By Marcy Montgomery Jones
Itâs been said that wearing a poorly-fitting bra can do more damage than wearing no bra at all.Â Here are a just few examples of the ways in which your bra may cause discomfort and injury when itâs not sized properly for your body.
1.Â Bra straps that are too tight can, when worn over the course of many years, cause permanent indentations in the tops of your shoulders.Â If nerves become impinged, numbness may also result. Â When bra straps are too tight, theyâre bearing too much weight.Â When fitted properly, they should only be responsible for providing 10% of the breast support; 90% of the responsibility for holding your breasts at attention should be borne by your braâs band.Â If itâs loose, made of spongy fabric, or has been washed and worn so many times that its elastic fibers are breaking down, your band wonât do its job and will be your enemy, not your ally.
2.Â The wrong-sized bra can cause chronic upper back, neck, and shoulder pain.Â In some instances, a poorly-fitting bra can contribute to headaches.Â Of course, a large breast size generally makes a woman more prone to these symptoms; however, a poorly-fitting bra can exacerbate them.Â Aside from undergoing breast reduction surgery, a simple solution is to be professionally fitted and find the best bra for your body.Â The right bra will help alleviate some of this pain.
3.Â Many women experience breast pain during exercise, resulting from excessive and repetitive breast movement.Â Â Such movement, when accompanied by perspiration, can also chafe the skin.Â The solution is wearing a well-supporting compression or encapsulating sports bra.Â A sports bra should be part of every womanâs wardrobe.
4.Â A braâs itchy laces or fabrics, poorly-designed cups, elastics, hook-and-eyes, and rings and slides can all cause irritation during everyday wear.Â Such irritation can result in a range of problems, from simple discomfort to open sores.Â To help ensure that this doesnât happen to you, always try on your bra before you buy it.Â Wiggle around.Â Pretend to pick something up.Â Raise and lower your arms.Â Remember that if you feel any discomfort in the fitting room, itâll only worsen when you wear that bra all day long.
Thereâs a good rule of thumb about bra comfort to always keep in mind.Â If youâre conscious of your bra while wearing it, it probably isnât the right bra for you.Â Read our post describing the 14 signs that youâre wearing the wrong bra size, and perform your own self-evaluation to see how well your bras fit you.Â If you recognize some of the signs, I recommend going to a fit specialist and discussing your concerns with her.Â She should be able to help you find the right size and introduce you to a better, more comfortable fit.