Q: I really want to waist train, but I have three compacted and herniated discs in my lower back. I am worried that compression will put too much strain on this area. Do you know anything about the effects a corset has on a back? --- Kate (11/3/00).

A: Without being certain about your back condition, I have to limit myself to general advice. Considering that you may have an unstable back, support from a corset by increasing IAP (refer to my articles on this) will help unload the spine, and thus help reduce the compression from your upper body weight. For a corset to perform this function and provide maximum support, the stays would need to be solid, not spirals. Although this makes for a less flexible corset, it provides more support for the back and back muscles. 

When you waist train you should avoid corsets that overly compress the waist, as you need to even out the pressure over a large region. This avoids local pressures in the back on the back muscles. Limit yourself to moderate constrictions and you are likely to benefit from the corset. In your condition I would avoid any extreme constriction.

In order to determine what benefit you will derive from the corset, you need to adhere to the published guidelines of "going slow," so you can observe the effects and notice at what level you feel benefit and when discomfort begins. When properly laced, your back should feel more relaxed.

In summary: solid stays, no waist pinching, distribute the load by using a long model and -- go slowly!


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