By REBECCA GILLAM AND EMMA PRITCHARD
We're all about being happy with the body you've got, but, no doubt, if you're blessed with bigger breasts, you'll likely know that they can cause you back pain.
Research has revealed that the larger a cup size a woman has, the more likely she is to report symptoms of severe shoulder and neck issues. Then, there's exercise. It can often be more of a challenge to find a fully supportive sports bras for large breasts – potentially exacerbating the issue.
Why do big breasts cause back pain?
'Big breasts can have a massive impact on your body and the way you live,' explains Anisha Joshi, osteopath at The Woodside Clinic.
'To put it into perspective, D-cup breasts weigh between 16-24 pounds – that’s an additional two stone you’ll be carrying around on your rib cage and upper back.'
So, it’s essentially a 24/7 workout.
'It isn't easy to hold up large breasts all day,' continues Joshi. 'So, you’ll be more likely to slump – at your desk, behind the steering wheel, in front of the TV or even when queuing at the supermarket. When you slump forward this encourages your head into extension, which is why so many women with large breasts also report suffering from neck pain.'
Where is back pain due to large breasts?
Breasts also change your centre of gravity so, according to the same study, large or heavy breasts may lead to continuous tension on the middle and lower fibres of the trapezius muscle, and on associated muscle groups. This means, although your breasts are on your front of your body, you can experience pain in your back.
'The bigger your breasts, the more likely they are to move about and the harder your posterior back muscles have to work in order to balance you while walking or doing exercise,' says Joshi. 'This commonly leads to a thoracic scoliosis, which is where your mid-back is pulled out of line.'
What size breasts cause back pain?
Research shows women with breast cups size D and above tend to have greater curvatures of the spine and poorer postures than small-breasted women.
Another study found, prior to breast reduction surgery, half of 179 women with size DD breasts or above had almost constant pain in their back, neck or shoulders.
Other side effects of big breasts
'Additionally, large breasts can affect the rise and fall of your rib cage, which can affect how much oxygen your lungs are taking in when exercising,' says Joshi. 'This can make you hyperventilate and struggle for breath making you feel like you're 'unfit' – but the reality is the weight on your chest is limiting your lung function.'
What can I do to stop my big breasts from causing me back pain?
The good news is breast reduction surgery isn't the only option, although, that might be something you want to explore. Here are three steps you can take yourself, at home, to reduce the likelihood of your big breasts causing you back pain:
Wear the correct bra size
Sounds obvious, but 70-75% of you aren’t. Here are five signs you’re one of those wearing the wrong size sports bra, plus tips on exactly how to choose a gym bra.
Try different types of exercise
Yoga, for example, can be really beneficial when it comes to managing breast-related back pain. If weight-training is more your thing, here's a workout for preventing back pain.
Make sure you're a healthy weight
While some people will have bigger boobs whatever their weight, others may find that being at a healthy BMI (between 18.5 and 24.9) is helpful at reducing the size of your breasts, and therefore any potential pain. Here's how to lose weight well — and sustainably.
If you're struggling with back pain and you think it might be caused by your breasts, speak to your doctor to come up with a plan of action, which might include breast reduction surgery or just ways to manage it.