Most of us take bra discomfort for granted. But the truth is, you’re probably wearing the wrong bra size. The right bra size should make you look and feel good. But the wrong bra size can have lasting negative health effects.
Signs you’re wearing the wrong size
- The underwire pokes up or curves up around your breast. This means the band or cup is too large.
- The underwire is resting on your breast instead of directly under it. This means the cup is too small.
- The bra cup does not fit perfectly over your breast. Having a smaller cup size does not minimize the bust, and it certainly adds to the discomfort. If you see the bra pushing into the breast flesh, you might want to go a cup bigger.
- There’s too much space between the bra band and your torso. Space creates friction, and friction causes discomfort. It also takes away a lot of the support, because the underband is actually doing a lot of the support work. You might want to drop down a band size
Breast pain is never something to ignore. Even if you’re used to pulling long days and late nights, it is more usually to feel pain in areas with more muscle support. So if you’re having breast pain, you can’t ignore it.
One of the causes of breast pain, although we tend to forget it, is a wrong-sized bra. Bras support the fatty breast tissue that would otherwise pull down on our shoulders. If our bras are too loose, they don’t provide any support, and our shoulders and backs pick up the slack and cause breast pain. If our bras are too tight, they compress the breast and make them sensitive.
Two kinds of bra misfittings can lead to back pain. The first is if your bra band is too loose or th cups are too large. If your breasts don’t have enough support, they will pull on the shoulder tissue and skin. The back skin and muscles, which support the shoulders, will also be strained as they struggle to hold up your bust.
Alternatively, if your bra is too tight, you’ll notice that the bra straps are pulling down on your shoulders, and also that there is pain in the bust area. When we feel pain, our bodies automatically try to relieve pressure in the area. In this case, our shoulders will hunch or curve to lessen the tension, causing bad posture and putting strain on our spines.
Premature (or excessive) sagging
As we age, our breasts respond to gravity and other forces to sag. But if it seems they are sagging too early or too quickly, your bra might be too large in the cup or the underband. If you want to prevent this from happening, it might be time to check your bra size.
Shoulder and neck pain
If your underband size and cup size are correct, why are you still experiencing pain especially in your shoulders? The problem might be something called “bra strap syndrome.” This happens when your bra straps are too narrow or too tight.
Bra straps don’t actually exist for support. They are supposed to keep your bra in place. If you try to overcompensate weak breast support with tight straps, the straps will cut into and compress the veins and nerves in your shoulders. You will experience pain in your shoulders, neck, and even in your arms.
Blocked lymph nodes
What’s the worst that could happen with a tight bra? Well, your lymph nodes might get blocked. Your lymphatic vessels help lymph and white blood cells travel around to heal the body. If your bra is too tight, it might pinch the vessels together until they close. Swelling and pain can result from blocked lymph nodes.
It can ruin your posture
Bad posture can be caused by any number of reasons. Stress, lack of sleep, sadness, long hours in one position. However, one more thing that can affect your posture is your bra. If your bra does not fit properly, you will continually adjust your posture to overcompensate for the lack of support or the tightness.
If you are working long hours in one position, at a desk job or behind a counter for example, the wrong bra size will just keep putting pressure on your shoulders and back. The longer the hours, the more tired you are, the more you will try to adjust to your bra, and your back posture can be ruined.
It’s time to say “enough” to ill-fitting bras. While taking the time to measure our own busts carefully can seem like too much work, the returns on investment are priceless. Literally. By wearing the right bra size, we can prevent multiple health problems from even happening.