Bras come in a lot of different shapes, styles, and sizes. While the problem does not lie in the shape or style you purchase, it certainly lies in the size you prefer to wear. Several studies have testified to the fact that nearly 70-80% of women wear a bra of the wrong size, thereby giving rise to potential health risks. Now, one of these health risks may or may not be chest pain. So, the question is – Can an ill-fitting bra cause chest pain? Let’s find out.

Before we get into the hows and whys of it, let us give you the straightforward answer. Yes, a tight bra can cause breast pain, which can gradually spread to your chest. Chest pain can be caused by the straps and back of your bra. These strain a particular muscle in your body known as the trapezius muscle, which is responsible for connecting your neck and shoulder to each other. Too much of applied pressure on this muscle can give rise to shoulder pain, which can eventually spread to your neck and chest as well.

Women who wear tight bras despite having large breasts can also suffer from circulatory system problems as the tightness of their bras can compress the pectoral muscles in their chest. This, in turn, can cause chest pain.

However, a tight bra is not the only reason for discomfort in the chest region. Not wearing a sports bra is to blame as a normal bra can induce not only breast pain but also breast tenderness if you indulge in physical activity. A study had revealed that while indulging in physical activity, the breasts move up to about 8 cm when a woman is wearing an ordinary bra (2). Such movement can cause both pain and tenderness. However, a sports bra can help reduce this discomfort by 80%.

How To Find Out That Your Bra Is Tight

Well, the first sign that your bra is tight is that you’ll feel it to be tight around your breasts and back. However, there are other signs that can help you decide if your bra is tight or not.

  • Your bra is barely able to hold your breasts and they spill outside the bra in various places, such as the top, bottom, as well as the sides of your bra cup. This can make your breasts appear shapeless.
  • You wear your bra on the last hook when the middle hook is supposed to be ideally comfortable.
  • There are visible bra strap marks as well as dents on your shoulder.
  • Your bra underwiring is uncomfortable to the point that it pokes as well as chokes you.
  • And, your back appears to bulge out of the back straps of your bra due to its tightness.

If most of these signs apply to you, it’s time for you to get yourself measured so that you can purchase the right bra.

So, how can you choose the right bra?

When trying on your bra, it should be comfortable in every way possible. Here are some signs you should look out for to know it’s a snug fit.

  • When you put it on, your bra should neither feel too tight nor too loose. There should be no gaps either. To ascertain it fits well, try passing two fingers through the band of your bra without pulling and tugging at it.
  • Another thing you can do is, raise your arms up and swing them around to see if your breasts stay put or fall out of the bra. If they fall out, the bra is loose. Adjust the straps of your bra and then give this another go. If it still happens, you should get a smaller bra size.
  • If you’re wearing a padded bra, your breasts should fill the bra entirely. If there’s space, it’s loose. And if your breasts spill over, it’s too tight.
  • Alternatively, you can also check how the band fits your backside. If there are visible bulges, you might want to consider getting a bigger size.
  • Lastly, when putting on an underwired bra, ideally, the wires, as well as the centerpiece of your bra, should lay flat against your chest.

If you are unsure of your size, and can’t figure out how to measure yourself on your own, you can get the help of professionals in lingerie stores who can measure you up and recommend the right bra size for you. However, before making your purchase, try the bra on to be sure you’ve picked the right one.

Although chest pain can be a sign of other illnesses, such as angina pectoris and heartburn, their symptoms will still be different from the pain caused by your bra. Therefore, wearing the right bra is very important. It can not only give you a great shape, but also prevent major discomfort and health issues.