Heavy Breasts Are Causing Neck Ache or Back Ache? – Breast Reduction Might Help

Breast Reduction Mammaplasty Benefits for Patients with Heavy Breasts

Heavy Breasts that are too big compared with your body frame can lead to a number of problems. Neck pain, shoulder pain, backaches, and migraines are only some of the issues that large breasts or macromastia can cause. Breast Reduction Surgery can help and may even be funded by your insurer.

Dr Mark Gittos is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon and Breast Surgery Expert in Auckland New Zealand. With International expertise and having performed thousands of breast surgeries, he can help reduce your pain and improve your appearance.

Download Dr Mark Gittos’ Guide to Breast Reduction Surgery – Reduction Mammaplasty

Guide Breast Reduction

Issues Associated with Large and Heavy Breasts

Heavy breasts can cause pain and discomfort. If this is the case, the condition is known as symptomatic macromastia. Some research has shown that there is a correlation between breast size and migraines, as well as neck, shoulder, upper, and lower back pain. If you experience pain, make sure to rule out any other possible causes. Some pain can be caused by bad posture, bad habits, extra weight (especially when found in the area of the stomach), and a predominantly sedentary way of life.

If your breasts feel heavy, swollen or you feel a pulling sensation that results in pain and discomfort, there are several factors that you may want to consider to better understand where these sensations come from. If you have recently experienced an increase in weight, you need to understand that the extra weight may be making your breasts bigger and hence causing the discomfort. If this is the case, the extra heavy breasts are being stretched downwards and may cause pain. In this case, a simple procedure such as breast liposuction may yield satisfying results, since the breasts will lose a part of their volume and weight. Women who undergo this procedure also report a varying breast uplift effect. This is explained by the skin and the underlying tissue elasticity: once the extra weight is removed, the tissues can contract one more time and pull the breasts slightly up. You may also consider a Breast Reduction Surgery.

The breasts might also hurt and feel heavy during menopause. As you enter perimenopause, the estrogen and progesterone hormone levels start to change in unpredictable patterns. Your breast may follow by increasing or decreasing in size, similarly to the changes in the size you may experience during the menstrual cycle. Once the perimenopause is over and you enter menopause, the breasts may still be painful to the touch and sometimes overly sensitive. Due to the lowered collagen production, most women experience an elongation in the breast at this stage in life. If at this period you also experience a gain in weight, you will more likely be experiencing an overall increase in the volume of the breasts as well. All this may lead to additional strain being put on your shoulders and your back, resulting in pain and discomfort. If the pain and the discomfort decrease the quality of your daily life and prevent you from participating in some daily or social activities, consult your plastic surgeon and discuss which breast procedure is the best for you.

You can consult an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr Gittos to find out how much of your pain could be coming from overly large breasts. As a rule of thumb, as you age, you are more likely to develop back pain, neck pain, and migraines due to large, heavy breasts. While one study published on NCBI has shown that in younger women, back pain is not directly correlated to breasts, especially in women who have not had a child yet, another study has shown that there may be a connection between the two in older women.

What Problems Can Large Breasts Cause?

Large breasts or macromastia may cause a variety of issues. Most problems reported by women with large breasts revolve around migraines, neck pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, and lower back pain. Most of these pains are caused by the prolonged tension and the pulling effect of the large, heavy breasts. Overly large breasts, have been discovered to be the source of this pain in a study on how breast reduction improves symptoms of macromastia and has a long-lasting effect. This study has shown that around 91% of women experienced a significant reduction in pain and discomfort after getting a Breast Reduction Mammaplasty surgery.

  1. Back Pain Caused By Heavy Breasts

The extra pull on the shoulders and the upper back in women with large breasts may cause upper back pain. The extra weight can cause pain or discomfort even if the breasts are not huge, but still heavy. After all, it is the cumulative effect of a small amount of weight being carried on the shoulders and the upper back that does the damage. Changes in posture, general discomfort, sore muscles, and chronic, long-lasting pain are all symptoms reported by women with large breasts or symptomatic macromastia. A Breast Reduction Surgery may help.

Large breasts can cause back pain in various spots. If you experience any kind of pain, try to understand where it may be coming from before consulting a surgeon. In general, an increase in weight will result in lower back pain, if the majority of the newly formed fat tissue is found around your belly. The extra weight puts too much pressure on the spine and the muscles supporting it. In most cases, some of the fat tissue can accumulate in the breasts, increasing their size and the pulling effect. This puts extra strain on your chest muscles, the shoulders, and the upper back and consequently causes pain in these areas. If the gained weight remains for a longer period, a more chronic issue may appear: a bad body posture, with shoulders being pulled forward and the upper part of your spine being curved beyond the normal level. This, in turn results in neck pain, headache, and migraines. In all these cases, a Breast Reduction surgery can have multiple beneficial effects. After the procedure, the pain and discomfort might be gone and your posture can improve with time, once you eliminate the cause.

Large breasts can cause pain directly or indirectly. If your pain is a result of constant pull on the shoulders and the upper spine produced by the weight of your large breasts, this is a direct cause of the pain by the breasts. In the case that your heavy breasts present weight to your spine that causes you to have a bad posture, and when the less-than-ideal posture causes pain, this is an indirect causality. In some women, overly large breasts may present a problem that they try to hide by slouching forwards, similarly to people who work sitting at their computer for prolonged periods. If this is the case, reducing the size of your breast, or undergoing a Reductive Mammoplasty Procedure may solve your issues. In some cases, the Breast Lift or Mastopexy may be a better solution for you.

2. Rib Pain Caused by Big Heavy Breasts

Heavy breasts may also cause rib pain. If your breasts are large and heavy, especially during certain menstrual cycle periods, you may have noticed a slight increase in the pain in the torso. In older women and women who have had one or multiple pregnancies or have breastfed, it is the loose, saggy breasts that may cause these same symptoms. If this is the case, consult an experienced plastic surgeon and see what can be done to alleviate the pain. In some cases, a procedure as simple as the breast lift procedure may solve the issue, as it elevates the breasts to a normal position on the chest wall and reduces the strain on the shoulders by removing at least some of the skin tissue. In the case that a procedure with a higher volume tissue removal is necessary, you may opt for a Breast Reduction Surgery or a Breast Liposuction. These procedures give good results, especially in women who have gained a considerable amount of weight, usually as a consequence of pregnancy. In the case that your fat to the breast tissue ratio is too low for liposuction, Reductive Mammoplasty will deliver the best possible results.

Large and heavy breasts put extra strain on the torso. The torsal muscles have to work harder to compensate for an increase in the size and the weight of your chest. Furthermore, the increased weight will likely cause some stretching of the tissues holding the breasts, so that you may also experience pain above your breasts, as the supporting tissues are being stretched. Many women experience these issues. If you are one of them, you may consider a Reduction Mammoplasty to alleviate the discomfort. Usually, with age, the symptoms can worsen as the years take their toll and pull the breasts even further down.

Breast Reduction Surgery for Large and Heavy Breast

If your breasts got significantly bigger during your puberty, they may signal larger tissue to fat ratio in your breasts, especially if there was no significant increase in your body weight, or BMI during the same period. Heavy breasts may also point to an increase in the fat tissue percentage, especially if the increase in the size or the volume of your breasts happens during a period of weight gaining. In the third case, large breasts may be indicative of the hormonal changes that may be happening in your body as a part of the normal menstrual cycle. In this case, the breasts may feel plump, even swollen, and slightly painful to the touch. If this is the case, then the pain and discomfort are usually alleviated once the hormonal levels return to normal. Another reason you have heavy or saggy breasts is changes that occurred during pregnancies or breastfeeding. Whatever the case, it is possible to reshape and resize the breasts using either liposuction, breast lift, or breast reduction surgery. Removing as little as 500gr of breast or fat tissue on both sides can have long-term results in posture correction and easing the pain.

A study on how reduction mammaplasty improves symptoms of macromastia has shown that nearly all the participants in the study have experienced a decrease in pain and discomfort caused by their large breasts. 25% of the participants mentioned there was no pain after the surgery. This is to say that Reduction Mammaplasty or a Reductive Mammaplasty procedure can ease the discomfort that you may be experiencing due to heavy breasts.

How big do your boobs have to be to get a breast reduction?

Generally speaking, there is no minimum breast size required to undergo a breast reduction. We evaluate the volume of the breasts depending on the rest of your anatomy. If you are tall and sporty, your back and shoulders may be able to support more weight. In this case, large breasts may not be a problem for you. On the other hand, if you have a petite frame, then even breasts that don’t weight too much may pose a problem. To better understand the influence that your breasts have on your body, imagine that you have to carry a backpack loaded with weights corresponding to your breast size all day – on your chest.

Large breasts can be a real a problem. Many women suffer from migraines, neck and shoulders pain, as well as backaches due to the size of the breast that. To reduce the strain on your back, shoulders, and neck, as well as to improve your posture, think about a Breast Reduction surgery or a Reductive Mammaplasty. 

Further Reading about Breast Surgery

Medical References about Heavy Breasts and Breast Reduction

About Dr Mark Gittos FRACS (Plast) – New Zealand Plastic Surgeon 

Practice locations in Herne Bay Auckland, Northland and Bay of Plenty – Kerikeri, Whangarei, New Plymouth & Tauranga

Dr Mark Gittos is a leading Specialist Plastic Surgeon and operates a practice in Herne Bay, Auckland and in the UK. The practice focuses on both surgical and non-surgical procedures, each designed to help restore, improve or change a physical characteristic or problem. The first step in every case is to talk through your personal requirements and explore all the options, before deciding on the most effective solution.

Dr Mark Gittos offers high quality, natural-looking cosmetic surgery results and is highly experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4000 Surgeries in the last 26 years.  With worldwide expertise Dr Gittos is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men & women. 

Naturally, before any treatment is begun, we will explain clearly the advantages and risk factors; so that you have the information you need to make an informed decision that is best for you. Visit the practice to find out more.


Please NOTE: Dr Gittos only performs surgery on non-smoker patients with a BMI less than 30. To check your BMI please visit the NZ Heart Foundation website. For help giving up smoking before surgery visit the Smoke Free website

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What to Bring to your Plastic Surgeon Consultation

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