Q: I've made myself my first corset and the corset is quite  comfortable; it  seems that I've made a good corset.  But I'm curious if I'm alone having this problem, or if it is a  common  problem. After a day's corseting (always comfortably laced, never too tight,  because I don't like pain), I notice that my sternum aches very slightly - very, very little, but it is a new sensation.  I think that it is because I'm not used to breathing thoracic-ally instead of using the diaphragm/abdomen.  But I want to be sure that it is not "dangerous" or something
like that.
- Wilhelmina  (1/6/02)

A:  Charlotte, nothing dangerous is happening! There are a variety of sensations experienced, depending on where the corset exerts its pressure.  You are essentially correct, but allow me to elaborate:

In general there are three primary sources of ribcage discomfort.  First: no matter how tight a corset is laced, there is always some breathing-induced vertical movement of the ribs, and during training, the combination of this movement against the inward pressure on the ribs causes a rib ache, especially when the corset is removed.  Second: Over time, as the ribs change shape and orient themselves at a different angle to the sternum or breastbone in front and the vertebra or spinal column in back, the joints of these structures may ache as a result of long-term pressure. Third: When abdominal breathing is restricted and most breathing
activity has become thoracic, it may cause some slight irritation, as a result of different use of the ribcage muscles.

None of these aches are an indication of a problem as long as they are slight. Compare this, for example, to leaning on an elbow on a hard surface for an extended period. When moving the elbow afterwards, there will be some temporary discomfort.


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