If you suffer from neck or back pain, you may be surprised to learn that your breasts may be the cause.
The weight of large breasts weakens your posture causing you to slouch which in turn causes muscle strain and other problems.
Here’s more detail on why it happens and what you can do about it.
How does a large bust cause back pain?
In order to explain this, we’ll need to go into a bit of anatomy. The upper part of your spine acts as an anchor for your rib cage, and the muscles and ligaments in your back help to support an upright posture.
According to Everyday Health, the weight of large breasts alone is enough to cause chronic back pain that can last for months or even years.
If the muscles in the back aren’t strong enough to support the constant pull forward it can cause poor posture and in severe cases even spinal deformity.
Large breasts can weigh a few pounds, and this weight causes the body to compensate and stretch in ways that it wouldn’t normally.
The pull on the shoulders in a forward motion intensifies the stress on your upper back muscles. Having the shoulders roll forward causes compression on the nerves in an area called the thoracic outlet.
This area is located between the ribs and shoulder blades. Excess compression on the nerves here causes pain in the upper back, neck, and shoulder area. Studies show that women with a D cup or larger are the most susceptible to having their breasts cause back pain.
Other Side Effects of Heavy Breasts
A lesser-known side effect of having heavy breasts is the effect that the extra weight has on your rib cage. If you’ve ever felt like you’re having trouble breathing while exercising it’s not your imagination.
The weight of large breasts actually reduces the amount that your lungs can expand, limiting your oxygen intake. You may not notice a difference while you're sedentary.
How much do breasts weigh?
Breasts are heavier than most people realize.
Here’s the average weight per breast:
- A Cup= ½ lb
- B Cup= 1 lb
- C Cup= 1 ½ lbs
- D Cup= 2 lbs
- DD Cup= 2 ½ lbs
- F Cup= 3 lbs
- G Cup= 3 ½ lbs
What are some solutions for women who are experiencing pain because of their breasts?
There are a number of solutions to alleviate back pain caused by heavy breasts.
- Get the right bra. This is something that you can do that will provide you with immediate results. It’s estimated that around 80-percent of women wear the wrong size. To help alleviate the pain your bra should fit well and be supportive. Fit should be as precise as possible in the band area as this is what gives a majority of the total support. If your band is too loose it allows your breasts to pull your shoulders forward and curve your spine in an unnatural way.
- Work on those back muscles. Strengthening the muscles in your upper and lower back will allow them to hold more weight without being pulled out of alignment. You can add free weights to your fitness routine or you can incorporate bodyweight exercises to help strengthen your back. Push-ups are great for your entire upper body. Yoga is also wonderful for strengthening the back without the impact.
- Strengthen your shoulders. If your breasts pull your shoulders forward, exercising those muscles will help them to resist the pull and keep you from slouching. This will help ease muscle and nerve pain.
- Don’t forget about your abs! Working on your core strength is so important when it comes to eliminating back pain from heavy breasts. Your core muscles are responsible for stabilizing your entire torso including your chest and upper back. Core strength also helps you to maintain proper posture while sitting and standing. This doesn’t mean that you need to do hundreds of sit-ups or crunches. Work on exercises that fire up your stabilizing muscles and challenge your balance. Planks, woodchops, and the hollow body hold are all low impact but add serious strength to your core. Check out YouTube for videos on how to perform these moves.
What kind of bra is best for eliminating back pain?
The first step in choosing the right bra is making sure that you’re wearing the right size. Improper fit is just as harmful as not having enough support so starting with the correct size is crucial. For more, check out our Bra Fit Guide.
If you have heavy breasts it’s also vital that you have a bra that will support you all day without being uncomfortable. Look for one with wide padded straps that won’t dig into your shoulders. Here are a couple of our favorites.
- The 360 Support Front-Close Posture-Back Bra. It has crisscrossed Lycra panels for extra back support, cushioned straps, contoured cups and gives full coverage.
- The Posture Please All-Around Support Bra is another great choice. It features a secure front hook-and-eye closure, and moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and comfortable.
As you can see, having heavy breasts are not for the faint of heart! If you are experiencing back, neck, or shoulder pain first check to see if you are wearing the right bra.
Choose one that is supportive enough and that will help with your posture. Consider adding upper body and core strengthening exercises to your daily routine. If your pain is severe please speak with your doctor.