Women and physicians alike will tell you that big breasts cause back pain, although there are those who believe otherwise and blame back pain on poor posture, which can be remedied without undergoing surgery.
Large breasts increase the stress on the spine because the breasts are putting uneven pressure on the upper torso. Gravity makes the front of the body pull to the front, which is contrary to the normal kyphotic curve of the middle spine. Small women with large breasts are even more likely to suffer from back pain because the weight is limited to a smaller area of the back. Large breasts can result in the normal curve of the spine straightening out and creating muscular pain that is widespread.
Women who are suffering from back-related pain become more sedentary because movement of their breasts when they exercise aggravates the back muscles that are already inflamed.
A mammaplasty, which is breast-reduction surgery, can resolve back pain, according to the Mayo Clinic, but this surgery is not to be taken lightly. A woman shouldn't consider doing it until after she's finished having children because she may not be able to breastfeed afterward. Damage to the breast tissue and nipple may occur as the result of the surgery, making breastfeeding impossible. A woman should also wait until she's 20-years-old before having breast reduction. By that age, the breasts have quit growing. The surgery itself is invasive. Fat and glandular breast tissue and skin are removed, which results in smaller, firmer breasts. Significant scars are the outcome of most breast-reduction operations. These scars are called anchor scars, since their shape looks much like a boat's anchor. Sometimes breast sensation is totally lost or reduced. Although this is a rare occurrence, it is possible that breast tissue can be deprived of blood and this can result in the breast tissue becoming necrotic, which is a life-threatening situation.
Non-surgical ways of dealing with back pain associated with large breasts include wearing a special bra that reduces the pressure caused by the breasts. The proper weight-reduction bra may eliminate the need for surgery. Posture therapy is also an option. Ask a physical therapist what she advises.
Disagrees With Diagnosis
Jolie Bookspan, who holds doctorates in environmental physiology and sports medicine, disagrees that big breasts are the cause of back pain. She attributes most back pain to poor posture, including, and perhaps primarily, the "forward head" position. Many people hold their heads in this position, unknowingly. She explains that if your head tilts forward, this is an injurious position and will result in neck and upper back pain. The pain will radiate across both shoulders, down the upper back, up the neck and can cause tingling and numbness in the arms. To determine if you have the forward head position, Bookspan suggests that you stand with your back against the wall. Does the back of your head touch the wall easily? If not, you may have this type of posture.
Men Have Back Pain, Too
Bookspan also points that that rounded shoulders contribute to upper back pain as can bra straps or purse straps that are cutting into your neck. She says that men have the same or higher incidence of upper back pain that women experience and that isn't due to ponderous breasts.