Waist trainers can offer good support for people wanting better posture. By holding in your gut, it encourages you to keep a neutral posture at all times. This is especially important for those that have back pain or lower back issues.
In this article, we will be looking at the back condition known as scoliosis, and whether waist trainers can do anything to help. Note, that this is NOT intended to be medical advice. You should always consult your doctor before trying anything for your scoliosis.
What is a Scoliosis Corset and Does Such a Thing Exist?
Technically, there is no such thing as a ‘scoliosis corset’. However, a comfortable waist trainer can be used to maintain good posture and offer stability for the back. Waist trainers can be used as a back brace in order to provide pain relief. The physical restraint from the waist trainer prevents you from hunching your back muscles, so it is good training for those with bad posture. Under proper guidance, you can purchase scoliosis braces too!
The Causes of Scoliosis According To Medical Experts
Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves unusually in a sideways direction. It normally forms an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shaped spinal curve. The curve often happens around the level of the ribcage creating asymmetry.
This condition, if genetic, is often detected during early childhood, and should be corrected. One should be under proper health care to monitor the spine’s curve progression. However, it can also happen when there’s an injury to the spinal discs. Scoliosis can be both a long term or a short term condition, depending on the cause.
In a lot of cases, the cause of scoliosis isn’t really known—and this is called idiopathic scoliosis. The causes of scoliosis are categorized into nonstructural and structural causes.
Structural causes refers to conditions that are more long term, such as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis or scoliosis due to a birth defect. In addition to the sideways curve, there’s also the rotation of the spine. Structural causes also include scoliosis as a result of neuromuscular diseases or injury (e.g. cerebral palsy)
This would include scoliosis that is a result of the breakage of spinal discs. The spinal discs can break during diseases like arthritis or osteoporosis, where the bones are more brittle and weaker.
Nonstructural scoliosis happens when there’s only a sideway curvature of the spine (so no rotation of the spine). This condition is often a secondary effect of another underlying issue. For example, asymmetric length of legs, muscle spasms or inflammatory conditions like appendicitis. This often goes away if the underlying problem is treated.
A Rundown Of Scoliosis Waist Training: A Safer Solution
A poor posture will exacerbate even the mildest form of scoliosis. No matter how much we know that keeping a straight back is good for us, it’s very difficult to keep a perfect posture all throughout the day—especially if you’re working from home and sitting for hours. Even slouching a little bit can add immense pressure on your spine, causing misalignment.
A good treatment option to maintain good posture throughout the day is to use a corseting waist trainer or thoracic-lumbar-sacral orthosis (TLSO). These physically restrict you from slouching, so you’re always encouraged to keep your back straight.
Luxx waist trainers, for example, have 9 vertical flexi-steel bones around your waist, which helps to keep your spine straight and can be used as a scoliosis treatment. These steel bones are also vertically placed, and are parallel to your spine hugging the natural lumbar curve—so this encourages your spine to be straight. Over time, this can ‘train’ your spine to sit straighter.
This can really help people with milder forms of scoliosis, and prevent it from getting worse. However, if you have scoliosis, you should always consult with your doctor before you attempt any type of braces or corrective remedies, which includes waist training.
The Dangers of Wearing a Corset With Scoliosis (Not a Waist Trainer)
The first danger with corsets is that they are very easy and tempting to overtighten. As the frame is also quite rigid, this can lead to long periods of incorrect or inadequate breathing. Over time, this can lead to damage to your lungs and cause more permanent breathing difficulties.
The rigid and tight frames of corsets can also cut off blood circulation to parts of the body. Digestive issues are also quite common in long term corset wearers.
Perhaps the worst side effect of corsets is the damage it can do to your internal organs. They can squeeze them in and prevent them carrying out their functions—leading to even more dangerous side effects such as fainting, headaches, blood clots or fatigue.
Apart from the obvious physical effects of waist trainers, it can also lead to negative mental health effects. Both overbust and underbust corsets give a much more exaggerated view of your body’s curves in a shorter period of time. Over time, this could lead to body dysmorphia and wanting more dangerous body procedures to permanently alter your body shape.
This is why waist trainers are a much better option. The gradual results are easier on you, both physically and mentally. They give a more realistic impression of your body’s curves and weight loss.
Do Corsets or Waist Trainers Help With Scoliosis or Even Just Improving Posture?
For milder forms of scoliosis, a poor posture can make things so much worse. Waist trainers are definitely a great tool to train your body into keeping a good posture and treat scoliosis overtime. We all know how easy it is to lose track of our posture and start hunching or rolling our shoulders, when we are sitting for hours.
Waist trainers physically restrict your body, so you have no option but to keep a straight back. It’s a great way to relearn the habit of maintaining a straight back. After several weeks of waist training, you will subconsciously keep a straight back even when you’re not wearing the waist trainer. So, waist training doesn’t just train your body, but also your mind.
The Differences Between Corsets and Waist Trainers For Scoliosis - Which is Better?
One of the most common mistakes people make is confusing waist trainers with corsets. This isn’t surprising since a lot of corsetiere or corset maker companies mislabel their products and use the two terms interchangeably. However, corsets are different from waist trainers.
Corsets typically have a very rigid, steel frame. They also have lace fastenings, similar to shoe laces. This makes it quite easy to overtighten and introduce many health risks. Over time, they give far more exaggerated Jessica Rabbit-style curves.
Waist trainers are more like a middle-man between corsets and shapewear. They are sturdy enough to hold in your waist, but flexible enough to let you breathe without discomfort. The fabric is also more flexible and stretchy.
Waist trainers are designed to be worn over several weeks. After a few weeks, you move to a smaller size, until you get the results you desire.
It’s a slow and steady race to a flat belly, as opposed to the extreme, dangerous and fast approach of corsets. Unlike corsets, results from waist trainers are meant to be permanent.
One of the biggest differences between the two are the materials used. Traditionally, corsets consisted of a rigid framework made from animal bones or steel bones that are covered in fabric such as cotton or satin. Nowadays, you may even find materials like leather, mesh or lace. A lot of these materials don’t offer good flexibility or breathability.
On the other hand, waist trainers are often made from synthetic materials like neoprene or nylon. These are often stretchier, allowing you to breathe more freely. Some brands also have moisture-wicking ones that wick away sweat.
There are also some key differences in the design of corsets and waist trainers. Corsets often have a rigid skeleton made from hard materials like steel or bone. Waist trainers don’t have such a rigid metal skeleton. A lot of modern waist trainers have flexible steel bones that run vertically through the waist trainer.
Luxx Curves waist trainers, for example, use flexi-steel bones that allow more flexibility and breathability. They are rigid enough to hold your belly in effectively, but flexible enough for you to move and breathe.
Another aspect of the design is that waist trainers have zippers or ‘hook and eye’ fasteners at the front to help you put on the waist trainer. Corsets often have fasteners at the back or a ‘shoelace’ type system where you have to tie it at the back. This makes getting dressed a more tedious and time consuming process.
Lastly, waist trainers just have an easier process overall. It’s easier to put on and take off, there’s less over tightening and there is less risk of organ damage. The results are more gradual and less taxing on your body.
Unlike corsets, waist trainers are designed to be worn for longer, when you are lounging around the house—due to their flexibility and breathability. Corsets are better for temporary use, such as wearing it as a fashion statement with leggings, for example. They are not meant to be worn for long hours, as this can be very dangerous for your health, and not good for your well-being.
Improve Posture and Be Safe: Using a Waist Trainer
While waist trainers are much safer than using corsets, this doesn’t mean there aren’t things you need to be mindful of when using them—especially for back pain or scoliosis. Here are some ways that waist trainers can improve your posture and even treat scoliosis safely:
Never exceed the recommended wear time
Typically, most waist trainers such as Luxx waist trainers, are designed to be worn for a certain number of hours per day. For Luxx waist trainers, the maximum hours recommended is eight. Always consult with the manufacturer about this maximum limit, and do not exceed it.
Never wear it to bed
Waist trainers are meant to be worn during the day, when you are alert and have more control over your breathing. Don’t wear them to bed, where you may twist or contort it, resulting in breathing difficulties or reduced blood circulation.
Never wear it to the gym or during heavy exercise
Waist trainers are designed to be worn during the day, while you’re going about your daily routine, such as sitting at a desk, walking around the house or doing light chores like laundry.
They are not meant to be worn during heavy, strenuous exercise such as cardio or weight lifting. However, there are some really great products out there to help you with your form and back during heavy exercise. Luxx Curves, for example, has a waist trimmer belt that encourages good form and provides back support during weight lifting or strength training.
Strategically time your meals and waist training
To get the most out of your waist training, time your meals strategically around your waist training. For example, time and plan your meals so that the lightest meals coincide with your waist training. This would be more comfortable for you than wearing it during a heavy meal like breakfast. Or if you are doing intermittent fasting, wear your waist trainer during the hours that you are fasting (provided you are awake).
Wear the right bra
We all know that wearing the right bra is crucial to posture and avoiding back pain. This is even more important for those with scoliosis. Wear a bra that provides adequate support and helps your posture. Some brands, like Luxx, will also offer overbust waist trainers that you can try on.
Get the right size
This is absolutely crucial for waist training for posture or back pain. There are several vital measurements you need to consider—bust size (for overbust waist trainers), waist circumference, torso length.
Brands like Luxx offer waist trainers with different torso lengths to ensure the utmost comfort. You don’t want it to be too short that it doesn’t offer much back support, but you don’t want it to be too long that it digs into your back and worsen your scoliosis.
When considering the torso length measurement, always consider the seated torso length as this would be the shortest measurement. Your waist trainer should be shorter than this measurement.
For the waist circumference, take several measurements throughout the day (e.g. first thing in the morning, after a heavy meal, when seated, when standing, etc.) and take the average. This will ensure that your waist trainer isn’t too tight or too loose.
Summary - Are Scoliosis Corsets Worth It?
Corsets are not that useful for scoliosis or back pain, and on the contrary, can actually be dangerous. Their designs are often too rigid and encourage overtightening. This can lead to health risks such as breathing problems and internal organ damage.
Waist trainers are a better option for scoliosis as they allow more flexibility and breathability. The vertical flexi-steel bones help to maintain a straight spine and good posture. However, you should never try anything for your scoliosis without consulting a doctor or medical professional as there might be other cervical kyphosis related issues which require seeing x-ray reports.