By: Katie Lemon
If you wear bras, you know the relief that comes with taking one off at the end of the day. It raises the question… why are we wearing bras that cause us so much pain and discomfort, and what can we do about it?
If you’re starting to wonder, “why does my bra hurt my ribs?” then today’s blog post is for you. You don’t have to suffer choosing between an underwire bra vs no underwire or start going braless all the time. I’ll walk you through the many reasons you might be suffering from rib pain along the bra line, and my two favorite hemp bra styles that can help you ditch that rib pain for good.
WHY DOES MY BRA HURT MY RIBS? IT COULD BE THE FIT
80% of women don’t wear the right size bra, with a shocking 70% wearing a bra that’s too small. There’s a good chance you’re a part of that statistic if you’re suffering rib pain from your bra.
CHECK YOUR SIZE
A bra that’s too small will pinch the skin around your ribs and back, causing discomfort throughout the day. If you have deep indentations or red marks around your ribcage when you take your bra off, that’s a sign your bra may be too small.
CHECK YOUR CLASP
Another issue may be that you're clasping your bra too tight. If your bra has clasps, try using the loosest setting on the bra and see if your rib pain goes away. Still too tight? You can always purchase a bra extender. These handy bits of fabric lengthen your bra band, which could save you from having to replace all your bras.
CHECK YOUR STRAPS
One last way the fit of your bra could be affecting your ribs is if the straps are too loose. If your bra straps aren’t tight enough, your bra will begin to sit lower on your body throughout the day, and could pinch that sensitive area below your breasts. Check the straps on your bras and make sure they hold your breasts comfortably, without much pressure on your shoulders but also without letting the cups fall too low.
WHY DOES MY BRA HURT MY RIBS? IT COULD BE YOUR BODY
Some women have more prominent rib cages than others, which makes it more likely that you’d suffer from rib cage pain from a bra. This is also called a high rib cage, and because every woman’s body is different, this could be what’s causing that rib pain.
How to know if you have a high rib cage? Press your fingers along the space under your breasts, where the band of your bra normally sits. If you can feel your ribs with very little pressure applied, you most likely have a high rib cage.
If it takes a bit of pressure to feel your ribs, but you’re still suffering from rib pain, you might just have sensitive skin or muscle tissue. And that’s okay! But it may be time to reevaluate what kinds of bras you wear.
WHY DOES MY BRA HURT MY RIBS? IT COULD BE THE BRA STYLE
We’re lucky to live in a world with a wide variety of bra options, but that doesn’t mean they’re all equally comfortable for your rib cage. Here are some common bra styles and designs that could be causing that infamous rib pain:
- Underwire bras
- Rigid lingerie
- Shapewear bras
All of these bra types can put extra stress on your rib cage, which can make you feel sore and tender after wearing them often. So if you wear underwire bras, rigid bras, or shapewear bras regularly, try taking a break from those styles to see if things improve.
WHY DOES MY BRA HURT MY RIBS? IT COULD BE YOUR BODY CHANGING
Women’s bodies go through many different changes throughout life, and one of these life stages could be the culprit behind your sore ribs. There are three potential bodily changes that could cause some discomfort from your bra to your ribs:
- Pregnancy: if you’re pregnant or think you could be, this could be making your breasts (and the rest of your midsection) grow in size, which will make your bra feel tighter and less comfortable.
- Growth spurt: if you’re still growing, you might need to get your bra size checked again. Many women don’t stop growing until they’re 18 or 20, so if you’re a young woman it might just be time to size up your bra.
- Menstruation: just like when you’re pregnant, your period creates a change in your hormones that can cause breasts to swell in size and become tender. This pain could extend to your rib cage, so if it’s that time of the month, take a break from your tighter bras.
HOW TO AVOID RIB PAIN FROM BRAS
As you now know, there are many potential causes when it comes to why your bra is hurting your ribs. To tackle those issues once and for all, I recommend following these tips to stay comfortable and avoid rib cage pain from your bra:
WEAR THE RIGHT SIZE
If you’re suffering from rib pain from your bras, the first thing you should do is double check your bra size. A bra that’s too small will not only cause rib pain, but could potentially cut off circulation, impair your breathing, and cause skin irritation. Avoid all that by making sure you’re wearing the right size. You can find your bra size easily with a measuring tape.
WEAR IT PROPERLY
Make sure you’ve got proper form: your straps should feel firm against your shoulders but not too tight, but they also shouldn’t let the cups of your bra hang loose or the band sit too low on your ribs. Double check what clasp you’re using, and that it’s tight enough to feel secure throughout the day but doesn’t cause pain after wearing for a while.
WEAR THE RIGHT STYLE
Avoid any bra element that’s likely to cause bra pain: like underwire, rigid lingerie, and shapewear. Or as much as you can, give your body a break by alternating what kinds of bras you wear on different days. When it comes to the best styles of bras that don’t cause bra pain but still look and feel great, I’ve got two favorite options in mind...
BRAS THAT DON'T CAUSE RIB PAIN
When it comes to wearing a bralette vs bra, go with a bralette if you suffer from rib pain: they’re comfortable, versatile, and won’t hurt your ribs even after a full day of wear. Plus, the two styles below are made from one of the most sustainable fabrics out there: hemp! Keep your breasts secure and cozy with either of these styles, while leaving behind that pesky rib pain once and for all.
The racerback bralette is designed with a stylish, athletic look that’s perfect for busy days or lounging around the house. With a traditional fit in a pullover style, the racerback bralette can be worn while doing chores around the house, out to brunch with friends, or on errands around town without causing rib pain.
The triangle bralette is designed for everyday wear and pairs well with everything in your closet. The triangle shape makes it ideal for wearing under low-cut tops, tanks, and more, and the convertible straps make it a breeze to transition from one style to another. The band has clasps to adjust for size and is nice and wide to keep your ribs comfortable, no matter what you get up to throughout the day.
CONCLUSION: WHY DOES MY BRA HURT MY RIBS?
Rib pain from wearing a bra has practically become a rite of passage among those of us who wear bras, but it shouldn’t have to be that way. If your bra hurts your ribs, it’s time to switch things up. Try out the racerback bralette or triangle bralette to experience life without all the agonizing rib pain. You’ll love how it feels to go about your day feeling comfortable yet supported!
Do you suffer from rib pain due to your bras? Have you tried wearing a racerback or triangle bralette yet? Let me know in the comments.