that my back is protesting. In the mean time, have you any advice which might make this more comfortable?

A. Wearing a form-fitting garment is an entirely different experience from wearing today's loosely- fitting fashions. More than likely your body is telling you to loosen up the corset right now, and/or wear it less hours at a time, and gently build up hours before you lace down by another 1/2".

To provide more comfort, wear your boned back protector under the back corset laces to pad and protect your back. You should also be wearing a very tight CorPro tube top not only to wick body perspiration away from your valuable corset, but to smooth out the skin. Once you have laced halfway down, reach under one arm with the opposite hand and pull the flesh forward to the center front of your body. Then do the reverse. This smoothes out unnecessary skin wrinkling that can tweak as you wear your corset. Finally, about every 15 minutes be sure you stand up and stretch, or do what we call the "lean-pull" technique" seen here. Lean to one side, grasp the opposite bottom side of the corset and gently stretch your ribs while you hold it steady. Reverse the process. This results in lengthening the spine providing space for the corset to re-seat itself properly at the waistline. It also improves your posture. If discomfort ever begins to reach the level of pain, take your corset off or loosen it considerably. We do not recommend testing either your limits or the corset's limits via pain when you are both "corset newbie's!"


Q.10 I observe skin itching when I take off my corset after a day's wear, and note reddish marks and moisture where my skin has wrinkled. What can I do?

A. We recommend you wear a tight microfiber tube top under your corset. Before lacing down tightly, reach under the corset top to the side front of your body, and gently move flesh toward the center of your body, then reverse, and continue to lace down.

This process removes excess wrinkling that traps moisture and might also trap or pinch small nerves as y ou lace down.

Regarding itching, this is a commonly-noted result of many hours of compression of the skin through corset wear. Never scratch the skin when you remove your corset or you may break it and prohibit corseting or cause rough skin after healing. Rub itchy spots with the flat of your hand in a circular motion, and apply lotion. Take a lukewarm shower, never a hot one since heat irritates itching.


Q.11. What condition is the skin in after wearing a corset for long periods of time tightly-laced?

A. Basically, the skin becomes sensitized, even thinner over time, and readily broken if you scratch it. It will generally recover if you air it out and gently massage it to improve blood circulation.

You will note skin wrinkling after routine corset-wearing,and may note some itching around your waist, especially after you remove the corset. This will generally return to normal within an hour or so after removing the corset. You may note temporary reddening or even bruising, the latter which indicates improper wearing and that you should back off in either tightness or length of wear, or both.

For lifestyle corseters wearing corsets 24.7, there can be serious skin breakdown (decubitus) where the only remedy is ceasing to corset for some time. It's far better to avoid these problems in the first place because after they occur, the skin becomes extra sensitive and thin. Some use talcum powder under a protector tube top beneath the corset, while others don't like it because they find it irritating, much like sand. Using lotion after you corset can be soothing. Udder Cream or a cream containing Vaseline (I found a lovely one in a yellow tube at the Dollar Store) has been recommended. Note that dry climates can also dry out and irritate the skin where it becomes even more important to minimize skin wrinkling and maximize moisture. Wearing our tight CorPro, a contoured tube top, will wick perspiration away from the body, as will wearing a cotton corset.


Q.12. I have fibromyalgia. Can I wear corsets?

A. I wish I had an easy answer to that, just like doctors wish they had an easy cure. Perhaps a small test might be in order before you invest.

I'm sure you already know enough about this condition, but the Mayo Clinic website defines it as: "a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points -- places on your body where slight pressure causes pain." Although I don't suffer from this, I discussed the matter with a good friend who does, yet who wore a silver satin overbust corset and skirt for her wedding--but not tightly. I think she rarely wears it these days.

She told me that each person is different in terms of how the condition is experienced, and that she would not wear uncomfortable clothing during an episode. Since she is not a corset enthusiast per se, she has never tried her lovely overbust corset while feeling discomfort or pain. What constitutes "comfort" also is an individual matter. Could be that you would feel great support for your muscles from the steel boning and be able to relax more, or it could be the opposite situation.

Rather than conclude from the above that corseting is definitely not for you, I would suggest that you might want to try a steel-boned corset on when feeling good and when not, but not lace it tightly. Remember: you are in charge of how tightly you lace down. But remember that when the corset is made custom to a full set of your own measurements, it will contour and skim over your body and likely fit much better than any readymade or standardized pattern of what we like to call "wannabe" corsets on the market! Barring the opportunity to try a real corset on as a sample, you must judge the risk or reward if you decide to purchase a corset (but we have some very inexpensive quality custom corsets to offer you), as my friend does have days when the pain is intense but that is not every day. If your pain is periodic or episodic, then I suspect you can wear your corset on the days you feel well. After all, I don't wear my corset 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and don't on most days cinch down 4 or more inches! I choose those days I want the support and those days I don't, I lace down moderately, and dress accordingly.


Q.13. I've been wearing my Training Belt a bit too long and likely created a sore rib on one side. Can you give me more advice about that?

A. I am sorry to hear about that sore rib that could result from wearing a stiff new belt for too long or too tightly at first, or ordering it to be too wide for the distance between your pelvic bone and lowest floating ribs.

There is no strict standard; listen to your body first of all and back off if need be.

Most of us are not precisely equal side-of-body to side-of-body. It could be that your belt is pressing a bit more on one side of your ribs because of that. You might try placing a piece of thin cotton, bubble wrap, or 1/4" foam rubber over that sore rib when you next wear the belt, or even a corset, as I have done over a sore pelvic bone. Of course as you are doing, wait to belt or corset until your rib is not sore, then don't buckle or lace so tightly. For a corset, you can open up the top edge in back more than the waist and bottom edge when you lace down to the day's desired wearing level. Those steps should help.


Q.14. What if any effect does the corset have on piercings that are under the corset? Do they become sore, or does the body reject them, etc.?

A. We have not heard of any such result. However, your piercing should be completely healed before corseting.


< Q.15. I've been waist training for around two months and I have been wearing custom measured, high quality corsets in the underbust hourglass shape. If I lace even remotely tightly, however, within ten minutes, the nerve around my hip bone goes numb and begins to sting, and I must unlace at once, and since I have noticed this, I have stopped lacing, even moderately. I noticed last night when I was sleeping, of course without the corset, I was lying on my side and I experienced the same painful sting. I also notice that even when I tighten the upper edge of my corset, I find this is irritating. Do I have to stop wearing the corset altogether? Did I measure incorrectly?

I am 19 years old and just started wearing corsets a month ago, off and on. I want to start wearing them full time but I have a problem. After I am in a readymade corset for about 4 hours, my left hip area starts to go numb. The leg never does, but the lower area of the hip does and it hurts a bit. I do not know if this is normal or what I can do to correct it.

A. You are asking a critical question and taking the right course to remove the corset until answers are found.

However, I must urge you to return to your corsetiere and pursue information there, since that person knows the construction techniques, findings, patterning, precise style you ordered, and measurements used in your particular corset.

It is obvious that the corset has pressed down on the anterior femoral nerve running over the pelvic bone, reduced the blood circulation and supply and led to numbness. Since this continues even when you are out of the corset, you must not wear your corset until this condition completely clears up, then re-corset cautiously, testing out some possible solutions. I also suggest you contact your physician. This condition is not a healthy one and certainly must not be tolerated for more than some minutes, once the condition is noticed.

I suspect that the corset even if hourglass in silhouette, was not patterned sufficiently far enough out over your pelvic bone to avoid it pressing down on and impeding the nerve and its blood supply. Possibly you think you have purchased an hourglass corset when you have purchased more of a U-shaped or stem corset, for example. As you lace down, the bottom edge of a U-shaped or stem corset will or may dig into the pelvic bone area even more than an hourglass silhouette.

I have no idea about how tightening the top of your corset could irritate the nerve unless of course, that also tightens up the waist and bottom at the same time. Also, since one hip is involved, you might have a wee bit of scoliosis or difference in one side of your body to another, or even be walking a bit off balance. There can be other reasons as well.

When the problem completely disappears and you feel safe to re-corset, some possible general solutions might be:
-- to open up the bottom wider than the waist and top,
-- to add a 1/4" thick foam rubber piece covering each hip bone (about 2" x 4" should do),
-- to divide your lacing cord into three sets. Tighten the waist set more than the top and bottom sets.


Q.16. I have been a waist trainer for eight months now and have been wearing my corset almost everyday with a corset liner. A few months ago the skin located on my hip bones have turned a dark color. Two dark circles on the skin over my hip bones. My corset does rub on that area a lot. However, when I wear my corset I wear a liner (a simple tank top) that covers those areas. I just want to know what is causing this. Can you help me out? I am in no pain and it doesn’t bother me, but I just want to know why.

A. I've not heard of it before, but it sounds like bruising or incipient bruising.

If your corset presses down too tightly over the anterior femoral nerve that runs over the pelvic bone sidefront of the body as discussed above, then blood rushes away and skin can necrose eventually (die), but that is a rare risk to be sure! I would always always recommend taking your corset off for a few days or week until the color disappears. If color is still there after a week then wait another week to see what happens. You then can start again and lace the bottom part of the corset below the waistline, looser to relieve pressure on the hip bone. This discoloration might also be caused because you have a U-shaped corset or one not sufficiently patterned to go out over the hip bone in a hourglass shape. See this page for graphic of various silhouettes that corsets create when worn.


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