I love my boobs. They function as pillows, flotation devices, cell phone holders, and (hopefully in the future), feeding apparatuses. That being said, you should never put up with pain because of them. Supportive bras that can help relieve back pain are a real and attainable thing — and with just a little research and a few clicks of your mouse, you could get one sent straight to your door.
To help me in my quest for bras that actually support your back and shoulders, I got in touch with Hillary Settle, VP of E-Commerce Marketing at Brayola. "The average D-cup [breasts weigh] anywhere between 15-23 pounds," Settle tells Bustle. "That’s a lot of weight to be carrying on your back, which unfortunately leads to back pain if the weight isn’t properly supported."
And, while you might be thinking something like, "Yeah, it hurts, but I can make it through the day," it's worth remembering that unsupportive bras actually come with some risks: "The most common long-term risk is body imbalance, like poor posture," says Settle. "It also causes lower back pain, upper back pain, [and] pinched nerves." Never fear, though: Settle was able to provide me with the best supportive features and a few solid brand recommendations for supportive bras that prevent back pain.
1Look For A Thick, Supportive Band That Fits You Properly
According to Settle, "The band of your bra provides most of the support, so if you’re wearing the wrong band size, you may experience pressure on your shoulders." The Bali Women's Comfort Revolution Bra comes in a wide range of sizes and has an extra thick band for maximum support. Its back straps are also oriented towards the middle rather than the sides to stop digging and slipping, and it's got a front close feature, which is something that Settle also recommends for back pain.
2Wide Straps And Bands All Around For Plus Size Support
Another super supportive bra with a wide band is the Elila Plus Size Full Coverage Bra. It's also got padded one inch straps and a full cusp sling to separate and define breasts and reduce back pain. Best of all, it's available in tons of different sizes and seven different colors, so you can choose the best fit for your style and comfort levels.
3Keep Breasts Separated With A Tall Center Gore
According to Settle, another feature that helps to minimize back pain are "separated cups." She explains that this is because the weight is evenly distributed across the chest rather than pushing it all towards the front. The QT Intimates Lace Underwire Bra has a tall center gore that helps to separate breasts while providing lift and support. It's also got comfortable side boning meant to make your back more comfortable.
4Try A Front Close Bra To Lessen Back Pain
Settle also says that women should search for "front closures to help with back pain." The Vanity Fair Illumination Underwire Bra has a wide back band with the closure in the front, which separates breasts as well as boosts convenience. It's also got thick straps, a gorgeous satin trim, and won't show seams through clothing.
5If Your Straps Are Digging Into Your Shoulders, You're Not Getting Enough Lift
"If your straps are digging into your shoulder because of the weight of your breasts," says Settle, "then it's also another sure sign that you're not getting enough support." The Playtex Secrets Body Revelations Underwire Bra has thick cushioned straps — but it's so supportive you won't even need them. It uses a combination of contoured cups, light padding, and a wide band, all of which come together to "lift, support, and look sexy."
6A Bra With High Back Support Can Make All The Difference
"Look for styles that have a high back support," says Settle. The Delimira Back Support Bra has a high, X-shaped back that corrects your posture by pulling your shoulders up and back. It also has a front-close for convenience, and wire-free cups that are not padded, but still shockingly supportive.
7A Good Everyday Bra With All The Right Features
"Women with bigger breasts have a hard time shopping for bras," says Settle. "Most brands and stores (online or brick and mortar) may not carry bras in their size, and if they do, it’s very likely that it’s hideous. At Brayola, we’re trying to build the world’s biggest bra shop that also uses crowdsourced data to help women of all sizes match with the best fitting bras across styles and brands."
The Dominique Talia Everyday Bra from Brayola has a whole bunch of features Settle mentions, like a wide band, front closure, separated breasts, and side support. It's also got a racerback design to alleviate some back tension, and it comes in a wide range of different sizes.
8Skip The Bralette If You Want To Avoid Back Pain
"Styles with no support structure like a bralette, which have little structure or support, can many times make back pain worse if you struggle with back problems due to larger breasts," says Settle. Instead, look for something with a lot of structure. For a whimsical look with way more support, there's the Freya Women's Fancies Longline Bra. It's got underwire, foam-padded cups, a longline band, and a high gore that separates breasts. However, its frilly lace design gives a bralette look without all the associated pain.
9This Bra Improves Your Posture With Stretch Support Bands Between Your Shoulders
"Get the support you need while improving your posture with the Glamorise MagicLift Posture Back Support Bra," Settle recommends. "The inner cushioned band provides incredible bust support and great shape — all without a wire. Stretch support bands in the back provide additional shoulder support while gently aiding posture. An easy front closure and extra-wide adjustable straps assure a great fit and total all day comfort." It's also got a silky smooth fabric and careful stitching that hugs your body instead of cutting into it.
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