Today's post has been written by Bras I Hate where she reviews bras and gives practical bra fitting advice. Her blog the place you need to go if you are looking for candid, no-nonsense bra reviews. She tweets at @brasihate Go check her out!
For a lot of people, finding the proper bra size is enough to prevent back pain. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone. Some women will still experience those discouraging backaches no matter how well-fitted their bra is. There are many causes for back pain, but having heavier boobs, or posture that is bad because of them, can really exacerbate these issues.
Breast reductions are often touted as the only solution for breast-related back issues, and for some women, they are the best choice. But if you DON’T want to have a reduction, there are a few other tricks you can use to ease your pain.
More hooks!Finding a bra with 3 hooks instead of 2 can sometimes be enough to ease the tension. It’s even better if you can scrounge up a longline bra with 4 or 5 hooks in your size. You can even try wearing a basque or body, where the band literally covers your whole torso. Since the band provides most of the support, a greater number of hooks means that support is spread out over a greater area, so you won’t have as many pressure points.
Can you go down a band size?If you’ve been professionally fitted at a proper store, they probably put you into the band size that matches your measurement around your underbust. This is usually the right size, but if you have back pain, going down a band size (and up a cup size) can help — even if it is a bit of a squeeze at first. This is especially useful for women whose underbust measures above 75(34), because bands stretch proportionally more as the band size goes up. Even if you’re wearing a 65(30), though, going down to a 60(28) (and up a cup size) might be the change you need. If the smaller band size feels uncomfortable, wear it with an extender (which is available cheaply on eBay or in many fabric stores) — that way, you can just remove the extender when the bra has stretched a bit, and you’ll have a properly firm band for a longer time.
Do you wear a bra at night?I personally find that, because of the size of my boobs, it’s not very comfortable to sleep braless. Whenever I do, my back aches the next day. Sleeping in a bra can help hold everything in place and supported during the night. You can try a wireless soft bra, a cami for light support, or even an underwired bra. I wear an underwired bra at night and have never had any problems; however, I do make sure to wear a looser band or an old, stretched-out bra to sleep in. Since you’re not standing, the band doesn’t need to be too tight to keep you supported.
Where are you holding your head?Bad posture can contribute to back pain, and if you have heavy boobs, you may have gotten used to a slumped-over posture without realizing it. But just pulling your shoulders back isn’t enough to help your back feel better. The most important thing is actually the position of your head. The head is a pretty heavy thing to carry, and when it’s too far forward, you end up carrying a lot of its weight on your shoulders. These articles are useful: Breasts Causing Upper Back Pain is a Myth and Fixing Upper Back and Neck Pain. I think the author of the articles is a bit too dismissive of the fact that big boobs can contribute to back pain, but the fix she suggests is still very helpful. All you have to do is make sure you are holding your head far back enough — straight over your neck. It can feel very unnatural at first. Try standing against a flat wall and see if the back of your head touches the wall--it should. Practice holding your head there all the time. It feels weird at first, but this is actually the most comfortable place to hold your head. You may be amazed at the difference you experience — it practically eliminated my pain.
If these tips don’t help you, I think the next step should be to see a doctor who won’t jump to conclusions. Back pain isn’t always related to having a bigger chest, but it can be, and a good doctor will look over all the possibilities with you. If there’s no other solution, having a reduction may be the best choice. But for those who don’t want to have one, trying these tips might help make life less painful.