Q: I've been waist training about 4 months and wear a sturdy, custom  made underbust training corset that brings me down to 23 inches from  about 26 inches.  I have a rather large rib cage that has caused me minor discomfort off
and on during the past 4 months of training, nothing serious.  Recently I contracted a cold, causing my left side  to hurt quite badly, especially during coughing and sneezing, which I try to  keep to a minimum. I've taken off the corset for periods of time to see if this  reduced the rib pain, but at this point it hurts me less to have the ribs supported by
the corset than to have it off. I also worry some about putting my  back out if I sneeze with the corset off. I haven't been making much effort  to keep my  back muscles toned and I have hurt my back by coughing in the past before I
started waist training. So my question is, should a person remove her corset when a cold is coming on to prevent injury due to the constricted ribs spasming, or loosen the laces, or take any action other than the usual tight lacing routine? Also, is there anything I can do now that my left side is hurt to  expedite healing? I've been taking Advil in hopes of reducing inflammation and pain. -- anonymous (5/06)

A: There are several independent issues you appear to be experiencing. First the cold symptoms, which should be passing within a week or so. Next there is the rib discomfort which is can be produced by corset stays running across the ribs in such a way that pressure points are created. It could be there are too few stays or they are twisting. It
can also be caused by skin wrinkles, indirectly caused by not smoothing out the undershirt under the corset. Then, if the corset is spiral boned and tight-laced, it may wrinkle and cause skin and muscle pinching. Around the ribcage is usually limited padding to smooth out the space between the ribs and the corset. Although it reduces overall torso flexibility, using a larger number of solid stays (rather than spirals) will help in maintaining a smooth working surface and it will make the corset more supportive and comfortable. Pressure points are an indication that the overall pressure is not
sufficiently distributed. More thinner solid stays should help. Usually the corset is already chosen and to temporarily alleviate the problem, a double undershirt can be worn to help even out pressure.

Also, ironically if the corset is not sufficiently snug around the ribs, the ribs can move around too much in the corseted area, which can cause spasming of the muscles between the ribs, due to having only partial corset support. The corset maker has to strike a balance between "corset comfort" and "corset shaping power".

If you have been corset training for an extended period of time, you may be more comfortable with keeping the corset on, but relax the lacing until the irritations subside.

There are several over the counter anti-inflammatory agents that can be used. Note that pain suppression agents and anti-inflammatory agents tend to be independent features.


Return to Main Medical Advice Page

Return to LISA's Main Page