Is your bra the source of your back pain?

Are you constantly rearranging the straps of your bra? Do your shoulders fall forward in a hunch position?

Chances are that you are among the majority of women – roughly 70 per cent – who have a poorly fitting bra, which creates posture and health problems.

The British Chiropractic Association warns the public that wearing the wrong bra can lead to multiple health issues, including back pain, restricted breathing, poor posture and breast pain.

The most common fitting mistakes are cups that are too small and bands that are loose around the back, which leads to the shoulder carrying the weight of the breasts.

A bra should be firm (but not tight) around the back and support the weight of the breasts in the mid to lower back. The back band should be roughly level with the underwire in front.

Chiropractors find that improper support for the breasts often has a negative impact on back health. An improperly fitted bra causes an ongoing strain on the upper back.

Over time this causes hunched posture that in turn stresses the upper joints and muscles creating a variety of pain syndromes.

Most women have not been professionally fitted, and settle on what simply feels ‘comfortable’ to their bodies.

Consulting a tailor or bra fitter to insure proper measurements (and cup size) is an excellent way to achieve proper support.

For some women this will mean choosing a design with fuller coverage, wider shoulder straps, and multiple possible adjustments to account for variations in breast size.

Many popular styles of bra design are not made with practical support in mind. Save the cute little fashion items for special occasions and not daily wear.

The wrong bra? • How you can tell

Take a good look at yourself in the mirror for clues your bra may be the wrong size.

The back band is riding up. When the arms are lifted over the head the band should not move;

The back band is too tight. When fastened the straps should be parallel, or in slight V-shape (depending on design). If the straps are too far apart (an inverted V) it could mean the back band is too tight. If back band is digging in it is too tight;

The shoulder straps are digging into the upper shoulders. The straps should only carry 20 per cent of the load. If the straps are digging in they either need adjusting or the under-band is too loose;

The centre of the bra doesn’t touch the body. The front centre of the bra should lie flat against the body, if not the cups could be too small;

The breast overflows out of the cup;

The bra material is wrinkled on the breasts; it should stretch firmly for proper support.

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