Large Breasts and Upper Back Pain: What’s the Connection?

Large, full breasts are a trait envied by many women. However, for some women who are naturally endowed, large breasts are a real source of discomfort and pain. When the discomfort that comes along with having large breasts is overwhelming and constant, a woman may decide to undergo a breast reduction, a cosmetic procedure that involves removing excess breast tissue and reshaping the breasts for a smaller, natural and youthful appearance.

But what exactly is the connection between large breasts and stubborn upper back pain? Below we list the reasons why large breasts may cause pain and eventually merit a breast reduction:

Causes of Upper Back Pain with Large Breasts:

1. Weak Muscles Around Chest Area
Having very large breasts can sometimes place excess weight on the chest area. If muscles surrounding your chest are not strong enough to support this weight throughout the day, severe pain can eventually ensue. Over time, this pain can make it very difficult to maintain good posture, and can even cause spinal deformity if it goes on for long enough.

2. Bra Strap Strain
Having very large breasts often causes a woman’s bra straps to dig into the skin of her shoulders due to the excess weight of the breasts. Over time, this digging into the skin can cause rashes and soreness in the area that eventually spreads to the back. Although certain bras have more supportive, comfortable straps, they may not be convenient to the woman depending on her outfit choice or her preference.

3. Excessive Skin Stretching
The skin that covers the breast area is also connected to the shoulder and back area. For this reason, the weight of large breasts can cause stretching and pulling of the skin that is felt all the way to the shoulders and back area. Over time, this can cause discomfort and ongoing pain that is felt either during strenuous activities or all the time.

Despite these symptoms, there are ways to mitigate pain that is associated with having large breasts. Below we list the ways to reduce upper back and shoulder pain associated with large breasts:

Ways to Reduce Upper Back Pain with Large Breasts:

1. Take Vitamins and Medication
Research shows that some back pain can be attributed to vitamin deficiencies. Maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D and calcium may help ease back pain by making your bones stronger and more resilient. Consult your primary care physician before altering your vitamin regimen or taking any food substitutes. Additionally, taking the occasional over the counter pain reliever can help reduce back pain whenever it arises. However, over the counter pain killers are not seen as a permanent solution to persistent back pain.

2. Wear a More Supportive Bra
Because they are specially designed, supportive bras and sports bras can help distribute and support the weight of large breasts. These can be especially for women with narrow backs who have a more concentrated distribution of weight than women whose backs are wider.

3. Strengthen your Core Muscles
By doing physical therapy or regular exercise, women with upper back pain can strengthen their core and upper back muscles. Doing so will provide more support to the area, in turn, reducing overall pain. Some popular exercise regimens include yoga and Pilates, known for their ability to strengthen and stretch muscles with minimal impact.

4. Breast Reduction Surgery
The most effective and longest lasting way to completely eliminate upper back and shoulder pain that is associated with large breasts is breast reduction surgery. As mentioned, breast reduction surgery is a cosmetic procedure that involves removing excess breast tissue and reshaping the breasts for a smaller, natural and youthful appearance. Incisions are usually made around the areola, extending straight down to the bottom of the breast and ending horizontally in the breast crease, but incisions may be more limited in cases where less breast tissue needs to be removed. After the incisions are made, the surgeon will remove excess breast gland, fat, and skin from each breast, shaping and lifting the breast throughout the process. Lastly, the incisions will be closed with sutures. Breast reduction surgery can offer women who suffer from upper back pain lifelong relief by easing back pain and making everyday activities more comfortable and enjoyable.