The human spine is strong enough to effectively support many different sources of weight, including the type of extra weight common in women with larger chest areas. While it’s not uncommon for women to blame their back pain on their breasts, it’s usually related posture issues that contribute to the discomfort. Over time, curvature of the spine may be affected enough to cause problems with discs, joints, and back-supporting muscles. If your chest size is a contributing factor to your back pain, one solution is to consider wearing a posture bra.
A posture bra is a garment that is specially designed to keep breasts in place during regular movements and provide support during physical activities like jogging and running. It differs from a sports bra in that it’s also designed to encourage proper posture. When worn correctly, a posture bra can:
• Minimize muscle tension around the spine
• Ease stress on the neck and shoulders
• Discourage forward hunching or leaning
A posture bra has support bands around the chest along with racerback straps (a T-shaped back behind the shoulder blades), separate cups, and a front closure. All of these features work together to support most of the weight of the breasts, which takes this weight off the middle and upper back and cervical spine. By taking the weight of the breasts off of the spine, posture bras make it easier for women to naturally stand up straighter, which can restore the spine’s natural alignment enough to relieve back pain.
Posture bras aren’t exclusively for women with larger chests who are experiencing back pain. This type of supportive garment may also benefit women with persistent back pain related to poor posture. Posture bras may also benefit women who routinely exercise or participate in various physical activities. Women who sit or stand for long periods may also see a reduction in back pain when wearing a posture bra.
Finding the right fit is the key to enjoying a posture bra’s intended benefits. Breasts should be covered completely by the cups and the supportive material linking the cups. Comfort doesn’t have to be sacrificed when wearing a posture bra. There are models made with breathable fabric that can prevent skin irritation and excess sweat. Four-hook designs tend to provide more support, although some wearers prefer the three-hook versions. When worn correctly, a posture bra should:
• Keep the breasts halfway between the elbows and shoulders
• Provide support directly from the bra itself, not the straps
• Minimize movement of the breasts in all types of situations (e.g. when walking, jogging, exercising, playing sports, or running)
Note: A sports bra may still be necessary for more strenuous activities or exercises.
If you need some extra help with your posture, the slow, controlled movements of yoga and Pilates may restore your spine’s alignment. Also, be aware of other things that could be affecting your posture enough to cause back pain, such as wearing excessively high heels, sitting for long periods, and your sleep positions. Talk to your doctor or a Beverly Hills spine surgeon if posture or sports bras aren’t easing your spine-related pain.
If you have still not found relief from your back pain, you may want to consider minimally invasive back surgery. Beverly Hills residents can trust Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of experienced professionals to effectively treat their back pain. To schedule an in-person evaluation, give us a call at 310-828-7757 today.