Ask An Osteopath: Why Do Large Breasts Cause Back Pain?



It’s no secret that women who are well-endowed usually suffer from back pain. But just why do large breasts affect the body so much?

Lorène Dawance, an osteopath at Orchard Health Clinic, explains: “The back and neck muscles have to work a lot harder than necessary to counterbalance the shift in the centre of gravity. And when muscles are overworked, there may be muscle knots and reduced bloody supply, both of which lead to pain and discomfort.”

Lorène adds that having large breasts also tend to make a woman slouch as they pull her shoulders forward, which can create greater muscular imbalance among the back, chest and neck muscles, resulting in joint restriction at the neck through the mid-back. This can as such also affect her lower back.

Reduce breast size-related back pain with exercise

Breast reduction surgery can help reduce the discomfort in a woman’s back (and neck)—but it’s a pretty invasive method and isn’t always the top choice. And if a woman is trying to lessen breast size-related pain without surgery, she can actually turn to exercise.

“Many women are ‘hypermobile’, so their muscles have to rely on more tension to hold their joints together,” says Lorène. “And if they build up stability of those joints through specific exercises, they can avoid pain.”

She points out the key to a healthy posture is good mobility, stability and strength, and recommends that a woman works with a personal trainer to maintain mobility, improve posture and gain strength and stability.

“Staying mobile and having strong joint stability is very important to reduce postural strains from large breasts,” she emphasises.

Also, get the right bra 

We know that it’s important that we wear a bra that fits—but this is especially so for women with large breasts.

“A well-fitted bra will make a big difference as it helps to distribute and support the weight,” says Lorène. “A good fit around the shoulders and the waist and bra line so there’s an even weight-distribution. Plus, it presents the straps from digging into the skin.”


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