Getting Creative in Order to Minimize Pain: An Orchard Corset Review

This is my review of the corset that I recently got from Orchard Corset, as well as my thoughts and experience in dealing with the company itself.

Disclaimer: A month or two ago, I contacted Orchard Corset explaining in detail my interest in trying one of their corsets (for the reasons that I write about below), and they very kindly agreed to provide me with one (free of charge), in exchange for my feedback on this particular issues. They also agreed to allow me to document their product and the results—honestly, whether good or bad—for others in similar situations.

So, I want to thank them, as it’s not often that a company is interested in the way in which their product may benefit, or be utilized by, someone with a rare disorder, and I really appreciate the genuine interest they showed. I also appreciate them agreeing to allow me to write an honest review of my experience with it and them on this site.

As one might imagine, adequately dealing with a disorder that potentially impacts literally every inch of the body in one way or another, can become astonishingly expensive. Proper splinting or bracing with connective tissue disorders can go a long way to helping reinforce faulty tissue and prevent further joint damage. The more something subluxates or dislocates, the more unstable the tissue holding the joint in place becomes, and the more likely it will be to do so in the future. Thus, prevention of this stretching of the tissues—the earlier the better—can be key to keeping the joints stable, and minimizing pain.

Medical braces are extremely expensive however, and depending on where you live, they’re often not included in medical insurance plans. Finger ring splints alone can cost $40.00 per finger, with longer lasting materials potentially increasing the price dramatically from there. Like many other people, I’m unable to afford properly fitted medical braces, despite their potential to help prevent—or at least decrease—endless pain and problems down the line. In particular, I could likely see the most immediate and life-improving difference from this with some of my spine and rib issues. Specifically, a brace like this could help compress and reinforce my very easily dislocated ribs (maybe not the very top ones, but the lower ones that cause the most pain and are the most unstable). It could also help support and straighten my spine, which already has numerous painful, degenerative problems—the worst of which are in the lumbar region. It could also help support my spine enough to largely correct my posture, which is usually very hard to do on my own.

With all of that in mind, I’ve spent the past few years looking at corsets as an alternative, hoping that they might act as a more reasonably priced substitute. Unfortunately, because I live in such a small town I’ve had no choice but to look online, and the first few that I tried were either too cheap and very poorly made or just ill-fitting. Eventually the numerous disappointments started to add up, as did the combined price of them, to the point that I wasn’t able to keep trying.

Recently though, I decided to look again, just for the hell of it. The first company that came up was the aforementioned Orchard Corset. From there, I started to really look into them—so that I wouldn’t end up making a mistake again—and everything that I found suggested that this would be the time that everything worked out. When you’re looking for something online, you’re forced to rely entirely on the information that the company or store that you’re dealing with has provided. On top of that, there are a lot of things that can factor into a corset in particular; finding the right one and using it properly isn’t as simple as looking for clothes. It can feel overwhelming at first for a newcomer like me: trying to find the right type and style, taking your measurements properly, making sure you know how to properly look after it, or even put it on—it’s a lot to take in.

I was immediately impressed when I saw that Orchard Corset has a blog with numerous different categories, where they’ve already answered every question you might ever need or want to ask. In addition, for those who do better with visual or verbal direction, they also have a YouTube channel where they’re on episode 89 of corset Q&A, demonstrating everything from how to accurately get your measurements depending on your unique body type, to whether it’s okay to sleep in your corset (and 87 other things!). They also keep a very open dialogue with their customers (a newer experience for me) and seem very dedicated to what they’re doing, which instills a lot of confidence for someone who’s in relatively uncharted waters as far as personal experience with the subject goes.

Having said all of that, here’s my personal—and honest—experience with the corset itself. To start with, they helped me find the corset that seemed the best suited for the purpose that I wanted it for: the Steel-Boned Longline Underbust Satin Corset w/ Hip Ties (CS-426)—(pictured above). I’ve spent the last month trying it out and getting used to it, which has been a lot less difficult than I was imagining it would be. Aside from the very first day (where it felt, understandably, a bit strange and restricting), I’ve found that I can quite easily wear it for hours at a time (most of the time, pain allowing), which surprised me given the severity of my pain issues. It seems to be made very well and does it’s job perfectly. The material it’s made from has also been easy to wear and hasn’t caused my skin any discomfort thus far, despite how tightly it’s pressed against it, though I do prefer to wear it over a thin shirt in any case. 

Overall I’ve been really happy with the results so far. Obviously my underlying pain issues are still going to be there, but it seems to both compress and help stabilize my lower ribs without being painful, as well as adjusting the alignment of my spine to give it a bit of a break when needed. I’m able to get it on by myself with relative ease which was something that I was initially concerned about. Their recommendation that I try a corset with hip ties has also proven to be an added plus, as it’s allowed for that extra little bit of adjustment. 

In conclusion, I can say definitively—and with ease—that I would recommend anyone else dealing with similar issues, who’s unable to afford custom medical braces, try one of these corsets. I would also happily recommend doing so through Orchard Corset specifically, as they’re by far the best corset company I’ve dealt with in regards to customer service, expertise and the quality of their corsets themselves. I’m really happy that this is an option that’s available in cases like mine and that I was finally able to find one that actually made a positive difference.

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month: Facts 29-31


Fact #29: EDS can also be accompanied by blood disorders such as clotting and platelet abnormalities. Skin that is easily bruised occurs in all types of EDS to varying degrees and is essentially caused by the fragility of the body’s capillaries.

Fact #30:  Connective tissue can surprisingly also be found in the bones and blood as well as being the glue that holds the body together inside and out. Collagen alone is found in tendons, ligaments, skin, the cornea, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, the gut, and intervertebral discs. All of this helps explain the endless possible complications and outcomes of EDS.

Fact #31: To learn more about EDS you can visit the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation’s website


Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month: Facts 26-28


Fact #26: It is recommended that people with EDS do not play competitive or contact sports due to the increased risk of injury, as well as the pressure they put on the fragile bones, joints and arteries.

Fact #27: Women with EDS can become pregnant, but should first consult with a cardiologist and high risk obstetrician to make sure that it’s safe. A conversation with a genetic counselor to understand how EDS is inherited is also recommended.

Fact #28: EDS can affect endless parts of the body, but has “variable expression,” so each person is affected differently, even within the same family. While there are features that are frequently seen in many people with the disorder not all people will exhibit these features.

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month – Facts 22-25


Fact #22: Those with EDS (especially the vascular type) are at an increased risk of arterial rupture (such as aortic dissection) which if not promptly diagnosed and treated can lead to death. If you have or suspect EDS and experience sudden pain in your chest, back, shoulders or jaw (often described as severe and ripping in nature) it is extremely important to seek emergency medical attention. Be sure to divulge your diagnosis and insist that the proper imaging tests be performed – such as an MRI, transesophageal echocardiogram or CT (X-rays and EKGs will not be able to rule out the possibility of arterial rupture or dissection). Do not allow yourself to be dismissed before the possibility of those complications is definitively ruled out.

Fact #23: Raising EDS awareness is extremely important in order to help those with the disorder receive early diagnosis and with it proper management and treatment.

Fact #24: EDS carries many of the same and/or similar symptoms of several other genetic connective tissue disorders such as Marfan Syndrome and Loey-Dietz Syndrome. It is not uncommon to have what appears to be a mix of more than one tissue disorder or for your diagnosis to change later in life from one to the other as more symptoms appear and more is learned about these conditions. This is another reason close monitoring is important.

Fact #25: The mascot/symbol of EDS has become a zebra or zebra stripes. The reason behind this is because EDS is what’s considered a “zebra diagnosis” aka a surprise, rare diagnosis. This is based on the saying “when you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra” because the more likely and logical explanation would be that they belong to a horse.

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month – Facts 18-21

(You’ve probably noticed that I started grouping up the EDS facts instead of doing them once a day – this is because many of them make more sense together, when read one after the other.)


Fact #18: Possible dental manifestations of EDS include a high palate, crowded teeth, gum disease and hypermobile tongue. Those with EDS are also more prone to cavities as well as weakness of both the enamel and tooth roots.

Fact #19: EDS can cause chronic debilitating pain throughout the entire body. Whether from chronic, repeated joint subluxations and dislocations or degenerative joint disease, this is often easily the most difficult aspect of daily life with EDS.

Fact #20: EDS can cause several gastrointestinal complications, one of the more serious being gastroparesis meaning: partial paralysis of the stomach causing food to remain in the stomach for longer than normal or preventing the stomach from emptying entirely.

Fact #21: When EDS is suspected it’s important to be thouroughly evaluated by a team of specialists such as an opthalmologist, geneticist, orthopedist and most importantly a cardiologist. It’s also important that those specialists be familiar and knowledgeable of connective tissue disorders such as EDS.

EDS on Mystery Diagnosis

This episode of Mystery Diagnosis featurs a girl with EDS!! It was positively fascinating and eye opening, even for me and I’ve lived and heard some pretty crazy medical stories! It’s heartbreaking how much this young girl had to go through before getting answers. So much of this story sounds so eerily familiar.

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month – Fact #10-13!


Fact #10: In many cases those with EDS do not respond to local anaesthetic properly or at all. This may mean complete failure of the anaesthetic to freeze the intended area, a much lower amount of numbness, or a much shorter duration of effect. (I am one of those people and this can result in some fairly traumatizing medical procedures – especially when doctors won’t take your word for it).

Fact #11: Possible cardiovascular manifestations of EDS include valvular heart disease (such as valvular incompetance) as well as artery dilation (the weakening of the walls of certain arteries, and/or veins, more commonly associated with certain types of EDS). For those at risk an annual echocardiogram is recommended in order to monitor the heart and aorta and to help prevent more serious complications by early intervention if needed.

Fact #12: EDS is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder (apart from types 6 and 7C) meaning if a parent has the disorder they have a 50/50 percent chance of passing it onto each child they have. Not everyone with EDS has inherited the disorder from a parent though. It is estimated that about half of those with EDS received it via what’s known as “spontanues mutation”. This is when the eds causing gene becomes mutated all on it’s own. But, once the gene mutation is in the family from then on it carries the 50/50 chance of being passed on. The gene can only be inherited from a parent, it does not skip generations.

Fact #13: EDS widely varies in severity and the onset of symptoms is often gradual. Oftentimes a diagnosis is only made when after many years of unexplained symptoms there become enough to connect the dots back to the disorder. Because of the limited awareness of the disorder among doctors the road to diagnosis can be agonizingly slow and frustrating. The link between symptoms can often go unrecognized entirely.

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month – Fact #4!


In honor of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome awareness month, here’s EDS fact #4 (info provided by the EDNF): Each type of EDS is a distinct disorder that “runs true” in a family. This means that an individual with Vascular Type EDS will not have a child with Classical Type EDS. 

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month – Fact #3!


In honor of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome awareness month, here’s EDS fact #3 (provided by the EDNF): There are six major types of EDS, each classified according to their manifestations of signs and symptoms. 

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month – Fact #2!


In honor of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome awareness month, here’s EDS fact #2 (provided by the EDNF): The fragile skin and unstable joints found in EDS are the result of faulty collagen. Collagen is a protein, which acts as a “glue” in the body, adding strength and elasticity to connective tissue.