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.


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