It’s not just an old wives tale. Wearing the wrong bras or bras that are poorly fitted can cause bas posture.
In this article I’ll guide you through what issues may arise long term, the science behind why poor bra choices will cause bad posture, what do to if you have poor posture and why you need to talk to your daughters about how to prevent this issue.
Postural problems caused by bras
While wearing bras that don’t offer enough support can have a range of long term issues, the most common postural problem associated with this is a hunching forward of the shoulders or Thoracic Kyphosis.
WHY wearing your bra badly will cause bad posture
If your bra isn't supporting the weight of your breasts...
If your bra isn’t supporting the weight of your breasts then the weight of the bust will put an increased force across the chest and can lead to a tightening of the pectoreal muscle group, pulling the shoulders forward and rounding the top of the spine (referred to as hunching or “thoracic kyphosis”).
Obviously the heavier the bust, the more force that will be applied across the front of the body. This will lead to more extreme kyphosis, or more rapidly occurring issues.
What is a "bad bra" that may cause bad posture?
Wearing your bras badly doesn’t always just mean that the bra is cheap and nasty. Sometimes, even wearing well made expensive bras can be worn incorrectly resulting in poor outcomes.
For a bra to support our breasts, it needs to fit well. In order for the bra to take the weight of the breast it needs to fit firmly around the ribcage. This firmness ensures that the bra doesn’t ride up your back. If a bra rides up your back then the front will droop low -it’s called the see-saw effect and it is simple physics.
For our breasts to be well supported, and subsequent force reduced across our chest wall, the band that runs around our ribcage must sit firm and low.
This is the bit that most ladies get wrong and where buying bras gets complicated. Remember, it’s not all about how much you are paying for the bra, but how the bra is fitting.
Features to looks for in a bra for bad posture
Beyond getting the fit right, there are some features you want to look for in a bra that will contribute positively to posture.
- A full support style back, designed to give extra strength to the back and resist forces across the chest OR
- Cross back straps designed to gently retract the shoulders
What to do if your posture has been effected by your bra?
If postural issues have been left to run rogue for a long period it’s very unlikely significant improvements will be made through manual therapy or exercise. But it’s always worth a try. And a good practitioner will also give you tips to living with postural issues.
Treatment will include:
- Massage of the chest and shoulders to loosen soft tissue
- Physiotherapy to mobilise the thoracic spine
- Self massage (eg spikey ball) to release the pec muscles
- Stretches to open the chest
- Back strengthening exercises, targeting the upper back
- Lumbar roll used to support you when sitting
- Changing daily activities to reduce load across the front of the body (eg less computer time)
- Getting fitted properly for a bra (of course!)
Prevention is always best. Tell your daughters.
There is no doubt about it, prevention is the best cure when it comes to protecting our posture and alignment.
Talk to your daughters about the issues you’re having and how you know now that you could have prevented this.
Tell them to have their bras fitted professionally and to ensure they keep their body strong and active throughout their lives. Poor posture is only one issue that will arise from an inactive life and a body that hasn’t been treated well over the years.
Best Bras for rounded shoulders
These bras all have either raceback/cross back straps designed to gently retract shoulders OR have a full back support design to work against the shoulders pulling forward.
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