Let’s face it. Large breasts aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Do they fill out a dress nicely? Sure. But they can also make it challenging to work out and make it difficult to get back pain relief.
“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,” said Everyday Health. “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.”
Women with large breasts sometimes consider breast reduction surgery in order to mitigate the pain, however there are several much less invasive ways to get back pain relief without going under the knife.
The advantage of exercise for someone with large breasts, outside of the general health benefits, is in the ability to improve your posture, which will hopefully provide back pain relief.
“A strong upper and lower back is not only important for a healthy posture, it can even alleviate pain and tissue strain in your breasts,” said She Knows. “These back exercises will keep your shoulders straight, chest lifted, and help ease some of the pressure of gravity pulling you into a slump. If your normal stance is shoulders rolled in and your upper body at a forward lean, you are increasing your risk of upper body injury and, over the long term, unnecessary strain on your breast tissue, particularly if you have large breasts. American Council on Exercise (ACE) spokesperson and fitness professional Sabrena Merrill, MS recommends upper and lower back exercises to open up your chest and pull your body into a more anatomically correct posture that will relieve the aches and pains caused by poor posture.”
You can see recommended exercises including rowing and side bridges here, but be sure to ask your spine doctor before weaving them into your routine to make sure they won’t harm your back further.
2. Weight training
Working with weights is a great way to strengthen your back as well as your core, arms, legs, and shoulders. “Strengthening exercises—including lifting weights—can tone your muscles, improve your balance and increase your bone density, which will lower your risk for osteoporosis and broken bones,” said Everyday Health.
They can also help provide back pain relief for a current injury or ailment—if you do them right. Poor form while weightlifting can be dangerous, worsening any existing pain and potentially causing serious injuries. Working with an athletic trainer is a good idea for someone who is looking to start weight training because you can explain your fitness and health goals, address your aches and pains, and use their expertise to pinpoint specific exercises for your condition.
3. Improved posture
Poor posture is a leading cause of back pain regardless of breast size, or gender, for that matter. However, larger breasts can make it more difficult to sit straight with your shoulders back. “Gravity’s forces don’t need your help. Eventually, they’ll send the girls south,” said The Nest. “Slouching simply hastens the inevitable. Postural correction creates an uplifted illusion. Mother Nature charged your core muscles with the task of stabilization. The plank exercise engages all of your stabilizers, including those surrounding your chest and shoulders.”
4. Better fitting bras
Yes, it’s true. Your bra could be the source of much of your spine pain. Studies show that up to 80% of women wear the wrong size bra, and while it may seem like the right fit would be important mainly for appearance, an ill-fitting bra can actually contribute to back pain.
“Ill-fitting bras cause greater problems for women with large breasts as this causes increased curvature and rounding of the upper back and shoulders,” said The Health Orange. “If the band around your ribs is loose, it will slowly ride higher up your back. This will allow your shoulders to roll forward, which increase stress on your upper back muscles. Experts warn that an ill-fitting and unsupportive bra can cause postural disorders and back pain as they cause the woman to slump forward in a slouched position and result in sharp or dull pain between the shoulder blades.”
The easy fix: Head into a department store like Nordstrom or a specialty lingerie shop that can give you a professional measurement, and then go home and throw out all your old bras. Yes, it’ll be painful…but not as painful as continuing to wear them. If you’re a person who likes to stay active (in spite of your back pain), be sure to pick up a few new supportive sports bras, too. As you know, exercising with large breasts is not easy, so the more supportive, the better!
5. A great back doctor
A leading back doctor can also help address your back pain and form a minimally invasive treatment plan to provide back pain relief. Contact DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain.