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large chest causes back pain
© Photo: Getty/ JLco - Julia Amaral large breasts cause back pain
MSN journalist Hannah Schneider tackled the topic of what you can do if your large chest causes back pain, and she reached out to me for my opinion as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Here is a brief synopsis of the article, along with a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT

If Your Large Chest Causes Back Pain, Here Are Some Tips

Physical therapist-approved, including from our own Heather Jeffcoat

For most women with large breasts, the relationship between cup size, back pain, and posture problems is unsurprising. You might often have neck and shoulder aches to prove it. However, it might be validating to know you’re not alone (because you’re totally not).

A 2020 study published in Women’s Health London surveyed 269 women with varying bra band and cup sizes. They found that participants were more likely to report breast-related back pain with every increased cup size. This means that as they climbed from A to B to DD and beyond, respondents were 13 percent more likely to experience pain.

This is because larger breasts can shift your center of gravity forward, leading to a more slouched posture and placing more stress on the neck and upper back, Jessica McManus, PT, FAAOMPT, physical therapist, functional medicine health coach, owner of Full Circle Wellness PT says.

This then has a domino effect on the back muscles. These rhomboid and middle trapezius muscles stabilize the shoulder blades against the thoracic spine. “With the increased strain on the middle of the spine (thoracic), increased tension travels up to the neck (cervical spine), causing tight and fatigued upper trapezius muscles,” says Kristen Gasnick, PT, DPT, board-certified doctor of physical therapy at Holy Name Medical Center.

All of this helps explain why your large breasts cause back pain and why you might experience aches and pains in your shoulders, neck, and even the lower back. To ease these pain symptoms, there are a handful of strategies to incorporate into your daily life.

1. Make sure you’re wearing the right bra for your body

Wearing the right bra is super important when it comes to reducing breast-related back pain, according to McManus. Some general tips include getting measured and fitted for your size by a professional once every year or every two years, as breast size frequently changes. Additionally, you shouldn’t have red marks on your skin from your straps digging in your shoulders, which means that the bra is too tight and pulls down on your breasts, McManus adds.

You should be able to easily fit a finger under the straps and they shouldn’t slip off your shoulders, says Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, doctor of physical therapy and pelvic floor therapist and founder of Femina PT. Bands on your bras should have at least three hooks in the back, as this is a huge factor in their level of support, she adds.

If your large breasts cause back pain during exercise, the most important thing you should do is have a supportive sports bra, Gasnick says. She recommends having one that has enough compression to support the breasts' weight and two separate adjustable straps that allow the bra to elevate the breasts without pulling down on the upper back and neck too much. Racerback bras concentrate a lot of weight along the spine and on the inner shoulders near the neck, which causes more pain.

Depending on the type of workout you are doing, it is also important for a sports bra to hold your breast-high and close to your body, according to McManus. This becomes more important for high-impact workouts like running than something like yoga.

For more tips if your large chest causes back pain, continue to the full article at MSN here.

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"I had a severe tear during childbirth that was not stitched together correctly and therefore healed poorly. Even after having a surgery a year later to remove the scar tissue, I was still having pain, and no one could explain why -- there was no overt 'reason' to explain the pain. I had tried other 'specialists' and even saw another physical therapist who had me do hip / leg stretches -- what a joke! I was about to give up and just 'live with it' until thankfully I kept searching online and found Heather.

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Testimonial by M.N., age 28

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

I was diagnosed with vaginismus 4 years ago. I never heard of such medical condition until after I got married. At first my husband and I didn't know what to do, we didn't know what the issues were or how to overcome it. Being born and raised in Armenia and being Christian I wasn't that open about talking to sex with others and so it wasn't easy to seek help. But eventually I went to an Ob-Gyn and luckily she knew about the medical condition (not many doctors know). She referred me to a physical therapist and I couldn't believe it and thought it's something I can handle myself. I ordered a kit from vaginismus.com and started practicing with dilators. There was some small progress but wasn't much helpful.

Read more: Testimonial by M.N., age 28

Testimonial by Julie T.

Femina PT (née Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy) has honestly changed my life. Before receiving treatment at Femina, I was going doctor to doctor to try and find the answer to my pelvic pain. It has taken me YEARS to find someone that can help fix this. It wasn't until my gynecologist recommended your clinic that I finally felt relief. My pelvic pain is almost gone, and granted I still have a lot more to work on with Laureen (my PT), my original problem is nearly cured. I am so grateful to her.

What is even better is she gave me practical exercises to do at home that were not tedious and provided instant (and lasting) relief. Although I mainly work with Laureen, my interaction with the owner (Heather) has been great. She is very generous, kind, and committed to her business.

It hurts to know there are women out there suffering who will never know or have the opportunity to work with women like Laureen and Heather because this issue is hardly talked about and this field is so rare. I hope more doctors and physical therapists see the value in this work and can relieve more woman of their pain.

-- Julie T., 12/4/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by R.H.

No one could tell me why I was having pain during sex--sharp pain, not just uncomfortable, pain. I was referred to Heather Jeffcoat after researching several different options. I had seen a specialist who told me physical therapy would not help and my only option was surgery. I really didn't want to go that route, so when we got a referral, I decided to try it--it can't hurt, I thought. I am so glad I did. She diagnosed the problem right away, which was a relief in itself.

To know why I was having pain eased my mind immensely. And to hear that she could fix it without surgery was another relief. She said she could fix the problem in 6 weeks. I think it was actually 4 for me. She was very methodical, and treated me as an intelligent human being capable of participating in my own recovery. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone. She did not try to prolong my session numbers, she worked hard to accommodate my schedule (and the fact that I had to bring a baby to sessions), and she was completely honest the entire time. It is so hard to find someone with these characteristics, much less a professional who is so good at what she does. She has my highest respect.

-- R.H.

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My husband and I were married for 5 years and unable to have intercourse, but I never knew why. After numerous awful experiences at doctor’s offices (where many doctors told me I “just needed to relax”), a surgery that didn’t fix the problem, and a year of owning dilators that didn’t get me anywhere, someone finally referred me to Heather for Physical Therapy. I finally had answers and information from someone who knew exactly what I was dealing with!

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Testimonial by A.W., age 32

I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

-- A.W., age 32
(completed Post-partum Renewal Program using the InTone biofeedback/stim unit)

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