Alternatives to Breast Reduction Surgery

If you are considering breast reduction surgery, but are not sure this is the right step for you yet, there are several ways you may be able to alleviate some of the symptoms of your larger breasts.

The Correct Bra

For example, one of the easiest ways to temporarily relieve symptoms of oversized breasts is by finding a good bra. Many women have no idea what the correct size of their bra is and end up wearing bras that do not fit properly. In addition, because larger bras can be more expensive and harder to find, large-breasted women tend to wear their old, overstretched bras as long as they possibly can. This can contribute to the uncomfortable symptoms associated with having full, heavy breasts including bad posture and back pain.

Because different bras fit differently and since there is no industry standard for bra sizing, it is best to get measured by an experienced, certified fitter accredited by the Board of Orthotists or the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics. Some plastic surgeons will even recommend that potential patients be professionally measured in order to report the correct bra size to insurance companies. The most important factors of a good bra include strong support, good-quality fabric, wide straps, a wide bra back with multiple hooks, and most importantly, the correct size.


One solution that may be useful for short-term, temporary relief is medication. Pain is often a universal problem for people with oversized breasts, and certain medications can temporarily relieve symptoms. Over-the-counter pain medications including aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, may provide some relief but should not be taken for long periods of time. Anti-inflammatories such as prescription-strength ibuprofen can reduce inflammation caused by muscle, joint and ligament pain. Also known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), they should be taken under a physician’s supervision as they have serious side effects such as stomach ulcers and bleeding. Occasionally, steroid injections can help with long-term pain relief while muscle relaxants are intended for short-term use. However, these medications are also temporary and cannot be repeated indefinitely.

Physical Therapy

An option that may be recommended to patients who are extremely disciplined and want to avoid surgery is physical therapy. The key to a successful program is finding a well-trained therapist who is experienced in neck and shoulder problems. The therapist will teach the patient a customized stretching and strengthening program to be used at home on a daily basis. The primary elements of a physical therapy program specifically created for large-breasted women are exercises for postural retraining, muscle stretching and axial muscle strengthening. These exercises, including strengthening of the abdominal and back muscles and stretching of the chest, shoulder and neck muscles, can help to correct the negative effects of gravity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Other non-surgical treatments that may help relieve symptoms of having oversized breasts include acupuncture, massage, yoga, chiropractic treatment and relaxation techniques. Nevertheless, these alternatives to surgery usually help symptoms only in the short-term. They do not fully address or permanently relieve the fundamental problems of heavy breasts and imbalanced muscles. To truly find relief from large breast symptoms

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