There are many factors that can contribute to bodily pain, especially as women get older - but back joint pain in particular is often rooted in external causes, one of which might be a poorly fitted bra. Knowing what to look for can therefore be of utmost importance to avoiding the condition or fixing it once it happens: read on to learn about five things you should check to avoid back joint pain.
The primary cause of bra-related back joint pain is often the underwire or under-band of the garment, whose proper fit is essential to its function. Contrary to popular belief, the underwire - not the straps - should be responsible for roughly 80% of breast support; when such is not the case, bad posture and spinal pain in particular can result. If the shoulder straps are digging in, this is a sign that the underwire is too loose. Likewise, it should be taut, but not tight.
Whereas the underwire takes the brunt of weight distribution, the shoulder straps are charged with the remaining 20% of support. They are; however, no less integral to preventing back joint pain: if they are too tight, pressure on back and neck muscles is increased, which can then lead to pressure on the joints and overall discomfort. Wider versions are best to keep them from digging into the skin.
The back strap of a poorly fitting bra is notorious for creeping up too high, and this can easily cause back joint pain over time. When the situation occurs, it is not only annoying to continuously pull it back down, but it also increases stress on the upper back, rolling the shoulders forward to induce slouching and upset spinal alignment. It is also the sign of a bra that is too small - the shoulder straps should be loosened, or a fitting should be performed for resizing.
Back joint pain can additionally originate from the centerfold of the bra, which acts as a signal for an imperfect fit. If this area routinely lifts away from the body, the cup size is too small to offer proper support, straining the back to make up for insufficient coverage and exacerbating the condition.
Every aspect of bra construction is important when trying to avoid back joint pain, and the garment's seams are no exception. Ideally, the panels of cloth will come together across the center of the shoulders, which encourages the wearer to practice better posture. Seam-free cups are also positive features for which to look. One British study from 2012 found that these qualities may provide up to 87% of women with better back support.
Back joint pain is a big enough problem without badly fitted bras to worsen the issue, so it's essential to get sized and be alert to all the possible irritants. The next time you go shopping, keep in mind the different aspects listed above, and see how quickly bad posture and discomfort can disappear.
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- Precision Chiropractic. (2014). Can back pain be caused by a poor fitting bra? Retrieved December 16, 2013, from http://www.precision-chiropractic.co.uk/blog/2013/09/06/is-your-back-pain-due-to-a-badly-fitted-bra/
- British Chiropractic Association. (2010). Marks and Spencer and British Chiropractic Association - Perfect Poise TM. Retrieved December 16, 2013, from http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/marks-and-spencer-and-british-chiropractic-association-perfect-poise-tm-146-news.aspx