Never attempt to diagnose a condition!   Only a qualified Doctor or Surgeon can determine the cause or prescribe a remedy.   When a person complains of backache, for example, do not attempt to diagnose the cause, but urge the client to see her Doctor.   Offer to accompany her to her doctor so that you may consult him about proper support for her back.

Angina Pectoris

Angina pectoris is a form of heart disease marked by suddenly recurring thoracic pain, with suffocation and fainting. It is most often due to lack of oxygen in the heart muscle and is brought on by unusual effort or excitement.

Angina pectoris when not involved with high blood pressure or chronic lung diseases is greatly relieved by the use of a Spencer Support designed with an Abdominal Spring Pad. The action of the Abdominal Spring Pad in the support helps to keep excess blood from pooling in the veins of the lower abdomen. Thus, circulation is aided by a quicker return of the blood from the lower abdomen to the right side of the heart.

The posture improvement aids breathing so a greater amount of oxygen is supplied to the blood and to heart muscle.


Arthritis is inflammation of a joint. There are various types of chronic arthritis. Extreme pain usually accompanies the movement of an arthritic joint. Doctors frequently prescribe an Individually Designed Spencer Support for arthritic patients. The support improves posture and limits or stops movement of the affected joints. This contributes greatly to the patient's relief from pain. It is the opinion of many orthopædists that arthritis is aggravated by such improper body functions as indigestion, constipation, shallow breathing or poor circulation. As these symptoms are frequently associated with imperfect posture, the improvement in body mechanics induced by the wearing of a Spencer Support aids in the treatment of arthritic patients.

(Operation for Gall Bladder)

The incision for a gall bladder operation is usually vertical, and is found on the right side of the upper abdomen about 2 inches from the centre-front. This scar is sometimes as long as 8 inches and usually part of it extends above the waistline.


This is an operation where an artificial opening has been made through the abdominal wall into the colon to permit the discharge of body waste. (See information on proper support, given on pages 115 and 116 under "Spencer Regular Belt.")

Hernia or "Rupture"

Hernia-sometimes called " rupture "-is a protrusion of a part of the intestines or other internal organ or tissue through an abnormal opening. There are five general types of hernia, named according to their location, three of which are shown in Figure 146—umbilical, inguinal and femoral.

Fig. 146
  1. Umbilical Hernia.   This is a hernia which occurs at the umbilicus or navel.
  2. Ventral Hernia.   Sometimes, as a result of an operative incision or some other abnormal condition which weakens the abdominal wall, a hernia will force its way through what would otherwise be a solid muscular wall. This is called a ventral hernia. When located in the upper middle portion of the abdomen, it is called an epigastric hernia.
  3. Inguinal Hernia.   Inguinal canals extend from the inside of the abdominal cavity through the layers of the muscular wall to the outside, beneath the layer of skin and fat in the upper part of the groin area. The inward and outward ends of the canals are known as the "inner ring" and "outer ring." Hernias which occur in the groin area at the inguinal canals are called inguinal hernias.
  4. Scrotal Hernia.   On a man, when an inguinal hernia descends into the scrotum, it is called a scrotal hernia.
  5. Femoral Hernia.   The femoral canals are located just below the inguinal canals. Hernias which occur in the groin area at the femoral canals are called femoral hernias.


Inoperable or When Operation is to be Delayed.

Each Spencer Support made to control or prevent hernia is designed to the patient's specific needs. Hence the support fits perfectly, is completely comfortable, will not ride up on the figure, provides freedom of action, and improves posture.

Spencer Supports for hernia are made of firm, non-stretchable fabric with no hard rubber or heavy parts. They are light, flexible, easily laundered, and quickly adjustable. These supports are so anchored to the figure that the patient feels a comfortable sense of security.   He has no fear that the support will move out of place or give way under sudden strain.

Every Spencer Individually Designed Support will keep its shape until it is worn out. A hernia support that stretches or otherwise loses its shape becomes worthless as a support.

In addition to controlling hernia effectively, a Spencer Individually Designed Support will relieve fatigue and promote improvement in the general health and appearance by means of general abdominal support and better posture.

Control for Umbilical or Ventral Hernias

As a control for reducible umbilical or ventral hernias, the Spencer Abdominal Belt, Spencer Abdominal Supporting Corset, or Spencerflex (for men only) is recommended. All of these supports are designed to give restful comfort and support to the back and place the strain of supporting the abdomen directly on the pelvis. The non-elastic abdominal supporting section is designed to serve as a substitute abdominal wall. This section lifts the organs in the abdominal cavity and restores them to a more nearly normal position. It will not slip or stretch, even under unusual strain such as might be caused by an accident or fall.   It controls the hernia so effectively that in most cases pads are unnecessary.

Control for Inguinal, Femoral and Scrotal Hernias (Controllable)

For these hernias that are controllable, an Individually Designed Spencer Abdominal Belt with Hernia Tabs and Pads gives excellent results.

A hernia pad, which is firm and will not irritate, can be designed according to the doctor's prescription to help control the hernia by covering the opening in the abdominal wall.

Caution.   There are inguinal, femoral and scrotal hernias which are not controllable by any known mechanical support. Such hernias may be large or of long standing ; the opening may have become enlarged by pressure of a truss or other device which employed the use of hard pads ; or the surrounding tissues and muscles may be so soft that it is practically impossible to maintain a steady pressure at the point necessary to control the hernia.

Therefore, extreme caution should be exercised in making claim for control of these hernias. This is especially true of the scrotal hernia.

We recommend that no attempt be made to furnish a support for scrotal hernia.   In fact, we strongly advise against it.

It may be dangerous because it is often difficult or impossible to maintain control of a scrotal hernia.   This should be attempted only under a doctor's instructions.

As a Protective Measure.   Following an abdominal operation when it is necessary for women or men to return to work sooner than the doctor desires, a Spencer Individually Designed Support provides a wise precautionary measure against hernia resulting from strain, accident or excess fatigue.

Figure 146, page 175, illustrates the approximate location of the so-called natural outlets for hernia. It does not show the ventral type of hernia.

For information on hernia pads, see page 192.

Intestinal Stasis

This is the scientific name for sluggishness and clogging of the intestines (constipation) often associated with ptosis of the viscera. The weakened abdominal muscles permit a sagging of the intestines, which are thus prevented from functioning normally.   Chronic indigestion is often associated with chronic intestinal stasis.

Lumbosacral Strain and Sprain

Lumbosacral strain is a weakness or strain of the joints of the lower lumbar vertebrae and the sacrum. See information on Spencer Lumbosacral Support, page 110, Spencer Lumbosacral Support for Men, page 153, Spencer Spinal Support for Women or Men, page 230 (with Outside Pelvic Binder, page 242), also Three-Tab Spencerflex, page 146.

(Breast Amputation)

Breast conditions often necessitate the removal of one or both breasts. In such cases Spencer Breast Supports with Breast Forms are individually designed to support the remaining breast and to give client a normal appearance (see pages 193, 194).

(Movable Kidney)

Movable kidney is a condition found most often in thin people. The kidney becomes misplaced and moves forward and downward. In such cases the kidney may move as much as three inches (see information on Abdominal Spring Pad, Ptosis Pad, and Kidney Pad—pages 185, 187, 189).


Pneumoperitoneum is treatment of certain tuberculous patients by the injection of air into the abdominal cavity with a hollow needle. Sufficient air is injected to create an upward pressure against the diaphragm to limit its motion.

By adjustment of a suitable abdominal support a constant and correct pressure within the abdominal cavity is maintained, stretching of the abdominal muscles is prevented, and discomfort is relieved.

Postural Hypotension

Postural hypotension is low blood pressure which is especially serious following operation for high blood pressure. Clinical tests made by a group of famous doctors proved that a Spencer Support with the Abdominal Spring Pad effectively controls this condition.

Hypotension (in a lesser degree) is frequently associated with enteroptosis, chronic fatigue, anæmia, and many other health conditions. As an aid in the treatment of hypotension, we recommend the use of the Abdominal Spring Pad with suitable Spencer Support.   The Abdominal Spring Pad uplifts the viscera to a more normal functioning position, and its spring action aids circulation by helping to prevent excess blood from pooling in the veins of the lower abdomen.

Postural Syndrome

Postural syndrome is a combination of symptoms resulting wholly or in part from obesity and incorrect posture, frequently associated with certain forms of heart trouble. There may be faintness, shortness of breath, pain, excess fatigue, weakness, poor circulation or other disorders.

The postural syndrome patient is usually a man, and frequently one with an abnormally heavy abdomen which pulls on the muscles of the diaphragm. Refer to page 139 under "Spencer Belt for Men" for description of Spencer Support recommended for this condition.

Pott's Disease

Pott's disease is a disease of the spine, usually of tuberculous origin. It is marked by stiffness of the vertebral column, pain from motion, tenderness to pressure, and prominence of certain of the vertebrae.


Ptosis means an abnormal dropping down or sagging of an organ or part. The term is generally used in connection with the sagging of the breasts and with the sagging of some of the abdominal organs, notably the stomach, large intestine, and small intestine.

The word "ptotic" is the adjective of the noun "ptosis"— for example: a client with ptosis has a ptotic condition.


Ptosis is often caused by relaxation, stretching, or loss of tone of the abdominal muscles.

It may be that only one organ, such as the stomach or colon, will be affected, but usually if one organ sags, other organs of the abdomen are similarly affected.   See Figures 147 and 148.

Fig. 147 Fig. 148
  X-ray at left shows typical case of ptosis of the stomach (gastroptosis) without support. At right, X-ray of same patient showing position of stomach after her Spencer Support had been adjusted. (X-rays made under official medical regulations.)

Many ailments, the causes of which appear to be obscure, may be associated with ptosis of one or more of the organs in the abdominal cavity. When these organs are subjected to undue strain or placed in an unnatural position, they cannot function properly, and the process provided by nature for converting food into energy is seriously handicapped.

Ptosis is usually associated with incorrect posture. Ptotic patients are frequently abnormally thin.

Supports are usually prescribed by doctors as an aid to treatment of ptosis. For thin patients the use of an Abdominal Spring Pad or Ptosis Pad (see page 185) is required for best results.


Ptosis, or sagging, of the breasts is a common condition often associated with heavy breasts that have lost tissue tone.

The weight of heavy, low-hanging breasts has a tendency to pull the upper part of the body forward, placing strain on the muscles of the neck and upper back, and causing a crouched, fatigue-type posture.   The weight of the breasts often drags on the skin and supporting tissues and causes unsightly hollows in the neck or upper chest.

The general attitude and psychological outlook toward life of one who has ptotic breasts is often a reflection of this poor posture and unattractive appearance.

Incorrectly designed breast supports that constrict breasts or force them downward interfere with proper circulation of lymph and blood and may cause discomfort, irritation or injury.

Many cases of mastitis are associated with ptosed breasts.   One of the most important aids in obtaining relief is the use of the proper breast support.

A more nearly normal distribution of fat through the upper part of the breasts and neck occurs when the breasts are properly supported.

For ptosed breasts, Spencer Breast Supports provide comfort and uplift without compression and without placing undue strain on the shoulders. They encourage erect posture and permit normal circulation.

By holding the breasts continuously in a natural position Spencer Breast Supports aid nature to restore tone to the weakened tissues.

Spinal Conditions

It is necessary for you to understand the meaning of the following conditions explained in the Glossary. These are all conditions of or affecting, the spine : sacroiliac strain, lumbosacral strain, kyphosis, scoliosis, protruding Intervertebral disc, osteoporosis, spondylarthritis, spondylolisthesis.

To get satisfactory results from supports ordered for treatment of these conditions you should be familiar with all the information pertaining to orthopædic supports and accessories in Chapter 17.

Strained Sacroiliac Joint or Joints

The sacrum is the foundation of the backbone and carries the entire weight of the trunk of the body, just as the foundation of a building carries the weight of everything above it.

As the sacrum is wedge-shaped, the weight of the body would tend to force it down between the two hipbones were it not for the strong sacroiliac ligaments which join the sacrum to the hipbones on each side. Under normal conditions these ligaments bind the hipbones to the sacrum so tightly that there is absolutely no movement between the two. Through illness, accident, malnutrition, or other causes, these ligaments become stretched or weakened, producing what is termed a strained sacroiliac joint. This may cause severe pain which may be felt in various parts of the back, not necessarily at only the sacrum.

See information on Spencer Sacroiliac Corset, page 106, and Spencer Sacroiliac Support for Men, page 152.

Tuberculous Cases

The physical strain of hard coughing frequently is a very heavy drain on the vitality of tuberculous cases. Much of the strain is relieved when the abdomen is properly supported.

Varicose Veins

In some cases of ptosis there is pressure of organs in the abdominal cavity on blood vessels in the groin. This impairs the circulation of blood and may cause varicose veins. When the abdomen is supported, impairment to circulation is relieved. Often, an improvement of the varicose condition results.

The Spencer Abdominal Supporting Belt or Spencer Abdominal Supporting Corset is recommended to provide the needed abdominal support.