An image of an acupuncturist giving a transgender patient therapeutic massage for chest pain from binding.
Prism Blog, Self Care for Trans Health, Surgical Recovery & Scars

Six Steps to More Comfortable Binding: Part Six

Guest blog from Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic

According to a Health Impact Study published in the Culture, Health, and Sexuality Journal, 97% of people who wear a binder experience uncomfortable side effects such as neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and trouble breathing.

Other than limiting the time you spend in a binder, changing/washing your binder often, and avoiding unsafe compression methods such as duct tape and ACE bandages, there are several steps you an take to decrease the discomforts associated with binding.

This collection of tips comes both from my personal experience wearing binders as well as my clinical experience in treating the musculoskeletal complaints that my clients experience from binding.

6. Power up your core

  • I’m not talking about getting six-pack abs or doing endless crunches.
    • When your deep postural core muscles are activated, your neck, back, and shoulders have to work less hard to hold you up.
    • Two of the best and most accessible exercises are core bracing and the dead bug.
  • Core bracing:
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.
    • Find a posterior pelvic tilt (tuck your tailbone under to flatten your low back, versus arching your low back and having a big space between the floor and your low back).
    • It should feel like your pubic bone and your ribs are reaching for each other, even though your head and torso are relaxed on the ground.
    • Pull your belly button in towards your spine as if it could root ten feet down into the earth underneath you.
    • Now exhale fully while emphasizing this bracing.
    • Inhale and relax everything, allowing your belly to expand fully.
    • Exhale as you find the bracing again.
    • Repeat several times until you are comfortable finding this bracing.
    • This is the foundational movement to the dead bug.
  • Dead bug:
  • Lie on your back and bring your knees up to tabletop position (knees bent to 90, and shins parallel to floor).
  • Find a posterior pelvic tilt (tuck your tailbone under to flatten your low back, versus arching your low back and having a big space between the floor and your low back).
  • Slowly extend your right arm and left leg, and then return to the starting point.
  • Repeat on the other side for a total of 2×20.
  • If this movement is painful or challenging for you and you feel your low back pop up off the mat:
    • Return to a strong posterior pelvic tilt
    • Then shorten the lever arm of this movement by tapping your heel down to the floor instead of extending your whole leg out.

Check out previous blog posts for tips #1-5!

The stretches, self-muscle work, and strengthening exercises are from my full core and glutes strengthening program available for purchase at And if you are interested in exploring muscle-work or joint adjusting to alleviate your muscle and joint pain, you can find out more about my practice at

In happiness and health,

Dr. Sandy Baird, DC

Oakland Chiropractor Sandy Baird


I’m Dr. Sandy Baird, DC. I’ve been providing bodywork in the Bay Area for over ten years now. First as a massage therapist, and now as a doctor who combines soft tissue work with joint adjusting. I feel that it’s important for queers to have a safe space to have their bodies worked on. Many of us already shoulder a lot of extra stress and tension from being constantly judged, worrying about what bathrooms we should use, and having to actively resist and fight back for our rights as our new state of “normal”.

Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study:


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

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