Approximately 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong size bra, and their back and posture might be suffering from it. Bras acts like suspension bridges, as they lift, support and shape the breast, as well as influencing overall posture. With 70% of UK women suffering from back pain and 47% blaming the pain and poor posture on their breast size, it is crucial to purchase a bra that is correct in size and shape. Bras that don’t fit will affects the shoulders and chest and may cause back pain as ageing occurs. Getting a fitting every 6-months and during/after pregnancy, menopause or weight fluctuations will ensure the breast is supported at all times and reduce the possibility of back pain.
Back pain and poor posture are just two of many other negative effects of wearing the wrong size bra. Here are some health consequences of wearing the wrong size bra and some tips on how to check for the right fit.
- Neck, Back and Shoulder Pain
Larger breast sizes frequently correlate to higher risk of back pain. Larger cup sized bras are usually designed with thicker straps, to disperse the weight across the shoulders and prevent chafing. If the cup, band or straps size is incorrect, it can cause strain on the shoulders and hunching of the back, which can result in severe pain.
Tip: When shopping for bras, make sure that the band sits parallel to the floor without it riding up and that only two fingers of room are left at the back. The straps should be snug but not digging into or falling off the shoulders. The breast should be comfortably sitting and filling the cups without spilling over or the fabric creasing.
- Bad Posture
The negative effect on posture comes as a result of the shoulders and neck position used to alleviate the pain caused by a non-supportive bra. A non-supportive bra can cause pain and a result hunching of the shoulders and upper back to help alleviate that pain. While hunching of the shoulders will soothe the pain, prolonged hunching will ruin the natural posture and cause more issues later on.
- Skin Abrasions
The rubbing of too small or too tight bras on shoulders and under the breast can cause blisters and calluses to form. Small bras can also cause breast pain and the blockage of lymph nodes. Lymphatic vessels are very thin and sensible to pressure and compression. Excessive and sustained pressure on the breast can cause the failure of the lymph nodes.
Tip: Test the bra fit and tightness by looking at the movement of the band. Raise the hands above the head, if the band rises the bra is too big; while if it feels uncomfortably tight it might be too small.
- Sagging of Breasts
Loose-fitting bras fail to lift and support the breast, causing premature stretching and sagging of the breast tissue. These further aggravates hunching and ultimately the posture.
Finding the right bra can be a difficult mission. When choosing between different styles, shapes and brands, it’s hard to come up with one perfect size. The solution is to be open to trying different sizes, styles and brands, and get fitted every six months until the perfect fit is found.