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Do Your Large Breasts Cause Back Pain? Here’s What To Do

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F.For most people with large breasts, the association between cup size, back pain, and posture problems is not surprising. You may have neck and shoulder pain often to prove it. However, knowing that you are not alone (because you absolutely are not) can be affirmative.

A 2020 study published in Women’s Health London surveyed 269 women with different bra band and cup sizes. They found that with each larger cup size, participants were more likely to report breast-related back pain. This means that when they went up from A to B to DD and beyond, respondents were 13 percent more likely to experience pain.

This is because larger breasts can shift your center of gravity forward, creating a looser posture and putting more strain on the neck and upper back, Jessica McManus, PT, FAAOMPT, Physiotherapist, Functional Medicine Health Trainer, Owner of Full Circle Wellness PT says.

This then has a domino effect on the back muscles. These diamond-shaped and middle trapezium muscles stabilize the shoulder blades against the thoracic spine. “Due to the increased stress on the middle of the spine (thoracic spine), increased tension migrates to the neck (cervical spine), which leads to tension and fatigue in the upper trapezium muscles,” says Kristen Gasnick, PT, DPT, state-certified physician for physics therapy at Holy Name Medical Center.

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All of these help explain why your large breasts are causing back pain and why you can experience pain in your shoulders, neck, and even lower back. To alleviate these pain symptoms, there are a handful of strategies that you can incorporate into your everyday life.

1. Make sure you are wearing the correct bra for your body

According to McManus, wearing the right bra is very important when it comes to reducing chest-related back pain. Some general tips include having a professional measure you and fit your size once a year or every two years, as breast size changes frequently. Also, you shouldn’t have red spots on your skin digging into your shoulders from your straps, which means the bra is too tight and pulling down your breasts, adds McManus. You should be able to easily tuck a finger under the straps and they shouldn’t slip off your shoulders, says Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, a physical therapy doctor and pelvic floor therapist and founder of Femina PT. Straps on your bras should have at least three hooks in the back as this is a big factor in their hold, she adds.

Most importantly, if your large breasts are causing back pain during exercise, the most important thing you should do is wear a supportive sports bra, Gasnick says. She recommends one that has enough compression to support the weight of the breasts and two separate adjustable straps that allow the bra to lift the breasts without pulling the upper back and neck down too much. Racerback bras concentrate a lot of weight along the spine and on the inner shoulders near the neck, causing more pain.

According to McManus, depending on the type of exercise, it is also important that a sports bra keep the chest high and close to the body. This becomes more important for intense workouts like running than for yoga.

Unfortunately, the popular, stylish sports bras with thin straps are enough, according to Dr. Jeffcoat not off. Brands should consider offering modern supportive sports bras, but for now, high impact sports bras with wide straps and thick bands with cups that encircle your entire chest are the best option.

2. Optimize your work setup to make it more posture-friendly

When working at a computer, good ergonomic positioning can help avoid this forward leaning posture. If your large breasts are causing you back pain, and your desk structure makes you bend forward, the stress on your back can really add up. The best way to maintain a good work posture is to press your buttocks into the back of the chair and lean your back against the back of the chair for support, says McManus. Also, make sure to keep the chair upright instead of leaning back in a reclined position.

3. Take breaks if you sit a lot

Make sure you get up and take deep breaths into your lower chest every 30 minutes, adds McManus. This can help your body loosen up after you’ve been in a sitting position for a while. The deep breaths help your chest open and improve blood flow to your muscles, she adds. Shallow breaths, McManus explains, can often strain the upper pectoral muscles, such as the squalene muscles, which are sometimes fatigued from the weight of the chest.

4. Try strength exercises

If you are in pain, it makes sense to strengthen your back and shoulder muscles (if you are not actively injured). For example, Gasnick says that strengthening your back muscles can increase their tolerance of the force your chest is putting on them. Useful exercises are anything that pulls the shoulder blades back, Gasnicks adds, which is what happens when you squeeze the shoulder blades together. Common examples of these exercises are side pulls, rowing exercises, and overhead presses.

5. Stretch the affected areas

Since larger breasts can often pull your posture forward, exercises that open the front of the chest can help correct your posture, says McManus. These can look like a chest opening exercise called an “open book,” where you lie on your side on the floor and stretch your arm out, up, and over your head. This can cause the muscles in your chest to open up.

She also recommends stretches that help straighten or straighten the middle back, which are very helpful. This can be done by rolling on the foam roller, which is nice to the touch. Another example would be to stand in your door frame and put one arm against the wall and hold your arm straight out. Then take a step forward to feel a stretch in your chest muscles, according to Dr. Jeffcoat.

Ultimately, when your large breasts are causing back pain, it can be so frustrating to come up with solutions. Finding the right bra is challenging (and expensive), and improving posture isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It’s not your fault that your breasts are fatiguing your muscles! Hopefully breaking down these strategies makes them a little more approachable and gives your neck and back the break they wholeheartedly deserve.

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Women’s Health

‘An amazing resource’ | Breast and GYN Health Project helps those with cervical and other gynecologic cancers – Times-Standard

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Genie Brady spent part of her vacation in an emergency room in May 2018. Returning home to Eureka, she checked in with her doctor, then a gynecologist.

Shortly thereafter, Brady, now 41, was diagnosed with stage 1A or early stages cervical cancer.

“It was a big shock,” said Brady, who works for a mortgage loan solutions company and has an interest in Humboldt Roller Derby. “…I had moved here for school, so I didn’t have my family[here]. The support system I had was friends I had accumulated through school, roller derby and work. It wasn’t something I could talk to anyone about right away. I had just gone through a cancer situation with my surrogate who died from it and even when you catch it early there are all these feelings.”

Looking for support, Brady turned to the internet and found the Breast and GYN Health Project (BGHP), a local nonprofit that serves as a community resource for support and education for those dealing with breast or gynecologic cancer issues.

“I googled and looked for a support group and they were the first to come up, so I reached out and got all their glorious benefits,” Brady said.

The project’s services, which are offered at no cost, include a patient navigation program, support groups, information specialists, volunteers, an extensive resource library, and more.

“The (Breast and GYN Health) Project helps people with breast or gynecology cancer by providing a lot of education. We can help explain things your doctors might tell you. We can help them come up with questions they might want to ask,” said Madelin Amir, Director of Customer Services. “We help them before, during and after diagnosis and treatment.

“With cervical cancer,” Amir said, “they sometimes need special treatment from a gynecologic oncologist. If they or local healthcare providers need help locating them, BGHP can help. We also have a support group for people with any type of gynecological cancer. Although they may have different types of cancer, women with these types of cancer usually have common experiences.”

Rose Gale-Zoellick, executive director of the Breast and GYN Health Project added, “Although we do not provide medical care at our facility, clients will find the education that both Dr. Mary Meengs (Medical Advisor) and Madelin Amir, very helpful. Madelin is a Registered Female Health Nurse. Her experience and training is useful in educating and supporting people living with gynecologic cancer.

Rose Gale-Zoellick is executive director of the nonprofit Breast and GYN Health Project. (Courtesy of BGHP)

“Although cancer diagnosis and treatment have improved significantly over the years, the social and emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis has not changed significantly over the past 25 years. The statistics that every eighth woman will develop breast cancer in her lifetime have not changed either. Local cancer patients still have a great need for the cancer support services that the BGHP offers,” said Gale-Zoellick.

In addition to receiving a special binder to keep her medical records and appointments in order, Brady said BGHP helped her find financial support resources for transportation and housing when she went to her doctor’s appointments in Santa Rosa.

“The biggest thing for me is (however) the self-help group. While you’re in the middle of it, it’s just a decision, decision, decision — and when you get past that, you have to deal with all the losses and gains — there’s still a way to go,” said Brady, who attends the support group for young women and the gynecologic cancer support group.

“Being able to laugh and cry and bitch and feel heard and to be a part of others who have been on this journey, even though it may not be quite the same, it’s (so) helpful,” said Brady. “…There’s a bit of different information in both groups, but both are amazing groups of women. It’s such a gem, an amazing resource. I’m so glad it’s here.”

Brady – whose treatment included a total hysterectomy – says she is now a “cancer survivor” who wants to make sure the breast and GYN health project is available to those who need it.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the people at BGHP are hoping to be educated about this less common type of gynecologic cancer.

“Endometrium, which is the same as uterus, is the most common gynecological cancer, and next comes the type of cancers that are grouped together and called ovarian cancer…and then below that would be cervical cancer,” said Dr. Mary Meengs. Medical advisor to the BGHP and breast cancer survivor.

The American Cancer Society – https://www.cancer.org – estimates that there will be more than 14,400 new cases of invasive cervical cancer in 2021. (Cervical progenitors are detected far more frequently than invasive cervical cancer, she noted.) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are two screening tests that can help prevent or detect cervical cancer early: the Pap smear (Pap test ) and the human papillomavirus (HPV) test. Getting the HPV vaccine—and not smoking—can also help prevent cervical cancer.

“These two things (Pap smear and HPV vaccine) in both early detection and prevention are so dramatic,” said Meengs, who co-chairs the Breast Cancer Support Group and the Advanced Disease Support Group. “…Work with your provider and see when a Pap smear and/or HPV test is due.”

Amir added: “It is really important that women have routine Pap tests and if they have an abnormal Pap test that they are followed up as recommended. It’s not uncommon for women to sometimes feel embarrassed when they haven’t had pap for a long time. Don’t be afraid to get checked out, even if it’s been a long time. Life gets in the way and we do our best. I encourage women to follow up as recommended if they have an abnormal Pap test. Ultimately, early treatment can help save your life. If you find you have gynecological cancer, the BGHP is here to support you. You don’t have to do this alone.”

The Breast and GYN Health Project helped 335 people in 2021. Eight of those people had cervical cancer, Gale-Zoellick said.

“In 2020, BGHP helped four people with cervical cancer,” she said. “We believe the increase is due to local ob-gyn and ob-gyn offices learning about our services and making recommendations, not because more women are developing cervical cancer.”

For more information on the Breast and GYN Health Project, visit https://bghp.org or call 707-825-8345. The BGHP office is located at 987 Eighth St. in Arcata.

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Women’s Health

For Your Health for Jan. 17, 2022 | Journal-news

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SCH expands free community COVID-19 testing

MARTINSBURG — Shenandoah Community Health is expanding its free COVID-19 community testing hours. The PCR test is now available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm without an appointment or order via the drive-thru test tent at 99 Tavern Road.

This service is available to SCH patients and non-patients alike, and results are typically received directly from the lab within 24 to 48 hours.

Healthy Berkeley announces new health and wellness app

MARTINSBURG – Health Berkeley has announced the launch of the Change Your State app to bring health and wellness to local communities.

Focused on the areas of mind, movement and food, the app is designed to provide a wealth of resources for community residents.

App resources include blog posts, workouts, healthy recipes, and meditations. Users can also track their daily goals and earn points for completing those goals. All participants who accumulate a minimum number of points each month participate in the monthly prizes.

There will also be a Change Your State Facebook page and a weekly Change Your State podcast for those who don’t have a smartphone.

The free app will be available to download from January 8th in the Apple and Google Play Stores by searching for “Change Your State”. The App Challenge runs from January 15th to April 15th.

For more information, contact Abby Veigel at abbyveigel@gmail.com or Dana DeJarnett at dana.dejarnett@wvumedicine.org.

WVU Medicine offers a safe walking program

MARTINSBURG – Walk with Ease, an Arthritis Foundation-certified program to share strategies for safe and comfortable walking, will be held at the Berkeley 2000 Center, 273 Woodbury Ave. offered in Martinsburg.

The program will be offered from January 25 to March 3, 2022 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. All participants receive the Walk With Ease Guide Book, and the program is free and open to all.

This structured, six-week walking program is designed to help people with arthritis better manage their pain, but anyone can participate and benefit from the program. Based on research and tested programs in exercise science, behavior modification and arthritis management, Walk With Ease has been shown to reduce the pain and discomfort of arthritis, increase balance, strength and walking pace, build confidence to be physically active and improve the general health.

Walk With Ease is a structured walking program that provides support, information, and tools to help participants develop successful exercise routines. During the program, participants will learn proper stretching and pain management techniques, as well as building endurance and walking speed.

Pre-registration for the Walk With Ease program is required and places are limited. Masks are suggested and social distancing will be followed. For more information or to register, call the Berkeley Extension Office at 304-264-1936 or contact Dana DeJarnett at 304-264-1287, ext. 31814 or dana.dejarnett@wvumedicine.org. Before beginning any exercise program, always consult your doctor.

Free National Diabetes Prevention Program Kit

WINCHESTER, Va. – Valley Health is offering new sessions of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a free 12-month course designed to help adults at risk of developing diabetes who are willing to make lasting lifestyle changes. One group meets virtually on Mondays from 12-1pm and the other meets in person on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30pm at Warren Memorial Hospital

To be eligible for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, individuals must be overweight, not have a diagnosis of diabetes, and have one or more of the following: Elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes, physical inactivity, and a history of gestational diabetes.

To learn more, visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/diabetes or call 540-536-5108 for the virtual program or 540-636-0314 for the in-person program at Warren Memorial Hospital.

Tai Chi begins at Berkeley Senior Services

MARTINSBURG – Tai Chi takes place on Mondays at 10:00 a.m. at Berkeley Senior Services on the High Street. Casual clothing and masks recommended.

For more information, call Eldon at 304-264-4783.

Good Samaritan Free Clinic schedule

MARTINSBURG – The Good Samaritan offers free health care for the uninsured and underinsured. The main clinic is located at 601 S. Raleigh St., Martinsburg. They do not keep appointments and look after the family doctor’s practice in all clinics except for the women’s health evening.

The opening hours of the clinic are:

• Wednesdays at 5pm

• First Tuesday of the month at 5pm

• Women’s Health Clinic on the third Tuesday at 5 pm

• Rescue mission every Monday from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm.

Visit www.goodsamaritanfreeclinic.org for more information.

Living Well program manager training

MARTINSBURG – Free leadership training for a program to help people cope with chronic illness will be held via Zoom from January 19 to March 2, 2022.

Leaders help others learn the skills they need to manage their chronic conditions and improve their quality of life. No prior teaching or healthcare experience is required, just a willingness to help others improve their health.

Executives must attend all seven weeks of free training to be certified. The first session will take place on January 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Two meetings will be held every Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the next six weeks until March 2nd.

For more information or to register, contact Dana M. DeJarnett at 304-264-1287 ext. 31814 or dana.dejarnett@wvumedicine.org. Registration closes on January 14th.

Virtual Chronic Pain Self-Treatment Program, new session announced

MARTINSBURG – Living Well, a Chronic Pain Self-Management Program, is a weekly workshop designed to help individuals coping with one or more chronic pains learn to take daily responsibility for their care, improve skills, needed to manage their pain and work effectively with their doctor.

A new Zoom workshop begins January 20th and will be held every Thursday through February 24th from 5pm to 7pm. The six-week program is interactive, informative and entertaining and offers the same content as the face-to-face workshop.

Living Well is free and open to people with chronic pain and other pain-related health issues. Everyone can benefit from learning the skills to coordinate all of the activities needed to manage their health and help them lead full and active lives.

Attendees will need a computer, phone, or tablet to access Zoom. The device must also have a camera and microphone. A quiet place and a stable chair are also recommended for the beginning of the lesson.

To register or for more information, contact Dana M. DeJarnett at 304-264-1287, ext. 31814 or dana.dejarnett@wvumedicine.org. Registration closes on January 18th.

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Women’s Health

New Jersey Gov. Murphy signs bill preserving abortion in state law

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Thursday that will enshrine abortion rights in state law.

The US Supreme Court last December heard arguments on two cases in which some predict abortion rights will be escalated to the state level to decide.

“Regardless of whether the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade or not, New Jersey’s position in support of the right to reproductive autonomy will remain clear and unchanged,” Murphy said during a signing ceremony in Teaneck, New Jersey.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a Get Out The Vote rally October 28, 2021 in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
(Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Murphy had pushed for the law, but it stalled in the Democrat-led legislature as the majority faced voters in November and then faltered from the loss of six seats in the assembly and a net loss of one in the Senate.

DEMOCRATS DEVIL FOR FILIBUSTER BLOCKING RUSSIAN SANCTIONS LAW WHICH THEY HAVE DESCRIBED AS RACIST

The bill does not include a requirement for insurance coverage for abortion, which some advocates have campaigned for, but empowers state banking and insurance departments to study the issue and make new regulations.

A pro-life protester protests outside the Supreme Court building on the day of hearing arguments in the Mississippi abortion law case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2021.

A pro-life protester protests outside the Supreme Court building on the day of hearing arguments in the Mississippi abortion law case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2021.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

The New Jersey bishops expressed “deep disappointment and concern” at the passage, saying in a statement that it “openly effaces the human and moral identity of the unborn child.”

SCHUMER CLAIMED ‘LACK OF LEADERSHIP’ OVER SELF-IMPOSED DEADLINE FOR VOTING RIGHTS PACKAGE

So far, only New Hampshire has passed new legislation since the Supreme Court hearing: The state will ban abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is in danger.

An anti-abortion activist participates in a protest outside the Supreme Court building in Washington December 1, 2021 ahead of disputes in the Mississippi abortion law case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health.

An anti-abortion activist participates in a protest outside the Supreme Court building in Washington December 1, 2021 ahead of disputes in the Mississippi abortion law case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

But 12 states have enacted “trigger laws” aimed at restricting abortion immediately once the Supreme Court makes its decision and potentially overturns Roe, including Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Four other states — including Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia — have pre-Roe abortion laws that they would re-enforce, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a gender rights research group.

“What happened was that it all coalesced around the fact that the Supreme Court has a real chance to weaken or overturn abortion rights, and now it was time to introduce those legal protections,” he said Elizabeth Nash, State Policy Analyst at Guttmacher.

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Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have policies that specifically protect abortion rights, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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