Is Your Bra Causing Back Pain? It Could be the Wrong Size

24/7å¨ Classic T-Shirt Bra by ThirdLove

Back pain sucks. It might be because your bra does too. A bra that fits you just right can change everything. From how you look in every outfit to how you feel when you’re not wearing it. We’ll explore all the reasons why your bad bra could be causing you back pain. Plus, we’ll give all the tips on how to tell if you’re wearing the right size.


Why Does My Back Hurt?

For anyone who has larger breasts, you’re always going to need extra support to keep your breasts from weighing you down. When your breasts aren’t supported properly there are lots of issues that come from it. One of them is your posture. If the bra you’re wearing isn’t supporting your breast tissue, that extra weight is put on your shoulders and back. That distribution of weight causes you to hunch over and create a curve in your neck and back. Misalignment with your shoulders and back creates that discomfort you’ll feel even when doing the smallest things like bending over or picking something up. If you do get fitted and find a better bra that supports your breast tissue, you’ll likely sit up straighter and feel the tension ease up.


Signs Your Bra Size Might Be Wrong

Back pain is a good indicator that your bra size might be the wrong one. But here’s the thing: you do not have to wait until you get back pains to realize you are wearing the wrong bra size. There are telltale signs that indicate that your bra might not be the right fit for you.

The band is one of the most important parts of a bra when it comes to offering support. It should take most of the weight. If your bra band is riding up your back, it is a clear sign that the bra is too loose. This points to a band size that’s too big. Conversely, a band that digs in or feels uncomfortably tight will create pressure on your back and shoulders and restrict your breathing.

Another thing to keep on the lookout is your bra straps. If your straps dig into your shoulders, they may be too tight or carry too much weight. When you remove your bra, you may notice red marks or indentations on your shoulders. This often happens when the bra band is too big, causing the straps to bear the brunt of the breast support. It, in turn, transfers the weight to your shoulders, which can lead to your bra causing back pain. They shouldn’t be slipping off either; they should be adjusted to the right tension.

Do your breasts bulge out of the cups, or are the cups gaping at the top or sides? An ill-fitting bra often results in spillage or bulging around the cup or underarms. Your bra cups are the part that holds your boobs in place. It is, therefore, imperative that they fit smoothly without any gaps or spillage. 

Ultimately, discomfort is one of the most apparent signs that your bra size is off. Do you find yourself constantly fiddling with your bra throughout the day? If your bra feels too tight and restricting, it is likely too small. Does your bra distort the natural shape of your breasts? It could be a sign that you are wearing the wrong bra size. Conversely, if it rides up and keeps moving around the body, it might be too big.


How Should My Bra Straps Fit?

Your bra straps shouldn’t slide off of your shoulders to start. Most wired bras or better wireless designs have adjustable sliding clips attached to the straps so you can easily tighten or loosen them. When you put on a new bra it’s important that you make sure you tighten the straps enough so they’re not slipping off of you, but not too tight. You should still be able to slip a finger underneath your straps.

While having your straps tightened so they hold comfortably on top of your shoulders, your straps aren’t the only part of your bra that’s supposed to support you. In addition to your bra straps, the cups should to do their share of keeping your breasts in place. If your bra cups aren’t fitting properly, your breasts can slip under the wire or bulge out. So be sure to check your straps are comfortably adjusted to fit and not slip. And get a bra fitting to make sure your cup size is right. You might not be a full cup size, you might be in between which is why we have half cup sizes for most of our bras. Take our Fitting Room Quiz and find out here.


Can a poorly fitting bra cause back pain?

If your breasts aren’t held and supported from top to bottom then you’ll notice extra movement and adjustments. You shouldn’t need to constantly adjust your bra after you first put it on. The best bras are ones you don’t feel when you’re wearing them. They support you all day long and stay in place. When your breasts are held in place and supported, then it won’t mess with your back, neck, shoulders, or anything else. Bottom line — a poorly fitting bra, especially if you haven’t been refitted since you’ve gotten older or been pregnant, can cause back pain.

For women who are above a C cup and into the DD and G cups, we know that you have quite a bit to support. Not only should your straps be tightened but you’ll probably also need wider straps that are padded so they don’t dig in and cause you to hunch forward. Full coverage bras are there to give you more support all around, including higher sides (wings), and cups that offer more coverage.


Can I Just Not Wear a Bra?

Of course you can. If you have larger breasts you might find it uncomfortable to not wear a bra, so we suggest trying something like a better wireless bra that supports and smooths. We love our Form Wireless Bra, made with the softest material that keeps you supported without the wire. Not wearing a bra is fine when you’re not moving around too much, but not wearing one long term can leave you to deal with gravity. And gravity is unkind to our breasts. When we leave our boobs unsupported the tissue can start to stretch from the added weight and sag. We have an article that goes into much more detail about breast sagging and not wearing a bra here.



Importance of a Professional Bra Fitting

Finding the perfect, comfortable bra isn’t always straightforward, especially with the vast array of bra styles and sizes. This is where professional bra fitting comes in. While many women underestimate the importance of a professional bra fitting, it is not just about finding the “right” size. It is about understanding your unique body shape, needs, and breast type and finding the bra that best works for you. While a bra size chart is a fine last resort, we recommend visiting a professional fitter that can help you consider all the factors at play for the perfect fit. 

With a professional bra fitting, you can be assured of accurate measurements. Professional fitting considers various factors, such as breast shape and tissue distribution. You can visit any of our ThirdLove stores to get fitted for your perfect bra by our experts!

Thanks to their experience, the best professional bra fitters are like bra physicians and experts in their specialities. Every body is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. A professional fitter can analyze your current bra problems and recommend a bra that will address any specific concern you may have, whether it’s back pain from bra straps digging in, discomfort from underwires, or inadequate support for larger cup sizes. They can save you time in the fitting room, and their professionalism makes the experience more pleasant. Plus, beyond the fitting itself, professionals can educate you on proper bra care, maintenance and replacement to optimize its lifespan and effectiveness.


How to Keep Your Bra from Hurting Your Back

The easiest way to get rid of back pain is to first get yourself a bra that fits your body. When you’ve lost weight, had a child, or it’s been a while since you’ve last checked your bra size and your bra just doesn’t fit right, you want to check on that fit. You’ll want to again check the straps, that they’re tightened so they’re not slipping. You want to also be sure that your breast is within the cup and that you’re not overflowing or there isn’t too much space in the cup. If your straps are tightened and you’re fitting in the cup, then check your band. When you get a new bra, you should hook it on the last hook so you don’t stretch it out. Even on this last hook, your bra should fit snugly but not too tight; you should be able to get two fingers comfortably underneath the band.

While there are so many other things that can cause back pain, finding the right bra that fits can take care of some of the weight from your breasts and hold you in place. Once you’re supported and your back is aligned, no shoulders hunching forward, you’ll notice some of the tension ease. Your back alignment is important, so having a strengthened core couldn’t hurt in addition to a better fitting bra. Once you have the right bra on, give yourself a few days to feel the adjustment in your body as you redistribute the weight in your chest as your bra gets to work. If you’re someone who stays fairly active it’s important to wear the right bra for the right activity like a sports bra. So in addition to your everyday bra, we recommend getting activewear that can support any jumping or running so your breast tissue doesn’t pull or bounce around.

So now you know it’s your bad bra that’s causing you back pain, go ahead and toss it so you can get the bra you deserve. Get a bra that supports you and makes you look and feel great every single day. It’s possible. In fact, you can try our 24/7® Classic T-Shirt Bra free for 60 days just to see what we mean. Here’s to saying bye bye to back pain and finding a bra you’ll love that loves you back.