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Women may undergo breast reduction surgery to achieve more proportional contours, to participate more easily in athletics or to gain a more attractive profile. However, one of the most common reasons that women may elect to have breast reduction is to relieve the physical discomfort caused by overly large breasts.

What Are the Pains Associated with Large Breasts?

Many women with chronic pains that could be resolved through breast reduction may not realize that the weight of their breasts is likely a contributing factor to their ongoing discomfort. Large breasts are most often associated with back pain, most notably in the upper and mid-back, shoulder pain and neck aches. The weight of large breasts can also cause long-term postural problems.

Much of the root of this pain may be traced to excess pressure on the thoracic outlet, the area where the ribs, shoulder blades and nerves come together. Women with large breasts often roll their shoulders forward to accommodate the weight, which can result in compressing the nerve fibers enough to cause pain which can radiate into the arms.

How Can Breast Reduction Help?

While pain medications can provide temporary symptomatic relief, breast reduction improves back pain at the source. In a typical breast reduction, the surgeon may remove a pound or more of tissue from each breast, resulting in a noticeable change in breast heaviness.

With lighter breasts, patients can roll their shoulders back to a healthier position, relieving tension from the thoracic outlet. Additionally, smaller breasts can fit more comfortably into bras, which may relieve painful bra indentations in the skin. Many women feel a marked relief of chronic pain after breast reduction that can continue to improve as they grow accustomed to their new figure.