Just as we might have a health check-up at the dentist or doctor, a session with your Osteopath can review and improve your physical wellbeing – particularly considering the unique back care needs of women.
When considering women and back pain the bra isn’t an item of clothing many of us immediately associate with health. However recent studies have shown how important your bra can be to the wellbeing (or detriment) of your posture and spine.
If you are suffering from shoulder tension, arm pain, headaches, chest or back pain then your bra choice may be part of the problem. In fact, many women wear incorrectly fitted bras that are actually causing their body damage.
Think about the bra you’re wearing today for example. How did you achieve your bra size? Were you fitted? Or did that size you’re wearing simply ‘seem right’ when you tried it on? Or maybe you were once fitted 10 years ago and you have grown since then, lost weight or had a child and are still wearing that same size? If you weren’t properly fitted by a professional you could be wearing the wrong size.
As women we love to think our cup size is larger and our chest circumference smaller than they really are. But by making this mistake the damages may be greater than we imagine. Studies over the past decade have shown that a poorly fitted bra may cause back pain, spinal restriction, decreased lung function and even breast cancer, due to the restriction causing decreased lymph drainage around the area.
A recent study in 2006 by Osteopath, Amedea Incorvaia, at the British College of Osteopathic Medicine researched the effect of cup size on the thoracic spine range of movement and its effects at the level of the bra strap, proving that the subjects with bigger cup sizes and smaller circumferences were more likely to have back pain and spinal restriction at the level of the bra strap. The main culprit for the symptoms however remained not being correctly fitted.
It is essential that your bra fits well. If it is too loose, it is not supportive enough and if too tight and restrictive, it can lead to decreased lung function, back pain and loss of spinal movement.
The study showed that the larger the cup size the more the incidence of decreased spinal range of movement. But no fear, wearing a bra that is correctly fitted can help support the spine and the surrounding muscles reducing the likelihood of muscle spasm that may contribute to spinal restriction. So its all about correct support. So why not get fitted today?
This message is not solely for bigger cup sizes however. Incorvaia’s study showed it was the smaller cup sizes who did not take interest in being fitted correctly, showing that more than 50% of subjects below a cup B were incorrectly fit. Many of them reported back pain. Overall, 41% of subjects were incorrectly fit. 59% of those incorrectly fitted were found to have reduced range of movement at their bra strap level in the spine.
London-based osteopaths, Posture Dynamics have specialized in treating back pain and rib problems that occur as a result of ill fitting bras. It’s that mid-back crushing pain that you can never seem to get rid of no matter how much you stretch or massage. Or maybe it’s the shoulders that get sore due to the weight of the breasts tied with the need to keep tightening those straps since the cup and circumference are incorrect and not supporting the back and breasts sufficiently. If you don’t suffer from back pain but you haven’t been fitted, Posture Dynamics strongly recommend a consultation anyhow, which will include a correct bra fitting and a spinal check to examine its health.