Tugging, itching and pulling your bra may be more than a signal for discomfort but the onset of back pain. Approximately three in five (59%) U.S. women who wear a bra say it causes back, shoulder or neck pain, according to a national survey released today. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive®, was commissioned by the North American Spine Society (NASS) and Maidenform, Inc. which are teaming up on an educational campaign to help women select a bra that fits correctly and avoid back pain.FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Survey Reveals That Six in 10 Women Say Their Bras Cause Back, Shoulder or Neck Pain
La Grange, IL – October 3, 2006 – Tugging, itching and pulling your bra may be more than a signal for discomfort but the onset of back pain. Approximately three in five (59%) U.S. women who wear a bra say it causes back, shoulder or neck pain, according to a national survey released today. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive®, was commissioned by the North American Spine Society (NASS) and Maidenform, Inc. which are teaming up on an educational campaign to help women select a bra that fits correctly and avoid back pain.
While the vast majority of women who wear a bra strongly or somewhat agree that comfort is their most important consideration when choosing a bra (87%) about three in five (59%) agree that their bra never seems to fit them quite right, and about two in five (41%) agree their bra does not provide the support they need.
According to Dr. Marjorie Eskay-Auerbach, NASS board member and a leading physician at the SpineCare and Forensic Medicine Center in Tucson, Arizona, “More and more women are complaining about back pain and some of this is directly attributable to innerwear that doesn’t provide proper support. Many women do not know exactly what to look for in a bra and through simple education and a professional bra fitting some of this back pain can be alleviated.”
What’s to Blame?
The survey revealed that women who experience back, shoulder or neck pain attributed to their bra are most likely to cite the straps (62%) as the main culprit. Forty four percent cite the bra’s band around the ribcage and 25% attribute the under wire as the bra part that makes them the most uncomfortable. As a result, more than half (53%) of women whose bras cause them pain have tried to solve the issue by purchasing a new bra, and about two in five (41%) have loosened the straps while wearing their bra. Only 12% of wearers have sought professional advice on how to find a better fitting bra.
“Wearing an ill-fitting bra can cause women to hunch over and practice poor posture. Women need to wear bras that give them support and a fit that provides comfort for backs, shoulders and necks. Finding a bra with the right support and form is not only a matter of comfort, but also an important factor for overall spine health,” says Dr. Eskay-Auerbach.
More Complaints by Younger Women
Attitudes about bra fit and function vary by generation. Compared to their older counterparts, younger women are more likely to agree that their bra never seems to fit exactly right (71% women 18-34 vs. 49% women 55+) and that their breasts often bounce when they walk (53% women 18-34 vs. 29% women 55+). Younger women also shared that the shoulder straps of their bra always fall off (47% women 18-34 vs. 25% women 55+).
Getting the Right Fit
Fran Musante, fit expert at Maidenform says, “First and foremost women need to be properly supported. The fact is, bras don’t cause pain – really it’s the weight of the breasts that cause it. But it can almost always be corrected with a professional fitting and the right bra.”
According to Musante, most women wear the wrong size bra. It is critical that women be properly measured and fitted for their bras every three years to help avoid discomfort. Whether women are full-figured or small-busted, many bras available today offer a custom-like fit that is contoured for each body type.
“Our bodies change and regular fittings are the best way to avoid discomfort that may lead to back pain,” says Mustante. “A bra that fits properly should be so comfortable you shouldn’t even feel like you have it on.”
NASS and Maidenform developed the following tips for women to follow to help alleviate back pain and ensure the perfect fit for optimal support and maximum comfort:
• Determine Your True Bra Size – Women can measure themselves using guidelines at www.maidenform.com or with a professional fitting in their local department store.
• Try on Several Different Bras – Find a bra that provides the level of support needed. Many women think the shoulder straps should hold the breasts, however, breast tissue should be properly supported from the under wire or undercut panel. Straps anchor the bra in place.
• Update Your Bra Wardrobe Annually – With typical washing and wearing, bras lose their ability to support over time. Because bust size changes frequently due to factors such as weight loss or gain, pregnancy and age, women should get fitted at least every two years.
For guidelines on how to determine whether you are wearing the correct bra size, log-on to www.maidenform.com .
About the survey:
This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive® on behalf of the North American Spine Society (NASS) and Maidenform between August 3, and August 7, 2006 among 1,359 U.S. adult women 18 years of age or older. Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
With a pure probability sample of 1,359 adult women one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of 4 percentage points. The sampling error for the sub-samples of women who wear a bra (n= 1,327) and women whose bra causes back, shoulder or neck pain (n= 828) is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
About Maidenform Brands, Inc.
Maidenform Brands, Inc. is a global intimate apparel company with a portfolio of established and well-known brands, top-selling products and an iconic heritage. Maidenform designs, sources and markets an extensive range of intimate apparel products, including bras, panties and shapewear. During the Company's 84-year history, Maidenform has built strong equity for its brands and established a solid growth platform through a combination of innovative, first-to-market designs and creative advertising campaigns focused on increasing brand awareness with generations of women. Maidenform sells its products under some of the most recognized brands in the intimate apparel industry, including Maidenform®, Flexees®, Lilyette®, Sweet Nothings®, Rendezvous®, Subtract®, Bodymates® and Self Expressions®. Maidenform products are currently distributed in 48 countries and territories. For more information on how to find your correct bra size and the type of bra that is best for you, visit www.maidenform.com .
The North American Spine Society (NASS) is a multidisciplinary organization that advances quality spine care through education, research and advocacy. NASS members are MDs, DOs and PhDs in 22 spine-related specialties including orthopedics, neurosurgery, physiatry, pain management and other disciplines. Nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, chiropractors, physical therapists, practice administrators and other allied health care professionals involved in spine care are also represented in NASS as affiliate members. For more information on spine care or to find a spine specialist in your area, please contact 1-877-SPINE-DR or visit www.spine.org .
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