Today I tackle bras!

Over the years, you’ve gained weight, lost weight, perhaps had a baby, and begrudgingly endured the effects of gravity. Your body has changed since your teens and early 20s, but has your bra?

Every clinic day I see patients in underwear and every single day I admonish about bra fittings and it seemed timely, to give my penny’s worth. My patients often talk about going to the gym, exercises for backs and about correct driving and computer posture when talking about alleviating back and neck symptoms. They are often surprised when I tug at a gapping bra.

From an engineering point of view a structure will topple and have strains if it is without support! Bras are engineering challenges that have been compared in the industry to suspension bridges. In a bra, the wires, straps and other engineering features redistribute the weight in the bra to the band around the torso and challenge the forces of gravity. How much more then do they challenge your body! Women now have bigger curves and lingerie shops are now adapting to the real size of women.

With my neck and back pain patients a discussion on boobs and breathing mechanics follows – how can you breathe as intended if your shoulders are rounded in (protracted) thereby squashing your diaphragm and altering your spinal mechanics? If you are not breathing with your diaphragm you will use the accessory muscles of respiration your scalene muscles which surround your neck. And that’s were the calamity occurs so If your bra is not supportive enough, your muscles have to do all the work. Overworking causes neck pain. So I send my patients to get properly fitted by a bra fitter (personal favourite Bravissimo in Broad Street Oxford) and to follow my TSB breathing exercises. (link). At the next appointment I can guarantee delighted patients, reduced pain, better educated patients who have realised the importance of good bra and admit they feel a million dollars ( and I always get the thumbs up from partners)!