Binding Aches

7 posts in this topic

Hey Everyone,

Are aching ribs (not all over but just in certain area/s) normal after binding?

I recently bought a half binder from GC2B and I believe it should be the right size (I was in between so I went with the larger one), but I've only worn it twice for short periods and feel slightly achy in my ribs after taking it off (I also have that weird feeling were it's like you need to burp >__< ). The pain is pretty dull but spikes up now and then. :/ There's no visible signs of damage.

Just curious coz I really wasn't wearing it for long or even doing anything in it but I haven't bound before so maybe this is normal or my body just isn't used to it? Idk.
Any opinions, stories or advice would be greatly appreciated. :)


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Hi Alex,  be careful with binding, just like when using tight corsets.  Specifically, there are a few health issues that are associated with chest binding.  Back and rib pain is one of the most common followed by abdominal/stomach problems like gastric reflux (heartburn..). Shortness of breath/shallow breathing and the development of a pneumonia is another.  Once in a while a broken rib.  A well fitting sprots bra may be the way to start out vs. full on binding.

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Hey Alex, 

I have the same issue with mine. I'm thinking of going up another size to see if it helps. The pain really freaks me out and I don't want to cause permanent damage :( 

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Thanks Briana. :) I am trying to be careful, it's just hard to tell if I'm being too cautious about it or not (what's to be expected for binding vs what's a problem). Is the back/rib pain often related to more severe problems? or is it just a symptom of binding which doesn't have a permanent affect do you know? (obviously it depends on the type of pain and cause but achy pain?). 
I normally wear a good sports bra. :) Hopefully I'll be able to ease in to binding a bit though.


Thanks Kendall. If you do go a size up I'd be interested to know if that helps.
My binder is surprisingly easy to put on which makes me think its not the size, but it could be.
and same about the pain. :( I don't want to be causing permanent damage. Hopefully someone who binds more will know if its okay pain or bad pain. :/ 

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Binding causes health issues in over 85% of cases according to a new study. It's a real challenge to get a binder that diminishes -and that is the key rather than flatten- without causing problems but basically pain, especially pain after binding, is a red flag. It's not a pain you feel initially and then it goes away usually because you have not removed the source and it can get worse over time.

Most guys have moobs and/ or pecs and if your binder is flattening it's too tight. It doesn't only cause the problems mentioned above but can also deform ribs so even if you get surgery one day you will never look right, as well as causing lung tissue to adhere to ribs and eventually tear.

I personally recommend UnderArmour compression shirts for awhile if you are having pain. They hold a patent on the material which has a 4 way give as opposed to the normal 2 way apparently and is still safe to wear snug and wear 2. They are meant for athletes so you can move freely and are thermodynamic as well. Just wear a loose shirt over them. They fit like a second skin and look hideous on us without an overshirt. I use an Underworks swim binder as my full time binder. It seems to have more give and with a zipper ( doesn't show under clothes) in front it's easy to unzip when no one is around or I need to wear it longer than usual.its also designed for active movement. I haven't had pain or problems and I've worn one for years. I have switched to other things now and then - the grass is always greener- and have had bruised ribs etc though I was careful.

Sports bras can also cause problems if tight as well as being a dead giveaway that you were AFAB because men never, ever wear bras but even in a loose shirt that bra line will show from behind when you reach forward or pull the shirt tight across your back.

Wish I had better news. Binding is dangerous and it is believed that it poses the greatest risks for developing bodies. Be very, very careful and don't ignore pain.


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Oh boy, okay. So, I am nonbinary, AFAB. I never took puberty blockers and have not been on any kind of hormone therapy. I hate my chest more than anything so I do bind. Here is my situation, though: I am a college student with limited resources. Most official, supposedly "safe" binders (GC2B, etc.) tend to be a little outrageously priced and I am of limited resources. The first binder I ever wore was homemade. About a year ago, my mother gave me two binders from some obscure company, telling me that she ordered them on Amazon and that each one was about four dollars. For anyone who follows the more-expensive-means-more-safe model that probably rings some alarms, but my question is: is that really a good model to follow? I always kind of thought that overpriced "official" binders were just a scam to sucker poor trans people. Also, my chest is extremely small - sort of the size of well-developed male pecs - so my other question is: for people like me, does it matter as much? Is there as much a risk involved for someone who is already relatively flat-chested, or are those risks greater for someone with average/ large breasts? I don't notice any pain from my binder as much, but I also try to be careful. I do cardio workouts every day, and I take my binder off in the middle of them once it starts to really impair my breathing. I know my back gets sore and it becomes hard to breathe if I've been wearing the binder for a long period of time, so I also don't sleep with it on. What you said about binders causing permanent damage that affects surgery, however, really concerns me. I mean, top-surgery is still kind of like a really fantastic pipe-dream for me; I have doubts that I will ever be able to actually afford surgery, but I still fantasize about it a lot. So, for someone in my situation, do you think the risks are as serious, and, if so, what would you suggest that someone like me, with limited resources, should do to prevent any permanent physical harm?

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My suggestion for you would be 2 UnderArmour compression shirts in a size smaller than your shirt size. They will flatten as much as you need and still be safe.

But yes binding can still cause deformity even if you are relatively flat chested because it relies on pressure all around the ribcage to flatten. Read about what's called corset training and the effects it had on women in Victorian times. It was started young in order to deform the ribs into a smaller shape.

For us that is a double blow since it feminizes us as well. Men have pecs and moobs, some inject to get bigger pecs and others have chests that would go a DD while women are sometimes flat chested. It isn't the marker we make it out to be. Chest to hip ratio is much more gender marker. As is free movement. Our drive for a flat chest has much more to do with it being symbolic of when our bodies changed and became so uncomfortable for us. A small chest makes people look closer at you to see what is wrong with you because it doesn't fit on a male.

If you take pics loosely bound - like the UnderArmour -  and tightly bound and honestly assess how they look. It's eye opening. BTW you can buy the UnderArmour much cheaper on Ebay. Pay attention to the season it's for though because it does make a big difference. Whatever you do don't try to save by buying a Walmart brand. It's a waste of money because they don't work. Only UnderArmour does.

I'm very, very chest dysphoric and I do understand. My insurance is Medicare and Medicaid which would cover surgery if it is done instate but as of now no Dr in my state accepts either for chest surgery.

Please be safe. It really is not ultimately worth the risk of permanent damage or never binding at all again.

Hope you find a solution that works for you as well as being safe.

Almost forgot- binder material is expensive and  cheap binders are not made of appropriate material. They are NOT safe. Expensive binders are expensive because they use material that gives. Underworks for instance does make binders but they also make a wide range of medical products for both genders for when compression is necessary or desirable. The trans products are no more expensive than any other. Our market is so small we actually have few people aiming to make a buck off of us. The Asian products are actually copay and only really meant to be used for a few hours once in a great while. And they run between 2 and 4 sizes small since they are made and designed for Asian women. I've gotten a couple from different companies when I was starting out. Total waste of money.


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