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How to Fix Shoulder Pain From Bra Straps

Shoulder pain from bra straps can be alleviated by loosening the straps or wearing a bra with wider and cushioned straps.

Shoulder pain from bra straps can be alleviated by loosening the straps or wearing a bra with wider and cushioned straps. Wearing the appropriate size and type of bra is key is preventing shoulder pain.

Women who have larger breasts have a higher risk of wearing a bra that doesn’t fit well. Improper breast support for everyday activities can cause shoulder pain. A study reported by Orthopedic Preceedings concludes that women with large breasts that experience pain can improve their condition by wearing garments that fit properly. Some exercises can improve shoulder pain and prevent health issues.

Let’s dive into this topic and explore this common problem and how to fix it.

Table of Contents

How to Fix Shoulder Pain From Bra Straps With Exercises

Shoulder Rolls

Performing shoulder rolls relieves tension and pain in the shoulder blades. You start by shrugging your shoulders up and holding for three seconds. Then, you roll your shoulders back down and relax them. Do about 10-20 repetitions of contracting and relaxing your shoulders.

Wall Slides

To perform wall slides, you need to stand with your spine erect facing a wall. Put your hands against the wall with the thumbs pointing downward. Slowly step forward and gently push against the wall as you slide your hands up as far as you can without losing your stance. Relax for a moment and return to the original position.

Chest Stretches

When you experience shoulder pain, it is important to also pay attention to your chest. To perform chest stretches, begin by standing with your palms facing forward. Slowly lift your arms at your sides and try to reach backward without bending the elbow. You’ll feel a nice stretch in your chest and arms. Hold the stretch for approximately 10-15 seconds and repeat the process 2-3 times. Be sure to keep your spine erect and tuck in your chin to keep your ears aligned with your shoulders.

Resistance Band Pull Aparts

Choose a band that has low to medium resistance. Hold the band firmly in front of you and slowly extend both arms in front of you without bending them. Keep your spine long and elbows slightly bent. Then, pull the band apart as much as you can while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold this position for a few seconds and slowly return to the original position.

Upper Back Rows

Perform this exercise with a resistance band and an open door. Wrap the band around the door handle and close the door. Stand up with your spine erect at the side of the door that closes to ensure the band doesn’t unintentionally pull the door open. At chest height, slowly stretch the band and bend the elbows to draw your fists close to your shoulders. Then, slowly stretch your arms to return to the original position.

Doorway Pec Stretch

Stand in a doorway and place your arms at a door jam with elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and upper arms parallel to the floor. Place one foot forward in the doorway and bend the front knee until you feel a stretch in your chest and shoulder. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Slowly return to the original position. Switch sides and perform 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.


YTWLs are a group of movements that are performed lying down on a bench or floor. Start with “Y” by raising your arms 45-90 degrees above your shoulders. Keep your arms straight with your thumbs pointing up. Then, perform “T” by placing your arms at a 90-degree angle to your torso with thumbs pointing up. Next, the “W” is performed with your palms facing down and upper arm at a 45-degree angle to your torso, and elbow bent at 90 degrees. Finally, “L” is performed by keeping your upper arms close to your sides with your elbow flexed at 90 degrees and palms facing down.

While you perform each of the four positions, be sure to lift your arms slowly about one inch off the ground. Focus on moving the shoulder blade joint instead of the shoulder joint.

Posture Correcting Exercises that Can Help

Desk Stretches to Open Shoulders and Chest

There are several desk stretches to open your shoulders and chest. Chair arm raises, standing chest stretches, side bending, seated twists, and the standing dancer’s pose are all great exercises to open up your shoulders and chest.

Chin Tucks to Align Neck and Spine

While sitting in a chair or standing with your feet flat on the floor, slowly glide your chin straight back while keeping your gaze straight ahead. Be sure not to tilt your head or bend your neck. It is a subtle and small motion. Hold the position for five seconds, relax, and repeat 10-12 times.

Thoracic Mobility Moves Like Cat-Cows

Start with your hands and knees aligned in a tabletop position. Arch your back as you inhale, and lift your head and tailbone for the “cow” position. Then, slowly round your back as you exhale while tucking your chin and tailbone for the “cat” position. Do this complete exercise for about 10-15 repetitions as you focus on each segment of your spine.

What are the Symptoms of a Bad Bra

Shoulder/Neck Pain

According to WebMD, some studies have found that a bad bra doesn’t necessarily cause neck pain. However, studies show that people with large breasts usually don’t wear a bra that provides enough support. This may cause postural problems and pain.

Back Pain

As reported by Deborah Venesy, MD, rehabilitation and medical spine specialist at Cleveland Clinic, bad bras are not solely the reason why some people experience back pain. It is more likely that back pain stems from excessive breast tissue weight.

Breast Spillage

Bras that don’t fit properly usually lead to breast spillage, usually on the sides. It creates a cup overflow and side spillage that is uncomfortable. Finding a bra with proper side support can prevent this from happening.

Underwire Poking

Bras that have underwire can malfunction and painfully poke your chest, breasts, or armpits. Anyone who has experienced this event knows how painful and uncomfortable it can be. When choosing a bra with an underwire, it is important to find the right fit to prevent poking. Well-fitted underwire bras may relieve back and shoulder tension and help keep your posture erect.

Red Marks

When you take off your bra, you may see a significant degree of red marks. This is an indication that your bra may not be the right fit. You’ll want to choose bras that give you enough support without compromising your circulation. Bras should feel comfortable and provide enough flexibility to breathe and move around freely.

Band Riding Up

If you experience your bra band riding up and constantly requiring readjustment, it is a sign that your bra doesn’t fit well. This can be a cue that your bra straps might be adjusted too tightly. It can also happen when the weight of your breasts pulls the cups down while it lifts the band on your back upwards.

Shoulder Grooving

Some bra straps dig into your shoulders creating painful and unsightly grooving. If left unattended, this can lead to the development of deep grooves in the shoulder, It can also cause nerve damage and headaches.

Lack of Support

Popular Science reported on a research study that found how inadequate breast support can lead to breast pain, as reported by 50% of studies women. Lack of support can also create damage to the breast skin, which can be seen as stretch marks.

Proper Bra Fit and Sizing

The Journal of Chiropractic & Osteopathy mentioned a 2008 survey result, which revealed that 80% of women wore bras that were the wrong size for their body.

How to Get Professionally Fitted for a Bra

Find a professional shop such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret, and many others that have trained experts who can determine your correct bra size. You usually don’t have to make an appointment. Store attendants are typically always ready to help customers fit into the right bra.

Measuring and Calculating Your Band/Cup Size

Start by calculating your band size. Measure around your ribcage under your breasts. Add three inches to this number. For instance, if your ribcage measures 29 inches, your band size is 32.

Next, calculate your cup size by measuring around the fullest part of your bust. Then, subtract the band size from this number. The number you come up with will be referenced in a professional table to determine your cup size.

Trying Different Bra Sizes and Styles (Balconette, Demi, etc.)

Not all bras are created equal. You’ll find that some brands and styles fit differently than others. Although you may have calculated your band and cup size, keep in mind that you may have to deviate from those numbers when fitting into different brands and styles of bras.

Common Issues with Wearing a Bra

What to Do if Your Bra Straps Are Too Tight

The first thing you should try when your bra straps feel too tight is to slide the strap adjuster to loosen them. You’ll want the straps to be tight enough to provide support, but not too tight that they become uncomfortable.

How to Adjust Your Bra Straps Correctly

To adjust your bra straps, simply hold the adjuster in one hand and hold your bra firmly with the other hand. Move the adjustment piece by sliding it up toward your shoulders and away from the bra band. The further away the adjuster is from your bra cup, the loser it will feel.

The Best Ways to Wear a Strapless Bra

Wear a strapless bra that has versatile straps and is convertible. Find a bra that has straps that are long enough to be converted into halter and criss-cross styles. Wrap the strap around the back and front, going under the cups. Be sure the strap lies flat against your skin and fits snugly against the ribcage.

The Best Ways to Wear a Wire-Free Bra

When choosing a wire-free bra, it is important to choose the right style that fulfills your preferences and needs. Sports bras and bralettes are excellent bra-less choices for a variety of looks and activities. Choose a brand that offers a variety of cup sizes and styles. Wire-free bras come in a variety of options that will make you feel comfortable while providing the support you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I stop my bra straps from hurting my shoulders

There are several things you can do to prevent shoulder pain from bra straps. Select a bra that fits properly, has wide straps, and has a flexible fabric. Consult your doctor to see if you need a breast reduction, as this could be a condition that often needs to be addressed for bra-related pain.

Can bra straps cause shoulder damage?

Any garment that doesn’t fit properly around the shoulders can cause damage. Bra straps that don’t fit properly or are adjusted too tightly can create shoulder tension and put stress on the nerves and muscles.

How do I get rid of bra strap dents on shoulders?

The first step is to make sure you are wearing a proper-fitting bra. Select the right size for your body and avoid adjusting the straps too tightly.

How do you get rid of bra pain?

There are several causes of pain related to your bra. First, determine the location of your pain to see what part of the bra is causing trouble. Women who receive professional bra fittings are more likely to wear bras that fit them properly. This is key in preventing bra pain.

Why is my bra making my shoulders hurt?

If your shoulders hurt from wearing a bra it is likely because it doesn’t fit properly. If you have very large breasts, it is more likely that your bra doesn’t provide the right support. It can create significant tension around the shoulders, leading to pain and other discomfort.

Is there an alternative to bras?

Yes, there are bra-less options that provide your breasts with the shape and coverage you seek. These include bodysuits, bralettes, camisoles, and bandeau/strapless styles.

How tight should your bra straps be?

Adjust your bra straps so that you can fit two fingers off your shoulders when you pull them. They should be tight enough so that they don’t slip down, but not too tightly that they leave indentations in your skin.

Can bra straps cause nerve damage?

Yes, Costoclavicular syndrome, also known as Bra Strap Syndrome, can compress or irritate your nerves and blood vessels around the shoulders.

Why is my bra suddenly so uncomfortable?

Sudden discomfort can be a sign that your bra straps need to be adjusted, there is an underwire malfunction, or that your bra is not the correct size.

What is bra strap syndrome?

Bra strap syndrome is also known as Costoclavicular Syndrome. It is an irritation or compression in the thoracic area between the first rib and the clavicle that affects the blood vessels and nerves.

Why do my bra straps cut into my shoulders?

Common reasons include an incorrect bra size, using a bra that has worn out, straps that are improperly adjusted, bad posture, and having breasts that are too large for your body.

How can I make my bra straps more supportive?

There are several solutions including getting professionally fitted, choosing wide straps, wearing padded straps, adjusting straps correctly, maintaining good posture, and changing the style to a sports bra.

How do you make bra straps stay tight?

Make sure your bra straps stay in place by regularly checking them for comfort. You can also use bra clips or strap holders, which prevent them from slipping. Some people choose to sew straps in place or use a bra that features silicone straps. Investing in a high-quality bra is key in ensuring you stay safe and comfortable.

How to go braless without pain?

There are several solutions for going braless without pain including wearing outfits that support your breasts, choosing comfortable fabrics, using supportive bra-less alternatives like camisoles, and using well-fitting shapewear.

What are the symptoms of a bad bra?

Be aware of signs such as neck and shoulder pain, slipping straps, shoulder grooving, breast discomfort, red marks on the skin, and breast spillage.

How to fix shoulder pain from bra straps exercises?

Shoulder pain can be alleviated by performing shoulder rolls, wall slides, chest stretches, resistance band pull aparts, upper back rows, doorway pec stretches, YTWLs, posture correcting exercises, chin tucks, and many other exercises.

How to cure bra strap syndrome?

Start by addressing pain and physical therapy exercises. Ensure you wear a bra and style that fits well and provides enough support. Finally, invest in a quality bra to increase your chances of success.