MSN.com | 5 Physical Therapist-Approved Tips If Your Large Chest Causes Back Pain
- Written by Heather Jeffcoat, DPT
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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.