Bra size and Musculoskeletal Pain

Bra Size and Musculoskeletal Pain

Musculoskeletal Pain around the neck, shoulders and back is more likely to affect women with bra size D or bigger. As the large bra sizes were found to affect the mechanics of the spine, both the thoracic kyphosis and the lumbar lordosis angle were higher in women with bra size D than in women with bra size A, B, or C.This is because  women with macromastia adopt a corrective posture due to the effect of the breasts on their center of gravity and possibly in a subconscious effort to conceal their breasts (Lapid et al. 2013).

Poor Fitted Bras can cause neck, shoulder and back pain

70% of women wear bras that are incorrect sizes or poorly fitted. The elevation of the breasts in a bra increased downward forces on the outer scapula (shoulder blade). Where posterior (back) straps of a bra act as pulleys over the shoulders, effectively doubling the total downward pull on both shoulders  (Wood et al. 2008).

The associated neck, shoulder and back pain could then, at least partially, be attributed to fatigue in muscles that reverse scapular depression (eg: trapezius, serratus anterior). Bra-strap pressure is only somewhat linked to bust mass: small busted women with tight straps may experience considerable downward pressure on their shoulders (Wood et al. 2008).

Osteopathic Treatment of neck, shoulder and back pain associated with bras

Reference List

Lapid O, de Groof EJ, Corion LU, Smeulders MJ, van der Horst CM (2013). The effect of breast hypertrophy on patient posture. Arch Plast Surg. Sep;40(5):559-63

Wood K, Cameron M, Fitzgerald K (2008). Breast size, bra fit and thoracic pain in young women: a correlational studyChiropr Osteopat.  Mar 13;16:1

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