Back pain from breasts


Breast Size and Upper Back Pain

The upper part of the spine is very strong, acting as an anchor to the rib cage and supporting the upper body, but it can also be prone to upper back pain. As with lower back pain, upper back pain is most often caused by strain on the muscles and ligaments from poor posture and repetitive motions.

But for women with very large breasts, it doesn’t take hours spent slouched in front of a computer or a vigorous game of tennis to cause upper back pain. Simply the weight of their breasts alone can be enough to cause back pain, sometimes even leading to long-term chronic pain that lasts for months or years.

The Link Between Large Breasts and Back Pain

Having very large breasts can place excess weight on the chest. Without enough support from the surrounding muscles and the rest of the body, the weight of the breasts can cause severe pain, make it difficult to maintain good posture, and even lead to spinal deformity. And being self-conscious about large breasts also makes some women hunch forward in an attempt to hide their chest, which can worsen existing back pain.

Very large-breasted women sometimes have to grapple not only with chronic pain in their backs and necks, but also with bra straps that dig into their skin and limitations on the activities that they can comfortably engage in.

Back Pain and Breast Size: Research Findings

Studies have shown that there can be a chain reaction of painful symptoms resulting from large breasts, as the body compensates for an abnormal position in one part of the back by shifting the position of another. Breast cups size D and above can cause upper back pain by altering the curvature of the spine, according to research, and can have an important impact on posture.

Easing the Pain: What Can Help?

If you suffer from neck or upper back pain caused by large breasts, help is available. There is no need to suffer from back pain caused by large breast size.

Options for upper back pain relief range from lifestyle changes to medications, and in severe cases even surgery. You might consider trying:

  • Customized bras and sports bras. Because they are specially designed, these types of bras can help distribute and support the weight of large breasts — especially for women with narrow backs, who have a more concentrated distribution of weight than women whose backs are wider.
  • Physical therapy and exercise. Working with a therapist or personal trainer can improve posture and encourage weight loss in women who are overweight or obese.
  • Medication. Taking an occasional over-the-counter pain reliever (such as ibuprofen or aspirin) when upper back pain strikes is just fine. And your doctor can prescribe stronger medication to “get you over the hump” of more severe pain caused by large breast size. But keep in mind that painkillers for back pain caused by large breasts are not intended as a long-term solution.
  • Breast reduction surgery. Often recommended to women with upper back pain caused by large breasts, breast reduction surgery may be the only way to permanently resolve the issue. Research published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that, prior to breast reduction surgery, half of 179 women with breasts size DD or larger had almost constant upper back pain or pain in their necks, shoulders, or lower backs. After the surgery, only 10 percent of women had these symptoms.

Bottom line: If you are suffering from upper back pain due to large breasts, talk with your doctor. Together, you can put together a plan that will be effective for you.

6 signs your big breasts are a big problem

Like all parts of our anatomy, breasts come in many different shapes and sizes. But there can be health problems that come with having very large breasts. If any of the following sound familiar, it may be time to ask if losing weight, physiotherapy, or breast reduction or uplift surgery could help.

1. They get in the way of your lifestyle

Big breasts can literally get in the way of the things you love doing. Many women who consider breast reduction surgery do so because they’re passionate about sport or lead an active lifestyle.

Women will know how unruly breasts can be when coping with the demands of physical activity. If a sports bra can’t contain them, or you find yourself being less active because of your breasts, then it may be time to think about ways to reduce their size.

You may be a candidate for breast reduction or breast uplift surgery, or you may benefit from losing weight.

2. Your bra straps cut into your shoulders

First things first: make sure you’re not wearing a bra that’s too small for you. Most underwear retailers will be able to provide guidance on this. If you’re wearing the right bra and you find the weight of your breasts is causing your bra straps to dig into your shoulders every day, then you may be a candidate for a reduction.

Breast uplift surgery is an alternative that can alter the shape and volume of your breasts, helping to fight gravity and stop your bra leaving deep grooves in the skin of your back.

3. You have back, shoulder or neck pain

Pain should never be ignored. If you have large breasts and experience pain around your upper back, shoulders or neck, then your breasts could be a contributing factor.

While surgery could be an option, physiotherapy can also help with managing pain and posture.

4. You get rashes or infections under the breast

Large breasts can cause skin to fold and rub on itself. It can be difficult to access the area when bathing and as a result rashes and infections may develop. If this happens to you then breast reduction of uplift surgery may help.

5. Nothing fits

It can be very distressing to constantly fight against your body when getting dressed. You may have to wear dresses or tops that are too large for the rest of your body or are too small for your breasts. Losing weight may alter the size and shape of your breasts to make you feel more comfortable. If you’re a healthy weight, breast reduction or breast uplift surgery could help.

6. You always have to remind people that “I’m up here”

Women with large breasts know all too well how they can affect their professional and personal lives. It’s not your problem if people can’t stop staring at your breasts, it’s their problem. However, if you feel that reducing the size of your breasts could have a positive impact on your relationships then it may be worth considering weight loss or surgery.

Last updated Wednesday 27 November 2019

It’s no secret that women who are well-endowed usually suffer from back pain. But just why do large breasts affect the body so much?

Lorène Dawance, an osteopath at Orchard Health Clinic, explains: “The back and neck muscles have to work a lot harder than necessary to counterbalance the shift in the centre of gravity. And when muscles are overworked, there may be muscle knots and reduced bloody supply, both of which lead to pain and discomfort.”

Lorène adds that having large breasts also tend to make a woman slouch as they pull her shoulders forward, which can create greater muscular imbalance among the back, chest and neck muscles, resulting in joint restriction at the neck through the mid-back. This can as such also affect her lower back.

Reduce breast size-related back pain with exercise

Breast reduction surgery can help reduce the discomfort in a woman’s back (and neck)—but it’s a pretty invasive method and isn’t always the top choice. And if a woman is trying to lessen breast size-related pain without surgery, she can actually turn to exercise.

“Many women are ‘hypermobile’, so their muscles have to rely on more tension to hold their joints together,” says Lorène. “And if they build up stability of those joints through specific exercises, they can avoid pain.”

She points out the key to a healthy posture is good mobility, stability and strength, and recommends that a woman works with a personal trainer to maintain mobility, improve posture and gain strength and stability.

“Staying mobile and having strong joint stability is very important to reduce postural strains from large breasts,” she emphasises.

Also, get the right bra

We know that it’s important that we wear a bra that fits—but this is especially so for women with large breasts.

“A well-fitted bra will make a big difference as it helps to distribute and support the weight,” says Lorène. “A good fit around the shoulders and the waist and bra line so there’s an even weight-distribution. Plus, it presents the straps from digging into the skin.”

Why Are My Breasts Sore?

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Should I Worry?

Like most parts of the body, breasts can be sore from time to time. Not only for girls, but for guys too. You may be worried about your body’s development, about what causes breast soreness, and even about cancer.

If you’re a girl, you may have noticed a slightly sore feeling when you wash your breasts in the shower. Or maybe you felt an ache when you’ve rolled onto your stomach in bed. Sometimes it may have felt like your breasts gained weight overnight.

If you’re a guy, you may have noticed some tenderness and even a lump beneath your nipple area.

Whether it’s a dull ache or a sharp pain, soreness in your breasts might make you worry about breast cancer. But try to stay calm. Breast pain in a teen is rarely cancer. So what can cause pain and what should you do?

Why Do I Have Breasts Anyway?

All mammals have breasts and humans are no exception. Breasts, which are milk-producing glands, begin to enlarge in females around the start of puberty. Breasts are made of fat and other tissue that surround and protect nerves, blood vessels, and milk ducts (small tube-like paths).

The main biological reason that women develop breasts is so they can feed their babies. Some women give their babies formula from bottles, but many women breastfeed their newborns. In fact, doctors recommend breastfeeding, when possible, as the best way to meet a baby’s nutritional needs.

The timing of breast development varies from girl to girl. Most girls begin getting breasts around 10 or 11. But it’s normal for breast development to start anytime between the ages of 8 and 13. In general, it takes 4 to 5 years for a girl’s breasts to reach their adult size.

When guys start puberty it is common to develop a small amount of breast enlargement too. During puberty, hormones in the body can cause the breasts to grow larger. The difference is that for guys, this condition is called gynecomastia and is usually temporary.

What Causes Breast Soreness?

One of the most common times that breasts might feel sore is when they are beginning to develop. First you might notice a small button-like lump beneath the nipple area. The medical name for this is the breast bud, and is common in guys and girls. The breast bud may be a little tender. But don’t worry — it’s a normal part of puberty.

It is also common to have sore breasts around the beginning of a girl’s period, or menstruation. During her menstrual cycle, a girl’s body produces lots of the female hormones

and .

Changes in these hormones can cause feelings that together are called premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. Some girls have painful cramps in their stomachs, headaches, mood swings, or cravings for certain foods right before their periods begin. During this time the body may retain water, which can make a girl feel puffy and bloated. Rings and shoes may feel tight.

Just as fingers and feet swell, so can breasts. All that fluid forces breast tissue to expand, which stretches the nerves and makes breasts feel achy or tender.

Breast swelling and tenderness can also be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Be sure to talk to a parent or doctor right away if you might be pregnant.

Also, if you ever notice discharge from one or both breasts, call your doctor right away.

What Can I Do to Relieve the Ache?

Most PMS symptoms, including breast soreness, should disappear as your period begins. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, might be helpful. Wearing a supportive bra might help.

Healthy eating, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep are really your best bets for easing the ache. You might try cutting down on salty foods and foods that contain caffeine, like coffee, tea, and even chocolate. Try caffeine-free soda or herbal tea instead. Some girls find that eating a diet rich in calcium helps with PMS symptoms.

If you’re tired, take a rest! Snuggle on the couch with your pillow and watch a good movie. Sometimes getting your mind off your aches is the best thing you can do.

What if I’m Still Worried?

Sometimes these tips won’t help you feel better. Maybe the pain is a little sharper this time, or maybe it lasted longer than usual, or maybe you just want to get it checked out. You don’t need to sit at home and worry — visit your doctor.

Let your doctor know about your concerns. The doctor sees patients all the time for things that may seem silly, but if you’re worried, then it’s not dumb. Although you may feel a little embarrassed to ask about breast pain or about a lump, there’s no need to. A breast exam is a quick and painless procedure. And it can help you find that your aches are completely normal.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD Date reviewed: July 2019

So, boobs: Overall, they’re pretty great—regardless of their size or shape. But, damn, they can be painful sometimes.

Boob pain can happen for a variety of reasons—check those bra sizes, girls!—but, there’s one super-scary one that breast pain is largely not related to: breast cancer.

“Most breast cancers do not cause pain,” says Diane Young, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Cleveland Clinic’s Willoughby Hills Family Health Center. She said it again, just for good measure: “Having pain in the breast is not usually a sign of breast cancer.” So, phew.

But uh, what does cause breast pain…and is there any way to free yourself from the prison that is sore breasts? Of course there is. Here’s what to know—and do—for your poor, sore chest.

1. You’re on your period—duh.

The most common cause of breast pain is a change in hormones that comes along with your period—specifically the drop in estrogen following ovulation, says Diane Young, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Cleveland Clinic’s Willoughby Hills Family Health Center.

“During ovulation, hormone levels go up—estrogen, progesterone, testosterone—so PMS starts when the hormone levels drop, which is also when women may experience breast pain,” she says.

That pain—also called cyclic pain, because it’s related to your menstrual cycle—is also accompanied by swelling and tenderness on the day before your period begins and the first day of your flow, says Taraneh Shirazian, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

The good news: It should go away when your period ends. Combination birth control pills can help, says Shirazian, since they prevent ovulation and keep estrogen levels stable. And if you’d rather the skip the OTC pain reliever, primrose oil supplements may also ease soreness, she says.

2. You’ve upped your workouts—or you pulled something.

So let’s say you did some seriously impressive push-ups—followed by some breast soreness the next day. This kind of pain isn’t actually breast pain—it’s from the pectoral muscles instead, which sit right under your breasts, says Young.

Luckily, this pain is only temporary (and, you know, dependent on how much or how hard you work out), and can be treated with pain reliever, as well as applying heat or ice to the muscles, says Young.

3. Your bras aren’t pulling their weight.

When was the last time you got fitted for a bra? If you’ve got breast pain (and haven’t changed your bra size in years), an ill-fitting bra might be to blame.

If yours is too tight or too small, it may be pushing against your breasts (All. Day. Long.), leading to sore boobs, says Shirazian.

The same goes for your sports bras—especially if your breasts are on the larger side. When they’re not supported during high-impact workouts, that extra—er, movement—of your breast tissue actually pulls on itself and its ligaments, causing some serious pain.

An easy fix: Get fitted for all types of bras (yes, even sports bras) and make sure they actually fit in the dressing room. That means no spillage, nothing digging in, and only minimal bouncing when you jump up and down in the dressing room. (Seriously, do it.)

4. Your breasts are on the “lumpy” side.

Sometimes, breasts seem “lumpy” because of fibrocystic breast tissue, says Young. Basically, that just means the breasts have more lumps and bumps. But it’s incredibly common and nothing to worry about, stresses Young.

Those “lumps” that you feel are actually benign cysts—or fluid-filled sacs within the breasts, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Again, they don’t increase your risk of breast cancer, per the ACS, but they can become larger or more painful and tender when your period begins, due to hormonal changes.

5. Your boobs are sensitive to coffee (yes, really).

If you have fibrocystic breast tissue, you may also be more sensitive to stimulants like coffee, says Young.

“Our breasts have little ducts, and, on occasion, those ducts can swell up due to simulants like caffeine and chocolate,” she says. That swelling, then, causes pain, she adds. If your breasts feel particularly lumpy and you chug coffee like it’s going out of style, ask your ob-gyn if you should consider cutting down.

The more you know!

Amber Brenza Amber Brenza is the health editor at Women’s Health, and she oversees the website’s health and weight loss verticals.

Breast Pain: Why Do My Boobs Hurt?

From a dull ache to a sharp stab, breasts hurt in a hundred different ways for a hundred different reasons. For many women, those myriad aches and stabs are the results of normal, healthy hormone fluctuations related to their menstrual cycles.

“Pain is most common during that period of a woman’s cycle just before she menstruates, when hormones like estrogen and progesterone peak,” says Karthik Ghosh, MD, director of the breast clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

You probably already knew that. But when your hormones go haywire, why do your breasts feel beat up? Rising estrogen levels stimulate the breasts’ milk ducts, while spiking progesterone does the same to a woman’s milk glands. Both can result in swelling and pain. Progesterone also causes fluid retention, which can lead to a feeling of heaviness or tenderness, Ghosh says.

With the onset of menstruation, levels of those hormones drop off, Ghosh says. For that reason, breast pain or tenderness tends to subside as soon as a woman starts her period. Because oral contraceptives iron out those hormonal peaks and valleys, women on birth control often don’t experience this monthly ebb and flow of aching. (But when women first start a contraceptive like the pill, some pain is common.)

Many women also experience cysts, which result when pockets of fluid form within the ducts of the breast. These cysts can sometimes be painful, says Dr. Susan Harvey, director of the Johns Hopkins Breast Imaging Section.

Young women in puberty, pregnant women and older women nearing menopause may all experience breast pain due to hormone fluctuations, says Dr. Bonmyong Lee, Harvey’s colleague and an assistant professor of radiology at Johns Hopkins. Particularly during the early stages of menopause, women who may have never had pain or cysts may suddenly start to experience both, Lee says.

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Apart from these hormone-related issues, Ghosh says anything that causes chest wall muscle soreness—like starting a new workout—can cause what’s called secondary pain in the breasts. Many women who exercise regularly experience discomfort and even pain in their breasts from the constant movement. A survey of close to 1,400 women registered for the 2012 London Marathon, published in the journal The British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2013, reported that over a third of the women said their breasts were often sore. Though exercise may not have been the cause of breast pain for all the women, the researchers say it was a predominant factor. Even so, 44% of the women said they did not take any measures to relieve the pain even though it was uncomfortable.

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Pain can also be caused by a common type of inflammation, called costochondritus, which affects the place where a woman’s ribs and sternum come together. Even an unsupportive brassiere can allow the breasts to pull on the chest wall, leading to pain, Ghosh says.

One condition that tends not to cause pain is cancer. For women who may notice a lump that is sensitive or painful, it’s more likely a benign cyst, Ghosh says. Still, she recommends seeing a doctor if you find a lump, painful or otherwise.

There are several less common or unproven causes of breast pain, from infection to caffeine consumption. So how can you determine whether to worry or brush it off? If the pain is concentrated in one part of your breast and doesn’t subside after a few weeks, see someone, Harvey says. You should also visit a doctor if your skin is flushed or red, which may be a sign of an infection.

“There’s no golden rule when it comes to identifying specific types of breast pain,” Ghosh says. “If it worries you or seems out of the ordinary, see a doctor.”

Read next: Should I Dry Brush My Skin?

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10 exercises designed for women with larger boobs!

Here at Halto HQ it is our mission to make every big busted women forgot all about their boob hang ups. We have conquered the pain caused by the dreaded halter neck with the Halto, and aim for every woman to look and feel amazing in their favourite halter neck swimwear pieces. As experienced big boob owners we know that they can have an impact of lots of day to day activities, exercise being one of the big ones! So we have put together a guide on how you and your boobs can exercise together in harmony. The guide is split into two parts, the first half is focused on the gym, exercise classes and getting out and about, whereas the second half gives you a selection of five activities you can easily master at home. 

It’s no secret that exercise and big boobs do not get along, from rouge boobs flying about left right and centre to under boob sweat to trying to finding a sports bra that fits. This may sound funny, but this does actually stop some women from taking part in regular exercise (especially at the gym). First things first carrying all of that extra weight is not good for your back, so it is essential to have a strong back and core, lets get stuck in… 


Yoga is your safe bet as it is almost always low impact and focuses on building core and back strength, which will help you to support your girls with less back pain. The Boat Pose is well known for core strength, as well as lower back strength and for toning the abdominal muscles (bloody hell, seems too good to be true!).

  1. Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly so you’re balancing on your sit bones (the bony parts you feel when you sit on a hard surface). Raise your legs so your shins are parallel to the floor, knees bent.
  2. Extend your arms forward, parallel with floor, palms facing in. Keeping your chest high and your core engaged, begin to straighten your legs. Hold for five to 10 breaths. Repeat five times

2. The Dreaded Treadmill

Yes the treadmill is quite possibly the biggest culprit when it comes to boob malfunctions. However you can set the treadmill to a high incline, this will still get your blood pumping and will work wonders for your legs and bum, without causing any boob trauma. 

3. Low Impact Cardio

Low impact cardio is much better for women with bigger boobs as it put less pressure on the spine. Activities could include walking, cycling or swimming, where you have control over how hard you push yourself and what your girls will allow you to do comfortably.

4. Swimming

Girls we have you covered! If you haven’t already got the Halto whats stopping you? You can wear that halterneck piece that makes you feel great and not have to worry about what your boobs are thinking. Plus we have you covered for the many visits to the steam room, sauna, hot tub and sun loungers during your swim.

5. Strength Training 

Believe it or not, increasing your muscle mass by strength training can help you to burn more fat. This can be anything from using the resistance machines at the gym, doing high reps with small dumbbell weight to deadlifting heavy weights from the floor.

However we know that part of being a woman is that you are constantly busy being a mum/daughter/girlfriend/wife/bread winner/shoulder to cry on/home maker/cake baker/business owner/ every thing else under the sun, so you may not have time to get to the gym, fitness class or even have half an hour to go for a walk. So here are five boob friendly and minimal bounce exercises you can do from home whilst conquering the rest of the world.

6. Squat To Toe Raises

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and toes pointing slightly outward, bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Now, extend your legs and lift up onto your toes as high as you can. Squeeze your bum for a second. That is one rep. Continue for 15 reps.

7. Plank Up- Downs

Oh dear the dreaded plank, but its just so god for your core muscles!

Start in a push-up position with your legs together and wrists beneath your shoulders. Lower your left forearm to the ground, then lower your right forearm, keeping your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Immediately return to starting position by placing your left palm, then your right palm, on the ground and extending both elbows. That’s one rep. Repeat, leading with your right arm to complete the second rep. Continue for 10 reps on each side.

8. Split Squats

Feel the burn with more squats, still no bounce back though!
Stand with your left leg two to three feet in front of your right leg. Bend both knees 90 degrees, keeping your chest high with your shoulders directly over your hips.Pause, then extend your legs to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Continue for 12 reps, then repeat on the opposite side for the same number of reps.

9. Plank Walkouts

And the plank is back. Just be grateful you aren’t doing burpees!

Standing with your feet hips-width apart and legs straight, knees soft, bend from the waist to place your palms on the ground an inch or two in front of your toes. Walk your hands forward until your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, walk your hands back toward your feet. Stand up to complete one rep. Continue for 10 reps.

10. Star Squats 

The Jumping Jack is one of the old classics when it comes to a boob catastrophe! Stick to star squats instead. 
Stand with your feet a few inches wider than your hips, with your toes slightly turned out and your arms extended overhead. Keeping your chest high and gaze forward, bend your knees and lower your arms out to the sides until your fingertips reach your toes. Pressing through your heels, reverse the movement to complete one rep. Perform 20 reps as quickly as you can.

Thank you for taking the time to read Halto’s guide to 10 exercises designed for women with larger boobs. We can’t wait for you to feel even more fabulous in your halterneck swimwear. If you haven’t already got your Halto, what are you waiting for!? Pick up your Halto today!

Information sourced from


In the last 15 years, the average bust size has increased from 34B to 36C and some sources suggest it may actually be a 36 D average within a few years. Extremely large breasts have been linked to a number of physical complaints including backaches, neck pain, and numbness in the fingers in hands. It is not a mystery the link between large breasts and these symptoms. As obesity rises this issue no longer remains solely a female concern. Males too are experiencing an increase in problems from an increase in weight of the chest.

Cup Size B and upwards increase stress on the spine and distort posture

Increasing the size of breasts actually increases the weight supported by your spine, as well as changes your center of gravity. Studies have found that the size of breasts from a B cup and upwards, have increased postural distortion patterns, such as an increase in the hump (hyper kyphosis) of the upper back, as well as an increased curve of the lumbar spine. This problem affects most women of all breast sizes. As gravity pulls down on the body, an increase in breast size adds more stress to the middle thoracic spine. This begins to stress the spinal vertebra, and degenerate the vertebral discs. In addition the muscles become strained sending signals of stress as back pain. This change in the curve of the spine affects the nerves that run through out the body. Most commonly noticed is tingling/pain in the arms and hands, as well as an increase in headaches.

The weight of breasts changes the body’s center of gravity and stresses the muscles of the back.

The back pain is a signal from the body that the spine, muscles, and nerves are being stressed. If this is not resolved greater damage and disease will develop leading to distorted, hunched over posture, as well as potentially immobilizing spinal complications. All though breast reduction augmentation has gained popularity in recent years there are other more conservative ways to help support your breasts and prevent these postural distortion patterns from developing.

Check your Posture

First check to see if this is a problem that is affecting you. Check your pictures. Are you leaning/hunching forward? Are your shoulders rounded in? Are you a breast size of B or larger? These are all factors that lead to this postural distortion pattern and eventually spinal disease. To find out for sure if you are developing these postural distortion patterns get your Posture Diagnosis Online from the American Posture Institute at

4 Natural Tips to improve your posture

Posture Habits Re-education

  • Chest Out
    1. Most females tend to slouch forward allowing their chest to fall down and their shoulders to round forward. Set a posture reminder to pull your shoulders back, head over your shoulders, and chest up. Focusing on this consciously for a few weeks will develop the correct posture habits to maintain this position.

Posture Rehabilitation

  • Scapular Strengthening
    1. Stand with your back against a wall with your shoulders and pelvis touching the wall. Bring your arms up to shoulder level with your elbows touching the wall. Raise your arms upwards as far as you can, while maintaining the elbow contact against the wall. Now bring your elbows down towards your side, squeezing your scapulas together. You should feel this muscular contraction between your shoulder blades. Do this 5 times every day.
  • Thoracic Muscular Reinforcement
    1. Lay on your stomach. Place your fingertips on the back of your head and raise your upper chest and head off the ground. Hold this position as long as you can. You should feel this exercise in your upper and mid back. To increase the difficulty, raise your feet at the same time, supporting both your upper and lower body on your pelvis. Repeat this exercise for 5 repetitions, every day.

Spinal Alignment

  • Thoracic Traction
    1. Lay on your back. Place a small cushion in the middle of your back so that it causes you to slightly arch over it, with your arms raised over your head. Lay in this position for 5 – 10 minutes everyday. As this position becomes easier, increase the size of the cushion.

For more information on how your posture may be causing your health problems, how to stay healthy through proper posture, or for more ways to improve your posture contact Dr. Mark Wade at: [email protected] or find more information like this at

Written By:
Dr. Mark Wade DC, DrPH, CPE, CPEP
Certified Posture Expert
Doctor of Chiropractic
Doctor of Public Health
Founder of the American Posture Institute


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  • WebMD:

With these exercises, you should be able to avoid discomfort or lessen existing back pain. If the pain is unbearable or is accompanied by tingling in the arms, I recommend consulting your doctor.

Whether big, small, sports, or lace – industry figures show that women around the world spend $16 billion on bras. Aesthetics aside, many women find themselves dealing with the frustrating problem of upper and mid-back back pain caused by large breast size.

Excessively large breasts, known as breast hypertrophy, put extra stress on the back extensor muscles and spinal disks, leading to muscle tension, spasm and pain. It can also exacerbate the symptoms of thoracic kyphosis, commonly known as hunch back or round back. Other symptoms include tingling in the arms from compressed nerves and pain from bra straps digging into the shoulders.

Patients often come to me with the question, “Will breast reduction surgery help my back pain?” The answer is often yes if other treatments – such as physical therapy and postural exercises – fail.

Bethannie Snodgrass, MD, plastic surgeon and author of When Less is More: The Complete Guide for Women Considering Breast Reduction Surgery explains, “As women get older and heavier, their shoulders naturally roll forward, which in turn puts compression in the thoracic outlet—the area where the ribs, shoulder blades, and nerves come through a rather narrow triangle.”

The heavier a woman’s breasts are—most problems begin at a D cup or above—the more likely her shoulders are to roll forward and cause pain.

As women experiencing these issues seek help for their pain, both patients and clinicians have often pointed to bras as the culprit. However, the benefits bras provide are largely cosmetic. Ill-fitting bras won’t cause your back pain, nor will a properly-fitting bra reduce your discomfort.

Though many doctors find breast reduction surgery is the only way to permanently fix the problem, there are things women can do to prevent or alleviate back pain caused by their breasts. First of all, practice good posture. Strengthening the core muscles and the trapezius muscles, located between the shoulder blades, are the next step, as these muscles support the breasts. Be careful to stretch the latissimus dorsi muscles in the back and the pectoralis muscles in the chest, both important for providing good support.

With these exercises, you should be able to avoid discomfort or lessen existing back pain. If the pain is unbearable or is accompanied by tingling in the arms, I recommend consulting your doctor.

You don’t need to look like Katie Price to know that being big breasted can bring with it some unwanted side effects. Like:

1. It’s harder to find pretty, cute – and supportive – sports bras. Meaning running on the treadmill is akin to a scene from Jurassic World: painful and in your face. (FYI: this round-up of the best sports bras for large breasts is proof they do exist.)

2. And, even worse, you’re more likely to suffer from back pain.

Yes, you read that right.

Although poo-pooed in the past, Japanese 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 pain.

Why do big breasts cause back pain?

“Big breasts can have a massive impact on your body and the way you live,” says 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.”

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 complain of neck pain.”

Breasts also change your centre of gravity; according to those same Japanese researchers, large or heavy breasts may lead to continuous tension on the middle and lower fibres of the trapezius muscle and on associated muscle groups. Which is how, although your breasts are on your front, you can experience pain through the mid-back part of your spine.

“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 whilst walking or doing exercise,” says Joshi. “This commonly leads to a thoracic scoliosis, which is where your mid-back is pulled out of line.”

Indeed, researchers in Turkey found women with breast cups size D and above tend to have greater curvatures of the spine that small-breasted women. And yes, you guessed it, poorer posture, too.

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 you don’t have to book yourself in for breast reduction surgery any time soon. Here are three steps you can take yourself, at home, to reduce the likelihood of your big breasts causing you back pain.

1. 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.

2. Consider losing weight (if you have excess to lose)

Achieving a healthy weight will make both your frame and breasts lighter, which, in turn, can alleviate unnecessary tension and chronic neck and back pain. Here’s how to lose weight well – and sustainably.

3. Try different types of exercise

Yoga, for example, can be really beneficial when it comes to managing breast-related back pain. Try these eight yoga poses for back pain, for starters, or watch this short yoga for shoulder pain video. If weight-training is more your thing, here’s a workout for preventing back pain.

While you’re showing your breasts some attention, this simple change to your shower routine could save your life.



Breast-related shoulder-neck pain is thought to result from changes in the centre of gravity, and large or heavy breasts may lead to continuous tension on the middle and lower fibers of the trapezius muscle and on associated muscle groups . Some authors have postulated that the anatomic mechanisms of postural aberrations are heavy breasts and related pain symptoms . Cervical spondylosis can cause local neck pain. Abnormal conditions involving the spinal cord, heart, lungs, and some abdominal organs can also cause neck and shoulder pain. Other possible correlates of shoulder-neck pain, such as prolonged bending postures, emotional stress, daily habits, sport activity, and long hours spent slouched in front of a computer, can also cause shoulder-neck pain. After eliminating a visceral or spinal cause, and other possible causes, the remaining cases are considered to be due to unknown causes.

Large breasts are generally associated with physical symptoms such as chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain, as well as stiff neck, painful brasserie strap grooving, and persistent intertrigo in the inframammary folds. Many of the above mentioned studies have also suggested that reduction mammoplasty could improve these symptoms . Ryan et al., proposed that elevation of the breasts in a brassiere increased downward forces on the outer scapula. He suggested that the posterior straps of a brassiere act as pulleys over the shoulders, doubling the total downward pull on both shoulders. Associated neck, shoulder, and back pain could then be at least partially attributed to fatigue of the muscles that reverse scapular depression (e.g., trapezius, serratus anterior). Researchers in Turkey found that large breasts can cause upper back pain by altering the curvature of the spine. They noted that women with breast cups size D and above (large brassiere cup size) tended to have greater curvatures of the spine than small-breasted women. They also found that breast size has an important impact on posture .

Wood et al., found that, in 26 young, nulliparous women (aged 18 – 26 years) with different breast cup sizes, total pain was unrelated to breast size. Nevertheless, the small sample size and limited age range of the participants were the weak points of their research. They also concluded that breast size correlated strongly and negatively with brassiere cup size, and moderately with brassiere fit, but was not highly correlated with pain severity. However, the results of the present study showed that brassiere cup size D and above was correlated with shoulder-neck pain, but there was no significant relationship between shoulder-neck pain and breast size. In general, overweight women tend to have large breasts, but brassiere cup size, that is, the weight of the breasts, is more important than breast size in regard to shoulder-neck pain.

Since many of ladies are normally very nervous about their body/style, this type of research is really difficult to conduct, and therefore, the present study had some limitations. First, the data were collected using a self-reporting system about brassiere cup size, breast size, and shoulder-neck pain. And we did not measure the weight of breasts. Secondly, some possible correlates of shoulder-neck pain, such as prolonged bending postures, daily habits, sport activities, and emotional stress of participants, were not considered. Thirdly, no X-rays of the sagittal cervicothoracic spine, for example, were taken in this study. Further research and clinical interventions are necessary to confirm the present findings. In conclusion, large brassiere cup size is an important cause of shoulder-neck pain.

Breast Size and Upper Back Pain…What’s the Solution?

Large breasts can place excess weight on the chest. Without enough support from the surrounding muscles and the rest of the body, the weight of the breasts can cause severe pain, making it difficult to maintain good posture and in some cases leading to spinal deformity. Many large breasted women are self conscious about their breasts, which makes them hunch forward to hide their chest, which increases the pain intensity.

Women with large breasts not only suffer from severe pain in their necks and backs, but also from bra straps that dig into their skin, making them unable to engage in many day to day activities.

Many researches indicate that large breasts can cause a chain-reaction of painful indicators, as the human body tries to balance an abnormal position by shifting the curvature of the spinal cord.

How Can You Ease the Pain

If you are suffering from back or neck pain caused by outsized breasts, there are many options available, from changing your lifestyle to medical treatment and physical therapy. Here is some thing that might be useful:

Choosing the Right Supportive Bra

  • Push up bras are more supportive as compared to normal bras, due to additional padding in the cups. This characteristic makes push up bras very useful for women who have bigger breasts and can use some added support. It is a very common misconception among women that push up bras are only for small breasts. The reality is that push up bras can showcase a big chest in the best possible way, and because of added support they can help women who suffer from back and neck pain.
  • If you have issues with back pain and want comfort plus good support, a good back support bra would be perfect option for you. It helps you to maintain a good posture and minimizes back pain in most of the cases. A back support bra can even help with troubles in your spinal discs.
  • Sports bras are very effective when it comes to relieving back, neck and shoulder pain during running and other workouts. No matter what size you are, it is essential to wear a proper sports bra during exercise because it distributes the breasts weight among back, neck and shoulders. To find the perfect size it is necessary to make sure that the bra doesn’t cause breathing issues and not hurt the underarm area.
  • If your breast size is very large, invest in a custom made bra which is specially designed for your body. Custom bras are pretty helpful when it comes to women with narrow backs.

Outsmarting Back Pain Through Physical Therapy

Physical therapy and workout with a professional trainer can improve your posture and encourage weight loss, which eventually helps with back and neck pain.

  • Your spine is mostly supported by neck, back, shoulder and chest muscles and by strengthening them you can minimize neck and upper back pain issues. Most physical therapists recommend Isometric exercises, these are exercises where you push against some resistance without flexing or extending your muscles.
  • Aerobic workouts are also an essential part of any plan to prevent back pain. These are series of exercises that help enhance blood flow in your body especially your spinal disks.
  • Other useful back exercises include shoulder roll, butterfly, Arm slides and thoracic extension.

Medical Treatment and Surgery

  • Taking a painkiller for occasional back pain is fine but avoid strong medication for longer periods of time.
  • Breast reduction surgery is the only permanent way to get rid of severe upper back pain and it is often recommended to women with large breasts size. A research published by American society of plastic surgeons found that more than 90 percent of women subjects were satisfied with their breast reduction surgery.

If you are suffering from back and neck pain because of large breasts, consult with your doctor and devise a plan that will be effective for you.

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Mayo Clinic Q and A: Breast reduction surgery can relieve back, neck pain

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Is breast reduction surgery safe for my 16-year-old daughter? She’s had neck pain for years and doesn’t want to wait any longer to have the surgery done.

ANSWER: Breast reduction surgery is a safe and effective procedure for relieving neck and back pain, as well as other problems that can be caused by large breasts. In most cases, it is recommended that teenagers wait until their breasts finish developing before having breast reduction. But if symptoms are making your daughter’s day-to-day tasks difficult or interfering with her quality of life, breast reduction may be possible, even if she is not done growing. A second surgery may be necessary later in life if her breasts aren’t yet fully developed. Some risk is involved with breast reduction, as with all surgeries. But in the hands of a board-certified, experienced surgeon, those risks typically are low.

During breast reduction surgery, extra tissue and skin are removed from the breasts. The specific technique used for the surgery may vary somewhat. Generally, the surgeon makes an incision around the areola (the dark skin that surrounds the nipple) and down the breast. Then the excess breast tissue, fat and skin are removed to reduce the size of each breast.

The nipple and areola usually remain attached to preserve their blood supply and maintain feeling in the nipple after surgery. In some rare cases, though, the nipple and areola might need to be removed and reattached at a higher position on the breast as a skin graft. This makes the nipple numb after surgery.

To be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery, your daughter should be in good health and be able to tolerate general anesthesia. She also needs to have enough breast tissue left over after the procedure to be able to have it reshaped into a smaller breast that will fit her weight and frame.

Breast reduction surgery often relieves chronic back pain, neck muscle spasms and shoulder pain due to large breasts. Other common benefits include better posture, improved breast appearance and less skin irritation under the breasts. Surgery also can help with your daughter’s self-image and allow her to more comfortably participate in physical activity.

In general, the main risks of breast reduction surgery are the same as any surgery: infection, bleeding, wounds and blood clots. Your daughter may have numbness in the nipples and areolae after surgery. It’s also important that she realizes there will be permanent scarring on the inside and the outside of her breasts. The scars fade over time, but they never go away. If she has developed deep shoulder grooves due to bra strap pressure, those grooves likely will remain after surgery, but the pressure will be lessened.

In some cases, breast reduction surgery may make it hard to breastfeed. But that often depends on the surgical technique used. Talk to your daughter’s surgeon about the technique he or she uses and the likelihood that it may interfere with breastfeeding.

Although she will have some pain after surgery, it often can be effectively controlled with pain medication and normally doesn’t last long. Recovery usually takes several weeks, but within two weeks, your daughter likely would be able to resume many daily activities. Lifting and other physical activity usually is restricted for up to four weeks following breast reduction surgery.

I encourage you and your daughter to meet with a plastic surgeon to ask questions and discuss expectations for breast reduction surgery. Ask about the specific risks for a teenager going through this procedure, and be sure to address any concerns before surgery. — Dr. Nho Tran, Plastic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

For women with very large breasts, having a reduction can feel like — quite literally — having a weight lifted off of their chest.

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It can relieve them from years of back, shoulder and neck pain; difficulty exercising; and rashes on their chest — not to mention limited clothing options and permanent shoulder grooves from weighted down bra straps.

But, like any other medical procedure, breast reduction surgery does have risks. It’s a personal decision that requires careful consideration of the potential pros and cons.

Start with these need-to-knows from plastic surgeon Steven Bernard, MD.

You’ll probably (eventually) feel like a million bucks

A number of studies have found that women who have breast reduction surgery commonly feel a boost in their self-esteem, body image and physical health afterward.

“It has one of the highest satisfaction rates of all the procedures we do,” Dr. Bernard says.

In one study, 95% of patients said they felt satisfied with the results.

But you’ll be sidelined for a few weeks

The surgery itself is an outpatient procedure that only takes about three hours, Dr. Bernard says. Women typically go home on the same day or the next morning. But you’ll likely feel tired and sore afterward, so plan to take a few days off from work or school to recover. You’ll be encouraged to get up and move around regularly, but you’ll have to put off any kind of rigorous exercise for about a month, he says.

You might not be able to get the exact cup size you want

How much your breasts can be reduced depends on your size, breast composition and goals. During your consultation, your plastic surgeons will help you determine the best plan. Most breast reduction patients go down one to two cup sizes, Dr. Bernard says.

You’ll get a breast lift, too

The procedure is actually a twofer: Your surgeon will remove excess tissue and skin to make your breasts smaller, and then move the nipples up in position to give them a lift.

You’ll have scars

The incision wounds (they usually look like lollipops that circle around the nipples and go straight down to the bottom of the breast) will be swollen for a while. “In most people, the scars improve significantly within a year after surgery, but they’re always there,” Dr. Bernard says.

“With scars, it’s just as much genetics as anything. Every plastic surgeon can do good job of closing a wound, so it just depends on the person.”

There’s a chance you’ll have decreased nipple sensation

Immediately after surgery, your nipples might feel numb. “Some sensation in the nipples almost always comes back, but it might take a month or two,” Dr. Bernard says. Certain surgical techniques are more likely to preserve nipple sensation, so be sure to bring this up to your surgeon if it is a concern for you.

Insurance might cover it

Some insurance companies cover part or all of the cost of breast reduction surgery if you’re having it to relieve physical problems like back pain or skin problems. Your surgeon can help you gather the necessary information and measurements to send to the insurance company before surgery. It usually takes about a month for them to approve or deny the request, Dr. Bernard says.

It could affect your ability to breastfeed later

There’s about a 50/50 chance that a woman might find it difficult — but not necessarily impossible — to breastfeed if she has a breast reduction, Dr. Bernard estimates. “But it’s hard to predict who might have that problem,” he says.

Ready to take the first step?

Start by setting up a consultation with a surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery at a reputable medical center near you.

Ask the surgeon for before and after photos of past patients with a similar body type as you, and inquire about his or her experience performing the operation. “Even new plastic surgeons have had pretty good experience during their residency,” Dr. Bernard says. “It’s one of the most common things we’ve done.”

Do you ever feel like having large, full breasts may be more of a curse than a blessing? This especially seems true the longer you carry that excess weight around as you age. Whether you have always had an ample bust, have experienced fluctuations in weight, or have seen your breast size increase after pregnancy, discomfort can result from your larger cup size.

When your breasts are out of proportion with the rest of your body, that excess weight can throw you off balance, causing problems with your posture, neck, or shoulders. If you are plagued with pain in your lower back that will not respond to medication or therapy, breast reduction surgery could be the answer.

Skip the Back Surgery and Have a Breast Reduction Instead

Your chronic pain in your lower back may have nothing to do with your back and everything to do with your bust size. If you are compensating for the weight of your breasts by carrying yourself in a certain way, it can result in stress to your back. Breast reduction surgery can ease the strain on your back as well as your neck and shoulders. You won’t believe the difference when you get that excess weight off of your chest.

What to Expect During Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. Once you arrive at the office, you will be provided with anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Small incisions are made in your breasts and the fat, as well as excess tissue, are removed to reduce the size of your breasts. The incisions will be closed, and you will be sent home to recover. You will wear bandaging and may need a support bra to reduce swelling and minimize discomfort. You will be advised about care for your incisions and activity restrictions.

Learn More About the Benefits of Breast Reduction Surgery Today

If you have been struggling with larger breasts and the burden of carrying that extra weight around daily, you owe it to yourself to find a solution. Dr. Wendell Perry is a board-certified plastic surgeon with significant experience in reconstructive procedures. Set up a consultation today for a complete evaluation. Dr. Perry will be happy to review your goals and concerns before moving forward with a breast reduction procedure. With breast reduction, you can improve your posture and finally get the relief you deserve. Contact Dr. Perry today.

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