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When chronic low back pain is a problem for women with large breasts, there are a number of options that can provide relief. Even when pain is not an issue, there are other health benefits of choosing a breast reduction in Houston or the surrounding area, leading more than 69,000 people in the United States to choose this surgical option each year.1

Technically known as mammaplasty, a breast reduction and lift procedure removes excess tissue and skin from the breasts and also offers a lift at the same time. By bringing the body into balance, this procedure can remove strain on the neck, upper spine, and lower back.

Plus size woman in red dress with pain in her back on gray

Changing your proportions can improve the way you move, stand, sit, and sleep. Let’s explore the reasons large breasts can cause back pain, why breast reduction can help, when the right time is to consider this option, and some other steps you can take to relieve discomfort.

Why Do Large Breasts Cause Back Pain?

When the body is out of balance, additional stress is put on the muscles and ligaments that support the neck, spine, and pelvis. Repetitive motions and poor posture add additional strain, causing inflammation and pain.

Having breasts which are larger than proportional may cause these issues:

  • Chronic pain in the neck, upper spine, or lower back
  • Spinal curvature and even permanent deformity
  • A forward posture that adds additional strain to the joints
  • Nerve pain or numbness caused by pressure on vertebrae and discs
  • Recurring rashes and skin irritation under the breasts
  • Pain and pressure on the shoulders from over-burdened bra straps
  • Difficulty exercising or engaging in sports
  • Feeling self-conscious about one’s appearance or being teased
  • Difficulty finding clothing that fits well

Who Should Consider Breast Reduction Surgery?

Studies show that cup sizes of D and above are likely to cause back pain, impact posture, and alter the curvature of the spine.2 Of course, every woman’s proportions are unique, and these types of issues can also happen to those with smaller cup sizes in combination with smaller frames.

By offering a permanent solution, breast reduction surgery offers excellent results in most cases. In a recent study of women with cup sizes of DD or larger, 50% reported chronic back, neck, or shoulder pain. After breast reduction, only 10% continued to report these symptoms.2

With results so dramatic, this pain-relieving surgery may offer improved quality of life and prevent further damage for women silently suffering from this unavoidable chronic pain. Bringing everything back into balance may be the best answer.

How Does Breast Reduction Help Relieve Pain?

Reducing the size and weight of the breasts through breast reduction surgery can help restore normal function and reduce the symptoms women experience by:

  • Improving posture and reversing unnatural curvature of the spine
  • Relieving pressure on bulging discs and vertebrae
  • Reducing pressure on the spinal cord and compressed nerves
  • Lessening the weight carried on the shoulders by bra straps
  • Increasing the individual’s ability to exercise vigorously
  • Improving overall mobility and balance

mature woman suffering from backache at home

Other Factors That May be Involved in Causing Back Pain

Of course, there are other contributing factors that can cause back pain. Any of these might be made worse by having larger breasts.

Some of the related causes that might be involved include:3

  • Being overweight, which puts additional stress on the muscles and joints
  • Pregnancy, with the additional weight, posture changes, and the hormonal surges it causes
  • Wearing a bra which is not the right size, or which has narrow straps
  • Chronically poor posture or inactivity, especially spending long periods in a sitting position
  • Injury or irritation of nerves as a result of an injured, bulging, or herniated disc
  • Deteriorating bone conditions such as osteoporosis, which become more common with age

Other Benefits of Breast Reduction

Just as there are individual reasons and motivations to consider any type of plastic surgery, women choose breast reduction for reasons other than back pain. Just some of the benefits and motivations that can be realized are:

  • Feeling lighter and enjoying sports like volleyball or jogging with improved performance
  • Being able to stretch and reach farther, which, in turn, leads to greater mobility and better balance
  • Having an increased sense of self-confidence in appearance, feeling “normal,” and being able to shop popular clothing brands
  • Restoring healthy skin and healing of chronic rashes in the fold below the breasts
  • Experiencing a lifting effect, combined with better symmetry in breast size

Is This the Right Time to Schedule a Breast Reduction Procedure?

A breast reduction surgery is not always the answer for all who are looking to gain these benefits. Some people are not good candidates due to the timing of life events or health considerations.

Some reasons you might be advised to wait to have surgery or to consider other options might be:4

  • If you smoke or are very overweight (medically obese) – Due to medical risks associated with these factors, you might be advised to avoid aesthetic surgery.
  • If your breasts are not yet fully developed – While some breast reduction doctors will allow teenagers to have breast reduction surgery with parental consent, a follow-up procedure may be needed in adulthood.
  • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant – While this procedure can preserve the future ability to breastfeed, some women prefer to wait until their family is complete.
  • If you are planning weight loss surgery or a change in diet and lifestyle that might drastically reduce your breast size – Having a breast lift after the weight loss is complete may yield the best results.

young african american woman

Lifestyle Changes That Support Healing After Breast Reduction Surgery

While reducing the strain on the back by reducing the weight of the breasts can have a dramatic effect on chronic back pain, making the most of your newfound agility and balance also depends on doing the right things after your procedure. These tips can help reduce discomfort while you wait for surgery or after it is complete:

  • Avoid overexertion, sprains, and muscle strains, which can cause back spasms and pain.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in calcium and magnesium to support bone health.
  • Exercise with low impact activities to reduce stress on joints, especially swimming and water-based activities.
  • Discuss medications with your doctor to manage pain during healing or while waiting for surgery.
  • Try customized or specialized bras which have wide straps and a broad band that fits tightly around the body to distribute weight evenly.
  • Work with a physical therapist or personal trainer to lose weight, enhance flexibility, and improve posture.
  • Try weight training to improve balance, increase bone density, and strengthen your core.
  • Consult with a back doctor, chiropractor, or massage therapist to investigate all of your options for treatment.

Connecting with an Award-Winning Breast Surgeon in Houston

When it comes to your health, your quality of life, and your self-confidence, making a fully informed decision comes first and is foremost. At the Houston Center for Breast and Body, our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons will offer all the latest techniques and let you know about all of your options.

From a simple aesthetic surgery to microsurgical reconstruction techniques, we have the expertise to bring your vision to reality. There is no better team to trust with your breast reduction in Houston or the lone star state of Texas. Contact us at 713-893-1109 today and schedule a consultation to find your perfect balance, create your ideal proportions, and find relief from chronic back pain caused by too much of a good thing.

Sources:

  1. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/documents/News/Statistics/2017/plastic-surgery-statistics-report-2017.pdf
  2. https://www.everydayhealth.com/back-pain/back-pain-and-breast-size.aspx
  3. https://www.womenshealth.northwestern.edu/blog/do-bigger-breasts-cause-more-back-pain
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/breast-reduction-surgery/about/pac-20385246

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