A single sample study was undertaken to determine the strength and direction of correlations between: a) breast size and thoracic spine or posterior chest wall pain; b) bra fit and thoracic spine or posterior chest wall pain and; c) breast size and bra fit, in thirty nulliparous women (18–26 years), with thoracic spine or posterior chest wall pain, who wore bras during daytime.
Pain (Short Form McGill Pain Questionnaire), bra size (Triumph International), bra fit (Triumph International).
Most (80%) women wore incorrectly sized bras: 70% wore bras that were too small, 10% wore bras that were too large. Breast size was negatively correlated with both bra size (r = -0.78) and bra fit (r = -0.50). These results together indicate that large breasted women were particularly likely to be wearing incorrectly sized and fitted bras. Negligible relationships were found between pain and bra fit, and breast size and pain. Menstrual cycle stage was moderately positively correlated with bra fit (r = 0.32).
In young, nulliparous women, thoracic pain appears unrelated to breast size. Bra fit is moderately related to stage of menstrual cycle suggesting that this research may be somewhat confounded by hormonal changes or reproductive stage. Further research is needed to clarify whether there is a relationship between breast size or bra fit and thoracic pain in women during times of hormonal change.