Neck Ache or Back Ache From Large Heavy Breasts? – A Breast Reduction may help

Benefits of a Breast Reduction Mammaplasty

Heavy Breasts that are too large can create a number of problems. Neck pain, shoulder pain, backaches, and migraines are only some of the things that large breasts or macromastia can cause. Breast Reduction Surgery can help and may be funded by your insurer.

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

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

Guide Breast Reduction

Solving the Pain & Problems of Large and Heavy Breasts

Can heavy breasts cause pain?

  • Yes. Heavy breasts or macromastia may cause pain. 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.
  • 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.
  • Make sure to consult with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon. Dr. Mark Gittos is an experienced plastic surgeon operating in New Zealand and the UK who will be able to properly address your case and suggest the proper way to deal with your uncomfortable situation.

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 the source of these pains 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 strain after a Breast Reduction Mammaplasty surgery was performed. Dr. Mark Gittos can help assist with pain reduction and ease the discomfort caused by symptomatic macromastia.

Why do my breasts feel heavy?

  • 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. If this is the case, the extra heavy breasts are being stretched downwards and may cause pain. In this case, a simple procedure of 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.

Why do my breasts 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 procedure of Breast Reduction or Reduction Mammaplasty is the best for you.
Heavy Breasts - Breast Reduction by Top plastic surgeon Dr Mark Gittos

Back Pain Problems & Big Breasts

What causes upper back pain in females?

  • The extra pull on the shoulders and the upper back in women with large breasts may cause upper back pain. The extra weight does not have to be too large to cause pain or discomfort. 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 the symptoms reported by women experiencing overly large breasts or symptomatic macromastia. A Breast Reduction Surgery may help.

Where does your back hurt when your breasts are too big?

  • 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 extra pressure on the spinal column and the muscles supporting it. In most cases, some of the fat tissue will also be formed in your 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 sites. If the gained weight remains for a longer period, a more chronic issue may appear: the worsening of your posture, with shoulders being pulled forward and the upper part of your spinal column 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: not only does it potentially decrease some or all of the pain you may be experiencing, but it may also have long-term beneficial effects on your posture.

How do you know if your breasts are causing back pain?

  • 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 for you too, reducing the size of your breast, or undergoing a Reductive Mammoplasty Procedure may solve your issues. In some cases, the procedure of Breast Lift or Mastopexy may be a better solution for you.

Rib Pain & Big Heavy Breasts

Can heavy breasts cause rib pain?

  • Yes. Heavy breasts may 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 some older women and women who have carried out one or multiple pregnancies or have breastfed, it is the loose, saggy breasts that may cause these same symptoms. If this is the case with you, consult with 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, since it moves the breasts upwards 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 and Liposculpture procedure by the same experienced surgeon. This procedure gives 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, the procedure of Reductive Mammoplasty can give considerably good results.

Why do my ribs hurt under my breast?

  • Large and heavy breasts put extra strain on the torso. The torsal muscles have to work extra hard 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. Dr. Mark Gittos offers consultations and assessing your specific situation. He also offers several plastic surgery procedures which can reduce the size of your breasts and the discomfort, all customised to your particular needs. Consult him to find out which procedure would be the best for you and which one will yield the long-term results you desire.

Reduction Surgery for Large and Heavy Breasts

What do large breasts indicate?

  • Large breasts may indicate several changes. 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 a history of pregnancies or breastfeeding. Whatever the case, it is possible to retrieve the breasts to their former size, be it by liposuction, breast lift, or removal of some of the breast tissue. 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.

What should I do for heavy breasts?

  • 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 same participants have experienced a complete withdrawal of any pain. This is to say that Reduction Mammaplasty or a Reductive Mammaplasty procedure has a strong effect in turning heavy breasts into smaller and easing the discomfort that you may be facing. Solutions to the issues you may be experiencing vary and you can generally choose between Liposuction or a Breast Reduction Procedure. Whatever the scope of your problem and the effects you wish to achieve, contact your plastic surgeon for more information and consulting. Dr. Mark Gittos will be able to properly assess your case and suggest a procedure that is best suited for your particular case. For some women, a slight Breast Lift Procedure with a short recovery time may be the best solution. For some others, a more in-depth procedure may yield better results. Think about your symptoms and discomfort and schedule a meeting with your plastic surgeon!

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 procedure of breast reduction. Whether you have breasts that are too large and heavy depends on your body constitution. If you are tall and sporty, your back and shoulders may be able to support more weight. In this case, overly large breasts may be a problem for you. On the other hand, if you are of a smaller constitution, then even a pair of average breasts may pose a problem. To better understand the scope of influence that your breast may 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. If you feel that after such a day you would be experiencing pain and discomfort, straining or soreness of the muscles and the shoulder groove, you may want to speak with your plastic surgeon and determine the state of your macromastia. This will help you understand exactly what kind of procedure can be done and what the results would be.


Large breasts can present a problem. Many women suffer from migraines, neck and shoulders pain, as well as backaches due to the size of the breast that does not correspond to their body size. 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. Dr Gittos has called for fair access to Breast Reduction for all patients.

Dr. Mark Gittos offers a number of procedures that could make your heavy breasts smaller and restore comfort to your daily life. If you find yourself avoiding certain situations which could pose a strain on your breasts or cause you backaches, consider scheduling a visit.

Dr. Mark Gittos works in New Zealand and the UK and has ample experience: with over 4000 breast surgeries done, he is one of the leading experts in 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

Do your Research

What to Bring to your Plastic Surgeon Consultation

  • Bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
  • Take lots of notes and read the documents provided thoroughly
  • Dress in simple clothes as you may need to undress for examination
  • Bring your medical referral and any relevant medical documents or test results

Book your Initial Surgery Consultation

  • A Referral from your GP or specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral
  • Email us or Call on 09 529 5352 to arrange your surgeon consultation appointment.
  • Book a consultation with Dr Gittos by paying the Consultation Fee – $325 incl GST

Traveling for Surgery? – Consider post-surgery luxury recovery in a Hotel with LuxeCare

Please contact us to arrange to book a consultation with our Specialist Plastic Surgeon or to speak with our Patient Care Advisor.

Send an enquiry form today or phone  09 529 5352  during Clinic Hours