Boobidoobs and Back Pain
Big, small, droopy, perky, implant or prosthetic - let’s talk boobidoobs!
I’m not a big shopper although I do quite like a couple of hours checking out the independent shops on a city break to find something a bit more unusual. However, underwear shopping is a different story and so yesterday I headed off to a big shopping centre in search of the perfect underwear that was the right colour (I like to coordinate my underwear to my clothes - don’t judge me!), made me feel good (a little sexy while holding my tummy in), but comfortable at the same time. I know - BIG ASK! I’d like to say I ticked all those boxes but let’s be honest, it’s difficult to find underwear that ticks them all which is why lockdown was so great because I just didn’t bother wearing a bra and I know many of my patients felt the same way too. 😉😊
I know I’m one of the lucky ones with just a B cup size because breast size can certainly have an impact on your back, neck and shoulders and I’ve seen many women struggling as a result.
Upper Back Pain
Large, heavy breasts change your centre of gravity or normal body alignment by shifting it forwards. The resulting postural change can pull your upper body forward, which can cause continuous tension on the neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles.
Your shoulders may roll forward too, which will cause your head to be dragged forwards by the connecting muscles, adding more strain to the upper back and even to your jaw. Throw in the downwards drag of bra straps and the less than attractive grooves they cause over the shoulders and it’s no wonder so many women have upper back pain.
More bad news…
As you age and lose elasticity in the breast tissue, the droop can also cause additional changes to your posture.
Low Back Pain
All too often the focus is on the upper back because the effect there is more obvious however larger breasts also affect the lower back too.
Changes in centre of gravity mean the muscles in your low back have to work harder to counterbalance the additional weight up front, otherwise you’ll be falling forwards all the time. The body often does a great job of adapting, one being an increase in the curve in your low back (lordosis).
Boobs are not the Only Issue
It became more difficult for me to find a well fitting bra while pregnant with Clarry. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m just over 5 foot, 5 foot and a quarter to be exact (the quarter makes all the difference 😉). Being short meant that as Clarry was growing, my rib cage was forced outwards and I expanded from 34 inches to 38 inches, which ended up being a permanent change for my body and once again altered my body’s mechanics and I’m sure many of you will relate to how your body changed during pregnancy too.
How to Reduce Back Pain due to Big Boobidoobs
If you’re carrying excess weight, this may be contributing to the weight in your breasts too. Any additional breast weight will contribute to extra strain on your back and the pain you’re experiencing,
Stretch the shoulder girdle muscles
When I returned to exercise (stretching in particular) my bra strap grooves began to reduce (even though I have smaller breasts. It just goes to show that we can wrongly assume and associate certain things that happen to the body.
The key muscles to stretch include the pectoral muscles but anything that stretches the muscles around the shoulders will help.
Strengthen the back muscles
Strengthening the back muscles adequately to draw the shoulder blades back and rotate the shoulders out again.
YWTL Exercises are particularly useful when done consistently.
Good muscle tone is the combination of both strength and flexibility and is vital to reduce the strain over your neck and shoulders by combining the two.
Wear a well fitting bra
All too often I see poorly fitting bras with crazy tight back straps that restrict chest expansion and good breathing and let’s not forget the effect that will have on blood and nerve flow in that region too.
I’ll be honest and say I don’t necessarily hold with the concept of being measured because we all know that different shops seem to be a different size and also all of us have different shaped breasts too. Below is a link to a good guide that considers a variety of breast sizes and shapes:
Let them swing free
Whenever you can, let those puppies free! Besides the obvious control provided by a bra, the downside is that they also influence blood and nerve flow to the breast tissue and surrounding areas, so some ‘down time’ can be beneficial.
The strain of larger breasts on your muscles can pull on your vertebrae and affect the nerves in that region too. Visiting your local Chiropractor or Osteopath will help release the area and provide relief.
Absolutely, you're spot on! Your body is incredibly dynamic, and as you know various factors can influence your spinal health and contribute to back pain.
Boobidoobs are a feature that make us as women unique- they are a source embarrassment when we start developing (the start of posture issues for some women), nourishment for our babies, inconvenience when running and playfulness with our significant others but they can also impact your back, posture and the pain you experience.
Your weight, bra fitting, muscle tone, posture and joint function are some of the main contributing factors to the back pain you may experience as a result of breast size. As a chiropractor and natural health pioneer, I’m well aware of the significance of addressing these issues without resorting to medication or surgery and some simple changes may be all it takes to make the difference.
Sometimes it's hard to know where to start when you're not following your GP's instructions or advice, and I know some of you will feel like you're going behind their back but I'm here to say...
I'm a Chiropractor and self confessed Natural Health Pioneer that wants to show you there are alternative options to help you recover or better manage your back pain...and lots of them!
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