80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. For women, one of the most common causes of that pain is their very own body - their breasts and the bras that hold them.
Larger breasts need support so that we don't put all the strength and weight on our own backs. But when does that support hurt more than it helps?
If you've dealt with an uncomfortable bra and endless back pain as a result of the weight of your own breasts, you've probably started to wonder what type of bra is best for back pain.
Luckily, you don't have to suffer much longer. Your back woes are probably due to a combination of wearing the wrong bra in the wrong size. Let us guide you to choosing the best bra and saying goodbye to constant back pain and frustration.
What Causes Back Pain?
Most often the cause of an aching back is poor posture. Poor posture health leads to weakened muscles in the back. The weaker those muscles are, the harder time they have supporting the weight of your breasts.
Imagine your arms have to hold small weights all day long. At first, you may be able to handle it, but by the end of the day, your arms are going to be quite sore. That's what your back is going through daily holding the weight of your breasts.
Particularly if you have breasts that sag, your body will feel encouraged to naturally slouch over with the weight and directionality of your breasts. All that does is weaken your upper back muscles.
The right bra with the right fit can encourage you to hold a proper posture. The more your back gets used to standing up straight and supporting weight without bending over, the stronger the muscles of your back will become. Before long, you won't even need to think about having the right posture. It will come naturally.
If you've ever worn a backup with improperly adjusted straps, you'll know what a difference or your posture and back pain the right fit makes. A properly fitting and high-quality made bra offers support in the right places to encourage the body to hold weight properly.
The Importance of the Right Size
Avoiding back pain with the right bra isn't just about getting the right types of bra. A lot of back pain can be eased simply by wearing the right bra size.
The wrong bra size will slip around, constrict, sag, pull, and offer no support to help train your back to be stronger.
A lot of women wear the wrong size of bra because they've never been properly fitted or have an irregular size that can't be found in a lot of stores.
Some signs of an ill-fitting bra include slipping straps, loose bands, overspilling or gaping cups, and uncomfortable underwire. (More on underwire in a bit.) Of course, you'll also experience back pain after a full day of wearing an ill-fitting bra.
Worst of all, an ill-fitting bra won't just cause temporary pain and discomfort to your back. You may develop chronic back pain and cause permanent damage to your breast tissue. Preserve the beauty and health of your breasts, and start wearing the correct bra size now!
Buying a Bra In the Right Size
Now that you know the importance of wearing the right bra size, it's time to get shopping! You can go to a high-quality bra shop to get measured. Make sure that it's a place that offers custom sizes or at least has a very large size range. Some stores are tempted to lie about your bra size in order to get you to shop there.
Of course, you can always measure your bra size yourself if you know how to do it.
First, measure your band size. Bring the measuring tape snugly, directly under your breasts. Wear something only lightly lined while doing this to get the most accurate measurement. Whatever number you get is your band size.
Next measure across your breasts at the largest point. Keep the line parallel to the spot where you measured your band size. Subtract your band size from the one you get from this measurement. Every inch of that difference is your cup size.
For example, if you have a band measurement of 32 inches and a bust measurement of 38 inches, you have six inches of difference so you'd be a DDD. In other words, your bra size is 32DDD.
Are Non-Wired or Wired Bras: What Type of Bra Is Best for Back Pain?
For many years, women and doctors have been debating what type of bra is better for back pain. Some believe that wired bras must be better because the wire offers extra support. Others say that unwired is better because they support the natural shape and posture of the breasts.
Ultimately, it may come down to personal preference. Some feel better supported and comfortable in one over the other. Other people can't feel a difference at all. It's important to try several different kinds of bras and see which one encourages you to hold the best posture.
However, there are some undeniable facts about both wired and non-wired bras. Let's look at the kind of bra support offered by each.
Wired bras have a rigid piece of supportive metal sewn into the underside of the cups on the bra. Instead of your breasts pulling down on the soft fabric of the bra, they have the wire to hold them up.
Many women with larger breasts find wired bras to be the most comfortable option because they need that extra structural support instead of putting all of their breast weight onto their back and shoulders.
However, wired bras create an attractive yet unnatural shape to the breasts. Some people find that their back gets used to that extra support and doesn't learn to hold its own weight naturally. Then, every time you take a bra off (and you may want to frequently if it feels constrictive) your back will lose its proper posture and bend.
Non-wired or soft cup bras create support via their shape instead of extra metal support. A properly fitting non-wired bra can definitely still offer support as long as the straps are properly adjusted and it's made well.
There are multiple kinds of non-wired bras including bralettes and soft molded bras. Bralettes are the least supportive on the spectrum and are a popular choice among smaller breasted women who find wired bras to be overly constrictive and offer more support than they actually need.
Soft molded cups are more supportive than bralettes and offer enough support even for larger-breasted women as long as they have true cups to hold and lift each breast. Non-wired bras also tend to last longer than wired bras because the wire in bras often loses its shape over time and bends or even snaps.
Ultimately, both wired and non-wired bras can be great for posture and back health. You just need to try both and see which you prefer. However, make sure that all the bras you try are of high quality or you won't really be able to tell if one is better than the other.
Check to be sure that in your favorite bras you can always stand up with your back straight and your shoulders down and back. If you can do that, you're wearing the right bra for your back.
Sports bras are incredibly supportive and easier to fit. They should be snug but not tight. They should hold your breasts up but not allow them to bounce while you work out. The best thing about a good sports bra is that they make it practically impossible to slouch and promote good breast and back health.
When you find a sports bra that fits well, you'll instantly know it. Your breasts will feel contained, supported, and weightless.
The drawback? Sports bras offer a lot of coverage that you may not always want. If you like where shirts with thin straps, low neck lines, or anything else remotely revealing, your sports bra will be revealed too.
If you want to use sports bras to ease back pain, consider them on days when you're going to be wearing a teeshirt anyway and save your less supportive bras for other once-in-a-while occasions.
Pushup bras may be a cosmetic invention, but that doesn't mean that they don't have other benefits.
The purpose of a pushup bra is to lift the breasts to make them higher and perkier. What could be more supportive than a little lift?
They also force the body to be a little more upright, especially if you want to get their full benefits. So they mildly posture correct too which will make your back feel great at the end of the day!
Some women with larger breasts want to minimize their look, but don't underestimate the amazing supportive power of the pushup bra!
Posture Correcting Bras
What is the absolute best bra for posture health? We've gone over the importance of a well-fitting bra and the benefits and drawbacks of a couple of common bra types. But there's one kind of bra that we haven't gone over that you absolutely need if you've been experiencing breast-related back pain.
While some bras encourage or discourage proper posture, posture correcting bras actually manipulate your body in the proper position to strengthen your back and hold the weight of your breasts.
How They Work
Posture correcting bras do multiple things at once in order to relieve back pain and pressure. First of all, their cups are molded to perfectly hold each breast. They don't rely on underwire but instead on the strength of their fabric materials and the structure of the shape of the bra.
They close in the front typically which helps lift your breasts into the proper position and smooths out any bulges. Everything is contained and put into optimal placement for your body to hold the weight. Placement is everything.
The fully adjustable wide straps help to distribute weight across your shoulders instead of placing all the pressure on just a few points. This means that all of your shoulder muscles can work together to support your breasts instead of putting all the emphasis on one small group.
Finally, the shape of the straps and band of the bra actually pull your shoulders back. It's virtually impossible to slouch in this bra. You would have to bend from the middle of your back (which would be so uncomfortable anyway).
The amazing thing about posture bras is that they help you long-term. The more you wear the posture correcting bra, the more your body will be trained to hold an upright position. Soon you'll be able to wear your other bras without pain because your back will be strengthened and trained to hold your breasts with little supportive help.
There are more benefits to better posture than just decreased back pain. there's a reason that our bodies were designed to stand up straight, and you'll discover that your whole system works better when you have good posture.
You may find that you have fewer headaches, increased energy levels, stronger joints and ligaments, and increased lung capacity. There's no reason to keep wearing an unsupportive uncomfortable bra, and you have everything to gain from better posture!
The Bottom Line
As long as a bra is comfortable for you, made well, and fits in the right size, your back pain related to your breasts will decrease. However, if you're truly looking for what type of bra is best for back pain, you can't beat a posture-correcting bra. Say goodbye to backpain and get started with the best bra today!
Are you looking for your new favorite bra? Check out our hugely carried collection of bras for every body!