Are Bras a Contributing Factor to Back Pain?

What is the most probable cause of back pain for women?

Of course, the answer varies among women. For some, back pain comes from bending over to pick up their children and carrying them with bad posture. For others, work conditions cause back problems.

But many answer with something they wear every day: a bra.

Could something as simple as a bra be responsible for back pain?

The answer is complicated. In some cases, a bra could be a contributing factor to back pain. In most cases, though, its impact on back pain is insignificant, and the pain is caused by a different factor.

While bras causing back pain remains largely a myth, there are some qualities of a bra to look for when choosing one. Here’s how to make sure a bra fits well, doesn’t contribute unnecessarily to discomfort, and how bras and back pain really relate.

When the Bra is the Problem

 The fit of a bra can make all the difference when it comes to posture, support, and back pain. A good bra should provide enough support for the woman’s breast size, allowing her to maintain proper posture. The straps should also fit well. If it is too tight, it can essentially force the back into two separate parts, making it work around a pivot point instead of by one main system.

If the bra doesn’t fit well, the woman’s posture can be misaligned, which leads to back pain. The upper back bends forward if the bra cannot support the woman well enough. This impacts the neck and diaphragm, leading to tension and pain.

Even simply slumping forward because of the weight not supported by a bra can lead the woman to get in the habit of sitting or standing that way. It can be difficult to change postural habits when they have formed, and that increases the risk of chronic pain.

 When Back Pain Comes for Other Reasons

 While some back pain can be solved with a better fitting bra, for most people, the bra is simply not the problem. If a specialist fits a bra to the person and back pain lingers, it is likely caused by one common factor.

In most cases, back pain is caused by breast hypertrophy, or carrying a large amount of weight in the breast. Women who have larger breasts, even when wearing the right bra, experience back pain simply due to the strain the weight puts on their backs. If this is the case, women experience back pain also from bra straps digging into the shoulders.

If this is not the case, though, back pain often comes from another sources unrelated to the woman’s breast or the bra she wears.

How to Prevent Discomfort

 To prevent back pain related to bras, a woman should ensure that she is wearing a well fitting bra. Many stores offer professional fittings and will help each customer make smart purchases.

If back pain is due to breast hypertrophy, some women elect to have breast reduction surgery. Since that is not always an option, financially or otherwise, there are also exercises women can do to strengthen other core muscles, as well as shoulder blade area muscles. This way, they can use the power within their own bodies to counteract the pull of the weight causing pain.

Bras are sometimes the culprits for back pain, but sometimes the cause is different. If a woman has chronic pain in this area, she should get to the root of the cause by finding a fitted bra and strengthening muscles. This will help her gain the ability to counteract any improper posture caused by her breasts and allow her to live pain-free.

 

Could Your Mattress Be the Cause of Your Back Pain?

What’s the main cause of a good night’s sleep?

Many might say that a good night’s sleep happens when one goes to bed peacefully, not worried about the coming days. Others might say the temperature in the room helps.

But too often, even if all those factors are in place, people still wake up sore and tired. Back pain even after a full night’s sleep plagues lots of people who find themselves unable to feel rested.

When trying to address back pain, the root of the problem often isn’t a back condition, poor health, or injury. The mattress a person sleeps on can be the cause of back pain, and the right mattress can remove that pain instantaneously.

There are many factors involved in a mattress purchase that contribute to a comfortable night’s sleep. Here’s why mattresses could be culprit of that lingering back pain.

What the Back Needs in a Mattress

When in a sleeping position, a person’s back needs several variables to be in place for maximum comfort and overall health.

According to experts, the mattress should align your entire body when you are in a sleeping position. This includes the curvature of the spine and support for the head, neck, buttocks, and shoulders. Even proper arrangement of the feet and heels can impact how a person feels when they wake up.

In addition, the person’s particular needs and preferences must be taken into account. If they know they’ve always slept best on soft mattresses, for example, a mattress that is too firm could be causing back pain, and vice versa. Bodies and their needs vary, but there are certain specific guidelines that must be considered.

How a Mattress Can Cause Pain

Soreness and back pain result when any of the body parts impacted by sleep are out of alignment. This can happen when a mattress is either too firm or too soft. Firmness presses back against the body, and softness allows it too settle uncomfortably. When pressure points are not properly supported on either end of the spectrum, pain occurs.

In addition, back pain comes when the mattress a person uses causes muscle strain. It may not feel like the muscles are being used for support of the body, but it becomes evident when soreness is present in the morning. Sometimes, the body will compensate for discomfort by subtly trying to hold itself in a better position. If this happens, muscles can be active, to some degree, all night, leaving the person exhausted and sore by the time they wake up. When this centers in the person’s back, even simply sitting through the day can be difficult.

Test Your Sleeping Habits

If a person experiences chronic back pain, there are several steps that can be taken to test whether the mattress may be the cause of the problem.

First of all, ensure that the pillows used are offering good support for the head and neck. Replace old pillows and purchase one designed for a particular level of support. Additionally, mattress accessories, like memory foam toppers, can be added to the existing mattress for additional comfort. To see the actual position a person is sleeping in, they can have a family member snap a photo. Often, this will reveal where the body needs support.

If a mattress is causing back pain, take the necessary steps to prevent it. Add support to the bed itself, change sleep positions, and make sure the correct pressure points are aligned correctly. Then, enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep and wake up feeling rested and comfortable!

Could Stress and Anxiety Be Causing Your Chronic Back Pain?

Stress and anxiety—everyone deals with it to some extent. At times, however, stress can cause adverse health effects. Emotional side effects of stress can be depression and panic attacks, while physical effects can include heart palpitations, high blood pressure, digestive issues and even back pain.

People dealing with chronic pain feel desperate to find a solution. Knowing the way stress affects the back is the first step toward finding a solution to one’s pain.

Identifying the Two Types of Stress That Can Impact Back Health

Before going into how stress affects the back, it’s important to first understand that there are two types of stress that can have an impact on the health of a person’s back.

  1. Physical Stress
    Certain physical activities put stress on the body and can contribute to back pain. Things like:
  • Carrying a heavy purse, backpack or briefcase
  • Poor posture
  • Bad form while exercising
  • Avoiding exercise – cardio, weight training and stretching/flexibility exercises are all important
  • Aging
  • High heeled shoes
  • A bad, sagging mattress

All of these things, if not remedied, can result in chronic back pain.

  1. Emotional and/or Psychological Stress
    Emotional stress can have an immense impact on your back. For years, many considered stress and anxiety to be secondary causes of pain. The common thought was that pain was always the result of something physical. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, people who suffer from stress, depression and anxiety often suffer with pain as well. They also mention that back pain, specifically, is experienced more often by people dealing with emotional or psychological stress than those who don’t.

How Stress and Anxiety Can Impact the Health of a Person’s Back

Accepting that one’s emotions can be a main factor in their back pain can be hard to accept at first because we’ve thought otherwise for so long. But, more evidence is pointing to the back pain-stress correlation because of the following.

  • Stress causes tension: When a person is under stress, their muscles tighten up considerably. This is particularly noticeable in the muscles of the head, neck and shoulders. Tensing the muscles of the upper body puts pressure on those of the lower body. Massage therapists will concur—people with high anxiety will have the tightest, most knotted muscles, resulting in more daily pain.
  • Postural changes: Going through a stressful period changes a person’s posture. During the fight or flight response, the body’s muscles not only tense up, they tense up in an improper position. This position is generally one of self-protection and preservation: slumped over as if the weight of the world were on one’s shoulders, or like they’re trying to protect their abdominal area.
  • Stress, anxiety and depression can lead to inactivity: Emotional stress puts people in a major energy slump. Just getting through the day is hard enough; forget about exercise! The resulting inactivity leads to inflexibility, strain and muscle soreness.

Significantly Decrease the Occurrence of Back Pain with Stress Reduction

People don’t have to suffer with back pain, especially if it’s related to stress and anxiety. With help from a therapist, physical therapist and chiropractor people can find ways to reduce physical and emotional stressors. Working to reduce the stress is one of the best ways to reduce pain and promote overall health and wellbeing.

If you’re experiencing chronic back pain and suspect it may be due to high levels or stress or anxiety, contact us right away. We can provide the support you need and recommend ways to reduce your stress and treat your back pain effectively.

6 Reasons Why You Might Be Experiencing Back Pain When Standing For Hours

Back pain can not only be debilitating, it’s extremely frustrating. Chronic pain affects every aspect of a person’s life, including something simple like standing. Lower back pain can become excruciating after standing for hours. Some people, though, start experiencing pain after just a few minutes. Why would something as natural as standing cause a person such pain?

6 Conditions That Can Contribute to Back Pain While Standing

Back pain in general can be contributed to pressure on the lower back, caused by excess weight or weak abdominal muscles. There are also some more serious issues that can contribute to back problems.

  1. Flexibility Issues
    People with weak, inflexible muscles experience pain while trying to do any sort of activity—walking, stretching, flexing, and even standing. Keeping muscles nice and flexible contributes to less pain and better overall health.
  1. Poor Alignment
    When a person’s back is out of alignment they can experience a lot of pain, especially if the hips are out of alignment. If the bones are not in the proper position, pressure is put upon other bones, as well as the muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Chronic pain or occasional spasms in the neck, ribs, lower back and hips can occur when a person is out of alignment.
  1. Arthritis
    Someone suffering from osteoarthritis can experience stiffness and pain if they stand in one place for a long period of time. For instance, if someone works at a coffee counter and has to stand most of the time, they can easily develop pain. Healthline.com recommends that these people sit when they can and move around as often as possible. Standing in one place puts pressure on all joints, as well as the back.
  1. Disc Problems
    Pain while standing for hours could be a symptom of a herniated disc. The disc is the soft cushion that sits between each vertebra and is what allows the spine to move fluidly. When a disc is herniated, the cushion bulges out from in between the vertebras. This can happen when discs begin to flatten or they become weak and begin to tear. Bulging discs put pressure on the nerves running along the spine, causing pain. Activities as simple as sitting, standing and sneezing can cause a tremendous amount of pain. Rest tends to ease the pain.
  1. Lumbar Issues
    Lumbar problems, like a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease, can cause lower back pain when standing for long periods of time. Muscle strain, microscopic tears, or overstretched ligaments can all contribute to lumbar issues. Spine-Health.com points out that in many cases lumbar issues tend to affect people between the ages of 30 and 60 years old.
  1. Spinal Stenosis
    Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spine. This puts pressure on the spinal cord, resulting in pain, numbness and tingling. Some people, however, have no symptoms. Stenosis is often related to osteoarthritis. According to WebMD.com, this condition occurs mostly in the neck and lower back.

People with Back Pain Don’t Have to Keep Suffering

Anyone who experiences back pain while standing for hours, or even just minutes, doesn’t need to keep suffering. Chiropractors, doctors and physical therapists can work together to find a diagnosis and work out a treatment plan. With chiropractic adjustments, stretching exercises and other forms of treatment, those suffering with lower back pain can find relief.

Back pain can be extremely debilitating. If you’re experiencing back pain after you stand for hours or even minutes at a time, contact us as soon as possible. We can help you find a diagnosis and treatment plan that will give you relief.

How to avoid strained relationships when dealing with chronic back pain

Chronic back pain does not only affect an individual’s life and force them to deal with pain every day, it also affects their relationships with their family, friends, their spouse and their children. Interactions with these people in their lives can be changed in both small and large ways as a result of not only the physical limitations but the emotional struggles that come with this type of pain.

The Connection Between Pain and Emotion

When back pain becomes chronic it becomes more than a physical feeling. Emotions become affected too. Every facet of daily life is impacted. Many people with chronic back pain are unable to sleep well and some even lose their appetite. Inability to perform certain tasks can be stressful for the individual, leading to irritability, anxiety and depression. Pain affects an individual’s thoughts and feelings, and is not just physical. The worse the pain is, the more it can affect emotion.

According to Web MD, the emotional and physical stress of living with chronic pain causes almost a third of people in constant pain to become clinically depressed. Approximately 75% of individuals who are receiving treatment for depression report physical symptoms such as pain. Since pain can lead to emotional stress, emotional stress can also cause pain. Limited movement and emotional stress can affect the individual’s personal relationships in the following ways.

Stronger Bonds

Some people with chronic back pain experience improvements in their relationships, particularly with a spouse or partner, because they are facing a challenge together. Some couples work and do research together on various treatments or specialists available. They may spend more time together going to health appointments or staying at home. Some people with chronic back pain are fortunate to have spouses, partners, friends and family that come together to make their life easier and more manageable, resulting in stronger bonds being formed in their relationships.

However, many people are not so fortunate.

Chronic Back Pain can Disrupt Relationships

  • Lack of Support from Friends and Family.

    As mentioned earlier, those who suffer with persistent back pain are extremely likely to become unhappy and distressed. This can cause tension to build up in their relationships, especially with a spouse, a partner or a caregiver. Some caregivers become overwhelmed by their loved one’s suffering and sadness, and have challenges providing support. This tends to leave the person in pain feeling like they are not receiving enough support, and thus begins a cycle. Persistent back pain can disrupt relationships by limiting what couples can do together, as well as affect the quality of time spent together. Something else that may cause lack of support is that the care-giving partner may simply not realize the extent of the back pain the person is feeling. If the person with the back pain continues to perform activities as usual or if they do not communicate their distress, the care-giver may not realize their partner’s need for support. They simply assume the person is alright.

 

  • Back Pain and Negative Thinking.

    Many people who suffer with persistent back pain begin to feel and think negatively about their lives and relationships. This often results in added tension and stress which can leave both partners frustrated and angry. The caregiver may find it difficult to deal with their partner’s negativity and sadness, and may be unsure of how to provide support. The person in pain may start to feel like they are not receiving sufficient support or encouragement and so the vicious cycle of unmet needs begins again.

 

  • Poor Communication Between Both Parties.

    The person living with this back pain has to be able to sufficiently convey their level of pain to the caregiver partner. Poor communication may result in the caregiver partner underestimating or overestimating their back pain, causing them to provide the support their partner needs. Frequent under- and over-estimation, as well as exaggeration of pain, increases the chances of needs not being met, as well as frustration or anger. Misunderstandings, disagreements and negative feelings can creep up over time causing both parties to become withdrawn.

 

How to Improve Relationships When Chronic Back Pain is Involved

  • Find a Way to Communicate Better.

    People living with continuous back pain have to find a way to effectively communicate how they are feeling. People tend to feel estranged from those who suffer with persistent back pain if that person remains silent. At the same time, giving out too much information can cause them to feel helpless, depressed or overwhelmed. A communication balance should be found, keeping in mind that each person is different.

  • Continue to Interact with Friends and Family.

    People suffering from back pain should not let it affect the time they spend with family and friends. They should strike a balance between pain management and constant activity and avoid cancelling plans with the people in their lives.

  • Household Responsibilities.

    Even though people with back pain are unable to perform the heavy duty chores around the house, they can still take on other more manageable chores that are easier on the back. This will show friends and family a willingness to contribute to the household, and will keep the individual feeling positive about being active in the home.

  • Ask for Help When Needed.

    Sometimes people are unsure of how to help their loved one who is in pain as they fear they may offend them. Giving family and friends the opportunity to help can make them feel useful and more helpful. There is no need for the individual with back pain to suffer in silence when help can be given.

 

Chronic back pain can be extremely frustrating. How an individual deals with managing their pain and its physical and emotional effects determines whether they control the pain – or it controls them. Open communication – on both sides – with family and friends can help significantly. Assumptions can causes rifts and frustration between people. Back pain is frustrating on its own, so having and maintaining a healthy support system is crucial.