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Corset for back pain

 
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I made a corset to help deal with the severe back pain I have. (Actually made 2, only photo'd one.) It's meant to be worn under my clothes, not to be visible. My back was damaged badly in a car wreck 38 years ago (yay drunk drivers :P) and I have had surgery, and for many years I sometimes have to use two canes to walk due to incredible amounts of pain. I have work to do, and I have been wearing a stretchy back brace from the drugstore, that isn't designed for what I need. I have made corsets before, so I made myself one designed to do exactly what I need.

I started with the same pattern I always work with from here Draft Your Corset Pattern  (Edit: THIS LINK DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE, check farther down, I put more places to find a pattern.)Working my way through all the measurements, and marking here and there and connect them, etc, I got this:



Tracing out the cuts, these are my pattern pieces:



Sewed it all together into this:



It's hard to see on the black fabric where the steel coil boning is, so I marked them on this picture:



So the way it's designed, like I said, to be worn under clothes, is to support the L2-S3 area, where the vertebrae are damaged, and weak muscles can't hold it all straight. When my hips tilt off level, nerves are pinched, the pain is incredibly bad, and I tend to be unstable when I walk or stand. For what it's worth, at this point, when I'm not tilted, and my back is stable, the pain is tolerable, so that's the state I want it to be all the time.  

It fits tight against my ribs to hold the top still, that makes the steel coil boning have to push down into position, as it has no way to move upwards or sideways. The stays down each side of my spine, to the tailbone, support the damaged area and keep it from compressing or tilting off level. The pressure downwards from the top forcing the stays down presses the spinal stays so they open up the compressed areas, which relives a LOT of pain. The stays on the sides are just to hold the corset in position. The ones on the front help keep my stomach muscles from pulling my back out of alignment when they get tired and I can't hold them in. The effect of that is kind of how a pregnant lady's back arches weird to balance her tummy, it hurts really bad when my back gets like that, so the front stays help keep my weight balanced.

It has laces so I can adjust the tension as I need to, two laces, from the center upward, and from the center downward, so I can control exactly where I need it looser or tighter. It's counter-intuitive, but due to how I designed it, I can lace the top tight, and the bottom looser, and it's very supportive and comfortable. You'd think I'd need the low part tight, but that really doesn't work as well. The looser low half lets my body do as much as it can, keeps me from getting weak muscles due to disuse and stiff due to lack of flexion, but supports it when it starts to get tired so it can't go into the most painful position.

All in all, it works really well, and so far has caused me no problems. The elastic one I had been using, to hold anything in place has to be cinched so tight it compress my intestines, and doesn't allow any movement, so the muscles get weaker, making a vicious cycle. It also slides out of place all the time. This one doesn't do any of that, and I wore it one day when i was up and down on my knees planting, and walking on uneven ground, and should have been hurting bad in an hour or two, I worked about 5 hours and felt fine. Well worth the time it took to sew! It's the most effective pain control I have come up with in years. I'm really pleased. The design is worth looking at if you can sew easily and have very low back pain.

:D
 
Pearl Sutton
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For what it's worth, if you can read MRIs, this shot will make you cringe. If you can't read MRIs, trust me, this hurts. this is the tilt that I am trying to keep under control. The corset goes from right about the top to the bottom of the picture. This is what I'm stabilizing.

MRI-08-19-back.jpg
[Thumbnail for MRI-08-19-back.jpg]
MRI of my low back when my hips are tilting off level. This is incredibly not good.
 
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Oh my. That mri says it all. I am so sorry.

And,

You never cease to amaze me. Your perseverance. Your creativity. You possess gumption.

I am inspired by you.

May this latest creation serve you well.
 
Pearl Sutton
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And incidentally, if anyone follows the What Is It? game...this thing I posted, that was identified as a button hole spacer, spaces corset grommets really nicely too!

 
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Thank you so much for sharing!

I have had tremendous back pain since middle school. Unable to stand upright many mornings over the last 30 years. I have dabbled in elastic corsets and found small periods of relief after breast reduction surgery, weight loss, etc., but it has always returned and I've only exacerbated it by getting hit by a car while on my bike, 4 pregnancies of big babies, etc. Your post struck a CORD (pun intended) with me.  Come to think of it, my wedding dress had a corseted top and I felt amazing dancing all night long.

You have motivated me to pull out my sewing machine and try again to ease my burdens.

Thank you!

FYI, the link to make our own pattern appears broken.
Staff note (Pearl Sutton) :

Well crud. They made that site membership only. I signed up, will see what's there. I think it's going to be paywalled.

I searched "corset pattern free" and found this site https://www.araneablack.com/free-corset-pattern-2/ and their Corset Pattern Underbust Sonya and the Corset Pattern Waspie Anna look most like what I work with.

Thanks for catching that!

 
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I'm SO glad to hear you've found some help with your pain! I was essentially crippled with back pain for about 5 years when I was younger. Steroid injections finally made the difference and I got better but I bed a corset would have made that period of my life much more tolerable (and more productive too). Thanks for sharing.
 
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You made your own corset??? wow that's great
 
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Corsets have been used for a long time for back pain.  The black Prince wore a corset under his armor to support his extreme scoliosis and other damage to his spine.  
Making your own corset means you can play with where the tension is to get optimum comfort and support.  It isn't so much to hold your waist in, as to support the spine.  It has to be a bit tight to work, but it shouldn't impede breathing or the passage to found through the intestinal tract.  I wore mine for a while, until I didn't need it any more.  With your issues you will be wearing it for a long time.  As your body changes, you will have adjust your corset.  Good luck.  
 
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That's terrible Pearl. When i have bad backpain i use rosemary salve. I put it on at night. It makes that the cappilaries open and it improves bloodcirculation, so mu8scles get rid of the build up bad acids and waste, they feel much fresher during the morning which is important if you're rebalancing your back by will power and attention. They will be more supportive that way keeping your body in a way that's less painful.
It's easy to make, just toss rosemary in sun flower oil, keep it under using a cloth with a rock on, wait a couple of weeks, get the oil out and use some bee wax to make a salve. 1 ounce to one cup.
If you want to see if it works for you, you can make it also au bain marie, toss some rosemary twigs in a bath of sunflower oil and heat it up until it starts to smell of rosemary, then it will also be in the oil. Apply it on your back with a sock drenched in it or something. When it works for you make the salve, much less messy then keeping the oil. If not try lavender, that works a bit the same, or make a mix. Lavender is also calming for sleeping.
All the best Pearl.
 
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Wow, that's really cool!  I have done something similar (though much lower key) using my wife's belly band (from when she was pregnant).  I've had back pain off and on over the years (usually due to overuse).  One regular trigger for me is meditation retreats.  So for the last several years, when I've done one, I pack her belly band.  For the later in the day sits, I cinch it on as tight as I can and it really seems to help.  I love the corset idea, though, as that's a much stronger solution.
 
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Thank you for sharing... I'll have to try it.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:For what it's worth, if you can read MRIs, this shot will make you cringe. If you can't read MRIs, trust me, this hurts. this is the tilt that I am trying to keep under control. The corset goes from right about the top to the bottom of the picture. This is what I'm stabilizing.



Yikes! I cannot read an MRI and I cringe. I can see where you'd want to have something that stabilizes that area!
 
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Corsets are also great if you're working from home at a desk lot these days.  They are great as an ergonomic posture reminder.


If someone likes this idea but can't sew, this is also a good place to purchase them. They have a ton of excellent information on corsets and how to size, etc.  
Some of them are a bit high priced, but for basic corsets you should be able to get some really pretty ones on the 4-for-1 offer they have going on.  
https://corset-story.com

Depending on how fancy you would like to get, there are 2 other recommended sites - Lucy's Corsetry and Orchard Corsets.  If I remember right, all of them have a few more flexible corsets that don't need another person to help tie the back of them.

 
Been there. Done that. Went back for more. But this time, I took this tiny ad with me:
HARDY FRUIT TREES FOR ORGANIC AND PERMACULTURE
https://permies.com/t/132540/HARDY-FRUIT-TREES-ORGANIC-PERMACULTURE
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