Resolving Breast-related Back Pain

Breast-related Back PainWomen with excessively large breasts often complain of back pain. In fact, several studies indicate that excessively large breasts can cause several clinical aches and pains. Upper back pain is generally the result of strain on the muscles and ligaments, repetitive motions and poor posture. However, for women with very large breasts, the weight of their breasts alone can lead to back pain which turns chronic if not attended to.

The Problem

Experts say that large breasts lead to certain mechanical and postural changes that result in back pain and many associated problems:

  • Large breasts place excessive weight on the chest, and with no adequate support from the surrounding muscles and the rest of the body, leads to severe back pain.
  • The added weight of the breasts and the shift of the center of gravity forward can put additional strain on the muscles of the low back and more force on the upper and lower spine.
  • Women with overly large breasts unconsciously hunch to make their chest look less prominent by rolling the shoulders inward and rounding the rib area. This worsens the mechanical problem and further stresses the back muscles, joints and nerves.
  • Maintaining erect posture is difficult with large breasts as they put great strain on the lumbar spine. This can even lead to spinal deformity.
  • According to one report, research indicates that breast cups size D and above can cause upper back pain by shifting the curvature of the spine. This can have a major impact on posture.
  • Women with heavy breasts also suffer pain caused by bra straps digging into the skin.
  • Women with large breasts also have limited options of sporting activities and some find it difficult to participate in sports.
  • In addition to physical discomfort, large breasts cause emotional distress.

The Solution

Fortunately, there are several steps that women can take to resolve the problem of upper back pain caused by large breasts.

  • Improving posture can better the condition. Follow good posture guidelines while standing, sitting, working, and sleeping.
  • Women who are overweight or obese would benefit by losing weight. When you lose weight, your breasts tend to get smaller.
  • Specially designed bras and sports bras help distribute and support the weight of large breasts and help women with narrow backs.
  • Stretching the latissimus dorsiflexion and pectoralis muscles helps reduce back pain. Strength training exercise focused on the scapular region also helps.
  • Taking pain medication is great as a short-term relief measure.

If these measures fail to provide a permanent solution, breast reduction surgery could be the answer. Research published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons substantiates this. Before they had breast reduction surgery, half of 179 women with breasts size DD or larger had almost persistent upper back pain or pain in their necks, shoulders, or lower backs. This proportion of women with these symptoms fell to 10 percent after the surgery.

If you have breast-related back pain, consult a physician who specializes in low back problems. Your doctor, in consultation with a plastic surgeon, can determine if surgery is necessary to resolve your problem.