The added weight some women carry in their upper body area because of larger breasts, which could be as much as 16 to 24 extra pounds, could throw off the body’s center of gravity, according to Japanese researchers, and contribute to shoulder and neck discomfort. This type of misalignment could, in turn, affect a large upper back muscle that helps with head, neck, shoulder, and arm movements called the trapezius muscle along with posterior back muscles enough to contribute to spine-related discomfort. Before they consider surgical reduction of their breasts, fusion surgery, or any of the various alternatives to spinal fusion, Los Angeles women who are large-breasted may be able to prevent back pain in the following ways.
This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised to know that 70 to 75 percent of women aren’t wearing a bra that’s the correct size. And a 2008 study found that about 80 percent of the participants—young women with upper back pain—were wearing an incorrectly sized bra. Not wearing a properly sized bra could contribute to an uneven weight distribution that affects your spine. Get a more accurate bra size by:
• Taking your band measurement
• Subtracting that figure from your bust measurement
• Using a chart you can find online to see what cup size corresponds to the final figure you get
If you’re overweight, consider losing extra pounds to relieve back pain that may be related to your breasts. Doing so could result in lighter breasts and a lighter overall frame, which may mean fewer issues with the type of added stress and tension that could contribute to:
• Chronic neck pain
• Upper back pain
• Radiating pain that extends to the arms and shoulders if nerves are affected
Overall, there isn’t extensive evidence showing a direct link between breast size and upper back pain, although it could still be a contributing factor for some women. But you may be able to reduce your odds of experiencing back pain that could be, at least partially, related to your breasts by getting regular exercise. Specifically, it can be helpful to strengthen core muscles around the spine and abdominal area.
Exercise can also be an effective way to prevent or reduce breast-related back pain by increasing your circulation, promoting an overall reduction in stress and anxiety, and restoring your spine’s natural alignment if you explore forms of exercise like yoga that also focus on proper body positioning.
Yoga, in particular, may also be an effective way for larger-breasted women to prevent or manage back pain because of the many muscle groups that can be targeted in a gentle, controlled way. If you’re just getting started with yoga, learn proper form and technique and consider the following poses:
• Downward-facing dog
• Sphinx pose
• Extended triangle
• Cobra pose
Poor posture habits can also make issues related to larger breasts and back pain more noticeable. Try to get yourself into the habit of sitting and standing so your shoulders are back and your head is upright and aligned with your neck and upper spine. Lastly, talk to your doctor or a Los Angeles spine surgeon if you’re experiencing ongoing or worsening back pain that’s not going away even after following the advice discussed here. Call The Spine Institute today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an in-person evaluation.