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ill fitting bra symptoms

It’s all too easy to settle for a bra that “basically fits.” You know — the one that for all intents and purposes, holds your breasts, but doesn’t quite contain them perfectly. Maybe it’s a push-up bra with straps that occasionally fall down, a t-shirt bra on which the band just isn’t snug enough, or a full-cup bra that a bit of cleavage spills out of sometimes. Newsflash: a bra that’s even slightly ill-fitting isn’t just an annoyance and an inconvenience, it can also negatively affect your health.

That’s where a professional bra fitting comes in. In fact, here are some of the top problems you can prevent by getting a bra fitting done by an expert. 

Back pain

Wearing the wrong size bra can put a lot of strain on your back, especially if you’re full busted. Think about it: you’re more likely to hunch over if your bra isn’t quite holding the weight. Moreover, a bra that’s too tight can put pressure on your rib cage and back, causing pain.


It may sound far-fetched, but a poorly fitting bra can actually cause a tension headache. That’s because when your bra doesn’t offer enough support, the upper back and neck muscles have to compensate for that. When those muscles are overworked from supporting that weight, you could very well feel a cervicogenic headaches coming on.

Spine stiffness

Your spine is meant to be able to move and bend in many different ways. But if the band on your bra is too tight, it can cause stiffness in your spine by restricting that movement, particularly in your upper back.


There’s no reason why bra straps should leave unsightly indents in your shoulders — if you’ve already tried adjusting them to loosen them and you’re still experiencing that issue, then you know your bra doesn’t fit properly. The worst part of this problem is that if not corrected, those indentations can become permanent. Speaking of marks — underwire that’s too tight against your rib cage or even digging into your breast tissue can cause them, too.

Related: 10 Telltale Signs You Are Wearing The Wrong Bra Size

ill fitting bra and breast pain

Poor posture

Finding yourself slumping forward frequently? An ill-fitting bra can negatively impact your posture. This is because when there isn’t sufficient support for your breasts, gravity takes over and the weight of your breasts will naturally cause your shoulders to fold forward.


Your breasts are suspended by a system of ligaments — and when your bra doesn’t keep your breasts in place well enough, those ligaments will stretch out from frequent bouncing. The result? Your boobs start to sag much more quickly, as the Cooper’s ligaments are what keep them looking perky.


When your breasts aren’t supported, they’re more likely to rest on the rib cage — and if they’re on the larger side, this can put pressure on your diaphragm. As a result, you may experience restricted breathing. Furthermore, though, this combined with poor posture can cause digestive issues, such as heartburn, or worsen existing ones, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Nerve damage

Some key signs of “Bra Strap Syndrome,” also known as Costoclavicular Syndrome, include weakness, numbness, tingling, and pain in the arms and hands, as well as limited movement in the arms. The cause? Bra straps that are too tight, thus restricting blood flow and sometimes causing nerve damage to the area near your ribs (yikes, we know).

Clearly, it’s not worth the risk wearing a bra that doesn’t fit. The best way to prevent any of this discomfort or damage is to get yourself measured by a trained professional at least once a year, or after any significant weight changes. Not only will a pro help you to determine your correct band and cup size, but they will also educate you on how a bra is supposed to fit, as well as which styles may work best for you.

Related: 10 Bra Fitting and Lingerie Store Secrets Professional Bra Fitters Want You To Know

ill fitting bra

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

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Published by

Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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