Pain While Applying Vacuum Bell [2023]: How to Prevent, Tips & More

Written by Mihail Veleski

Last updated on

Evidence-Based This post has medical citations

One of the many reasons vacuum bell can be an excellent solution for patients with pectus excavatum is that there aren’t any serious side effects, and the therapy is not painful.

Of course, the process of continually wearing a vacuum bell is not comfortable either. However, like surgery, which is a complex process, the vacuum bell is a solution with many advantages.


A study that monitored all the side effects while wearing a vacuum bell says that it is completely harmless and that pain may occur only in some patients when they wear this device for the first time. However, that pain is not severe and threatening.

According to the study, patients' viewpoints of vacuum bell therapy vary, and moderate side effects strongly depend on the patient's age.

Those results were usually in people who underwent surgery. Wearing a vacuum bell is a safe option for any patient.

However, most patients reported mild pain in the sternum during the first five applications and uncomfortable pressure within the chest.

Also, you need to know that it is a localized pain only around the vacuum bell. There is no evidence of foreign chest pain.

Even if you feel any pain, the pain will pass once you take off the device.

Mild side effects of the vacuum bell

The vacuum bell usually causes no difficulties other than a bit of redness or bruising where it attaches to the chest area, which resolves itself within a few hours.

You may lower the pressure of suction to prevent that redness or bruise if that is a problem or if you have to show your chest area, especially during summer.

A medical article says wearing the vacuum bell can rarely cause back pain or a burning or prickly sensation in the arms.

They suggest removing the vacuum bell and trying again in a few hours at a lower pressure if that occurs.

If you are a parent whose child wears a vacuum bell and notices redness or bruising, do not worry; you need to shorten the time the device is worn or reduce the pressure until those mild side effects go away.

My experience wearing a vacuum bell

So far, I have not had any pain while using the vacuum bell.

But every time I apply it, I get an unpleasant feeling that increases with each pump, until the needed vacuum bell pressure is set.

Yet, you must know that the feeling is tolerable during the wearing period.

Of course, I practice taking breaks between wears and try to tailor the wear to my needs. You can do this whenever you feel the sensation is too much for you. You can take it off for some time.

Tips for the starters

When you read about this uncomfortable feeling that occurs when using the vacuum bell and it seems unclear to you, you should understand that it is merely due to the vacuum pushing the sternum out.

It is not about any condition that would aggravate your problem. Lifting the chest creates a weird sensation, even an instant feeling of easier breathing. At least, that is how it is in my case.

However, keep in mind that this is a subjective experience. What we all have in common is that it is a safe device for any pectus excavatum patient.

Those sensations are entirely normal, and we can all endure them.

Of course, if this is your first time using this device, start with a shorter wearing time to see how your body reacts, and then gradually increase day by day.

Also, even though the vacuum bell is entirely safe if you feel any side effects or occurrences not listed elsewhere, remove the device immediately and consult a physician.

Article by:

Mihail Veleski

I am Mihail Veleski, the person behind this website. Established in 2015, Pectus Excavatum Fix has helped thousands of people improve their sunken chest deformity, both physically and mentally. I pride myself on ensuring the information and methods I share are tried by me and backed by research. I improved my concave chest and rib flare deformities non-surgically.

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