Along with stepping on the scale, washing dishes, and taking out the trash, getting a new bra fitting is one of the things many women hate to do. The visceral fear that we have about standing in a dressing room half naked with the sales person, waiting to find out if our bra size has increased or decreased, causes many women to go years without having a proper bra fitting. Unfortunately this has led to many muscular aches and postural problems for many women.
Long before I worked at Oahu Spine and Rehab I worked at Gap Ala Moana as a “Body Girl”. I worked in the Gap Body department which sells women’s undergarments and lounge wear. While working there I received the title of Bra Specialist and helped women to understand the importance of a proper bra fitting. I was amazed at how such a simple task of getting a woman into a properly fitting bra could help women to stand up straighter, make them look thinner, and put a smile on their face.
If your bra size is too large your breasts will not receive adequate support. Most women will then start to adjust their shoulder straps too tight.
•This will lead to too much constant pressure on your trapezius muscle.
•This can lead to neck pain and headaches
•Fully busted women will then tend to slouch forward from all of the weight.
•This can lead to inwardly rounded shoulders which will stretch out your rhomboids and also lead to tight pectorals.
•Ligaments and breast tissue can weaken and will lead to sagging breasts.
•This can also lead to a weak core and postural muscles.
•This can ultimately lead to spinal problems if left untreated.
If your bra size is too small you can also experience a variety of problems.
• Abrasions of the skin at the bust line from too tight bands.
• Restricted breathing from too tight bands.
• Scar tissue in the breast tissue from the underwire of cups that are too small.
If you’re having any of the problems listed above, make an appointment with us her in Kailua for chiropractic care or physical therapy solutions.
The anatomy of a proper bra fitting is not as scary as it may seem. Use this link for a printable tape measure http://www.sachadrake.com/INFORMATION_PAGES/Tape_Measure.htm and follow the following steps for a proper bra fitting. You can do this on your own but can be easier if you have a partner to help you.
• Either wear a non-padded bra or no bra at all.
• DO NOT raise your arms. This will expand your rib cage and give you a larger band size. You can leave your hands at your sides or place them on your hips.
• Using the tape measure, measure your torso right underneath your breasts and shoulder blades. Write down your measurement. THIS IS YOUR BAND SIZE.
• Now measure over the fullest part of your breasts and write down this measurement.
• Now subtract your first measurement from your second measurement. This is your cup size.
o Difference of 1 = A cup
o Difference of 2 = B cup
o Difference of 3 = C cup
o Difference of 4 = D cup
And so on an so forth
To ensure a proper fit follow these guidelines:
• Lean forward to let the breasts fill the cup and then come up and fasten the band
• Fasten the band on the middle hook. This allows room for growth and room for loss.
• Make sure the centerplate is flat and flush with the body. IF there is a gap, the band is too small.
• Make sure you have no gaps or wrinkling of the cups. This means the cup is too big.
• Make sure you have no breast tissue spilling over the cups (we call this “quadraboob”) as this would indicate the cup is too small.
• The straps should not indent into your shoulders. Adjust so that they are just flush.
IF you are a larger busted women then there are additional tips to help ensure a supportive fit.
• Your shoulder straps should be padded and thicker than the average bra.
• Your band should have a 3 hook series instead of two.
Also remember that no two bras are made the same. Bra sizing is a great guideline to follow but you may find that some bras (strapless, different brand) just may not fit the same. In these instances you can cross-size your bra. This means you can go up a band size and down a cup size. Or you can go down a band size and up a cup size. So in theory a 36B is the same as wearing a 38A. But when you try them on make sure you follow the same guidelines for a proper fit.
So, as we say goodbye to Breast Cancer Awareness month, do not forget to take care of your ladies and get a bra fitting every six months, or if you lose or gain a significant amount of weight, or if you are pregnant or nursing. Here at Oahu Spine and Rehab we want to help you avoid injury and strain to your body as much as possible.