Breast Reduction for Migraines

Breast reduction for migraines is a procedure to lessen the pain of headaches that the large breasts cause. This can result in a vast improvement in quality of life, even curing migraine headaches. As with any cosmetic procedure, it’s important to carefully choose a surgeon who can perform a breast reduction for migraines.

Some women report that their chronic headaches improved or disappeared after their breast reduction. While this connection is not yet understood, it could have something to do with the extra weight on the chest, putting stress on the muscles in the upper back, neck, and head, and affecting the nerves that lead to headaches.

In this article, we’ll answer question like breast reduction surgery and does breast reduction help with migraines.

Breast Reduction for Migraines

Can overly large breasts be a contributing factor in chronic headaches or migraine?

The commonly reported physical symptoms leading to women deciding to have breast reduction surgery are back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, rashes underneath the breasts, deep grooving of the shoulders and shoulder pain. In addition to all these physical symptoms, it is not uncommon for women presenting for breast reduction to complain of chronic headaches and / or migraines.

Could overlying large breasts be one contributing factor in the chronic headaches in some of these women?

In 2010, a research study looking at this issue was published (1). The study looked at a group of women who had breast reduction between 2003 and 2008. Sixty nine per cent of women had chronic headaches before their surgery. Of these women, 53% ( just over half) reported a greater than 50 % reduction in the frequency and severity of their headaches after surgery. Twenty one percent of the women reported that their headaches had resolved completely following surgery.

Headaches and migraines can have multiple causes so I am not trying to over simplify what can be, for some people, a very complex and difficult-to-resolve problem but in some cases, it could be that overly large breasts and the physical symptoms and postural changes related to overly large breasts could be one causative factor in chronic headaches. It is food for thought.

In clinical practice, women often report lessening or resolution of headache problems following breast reduction surgery.

Pain from Large Breasts

6 Common Health Issues Caused by Overly Large Breasts & How to Remedy Them

While some women long for bigger breasts, those with overly large breasts may inform them it’s not always a blessing. Abnormally large breasts, also known as macromastia, have been linked to several physical health issues ranging from pain to migraines. 

Popular blogger Monica Froese documented her lifelong struggle with larger breasts in a Healthline article titled “5 Reasons Having Big Boobs Isn’t Everything It’s Cracked Up to Be.” She explained she often had a tough time finding a bra that fit right and her breasts got in the way of playing sports.   

Buglino Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery delves into the medical issues that can arise from overly large breasts, and how to treat them. 

Neck, Shoulder & Back Pain

Larger breasts have a tendency to pull the shoulders down and hunch the back, leading to poor posture, and ultimately, persistent pain in the neck, shoulder, and back. According to a study in The Open Orthopaedics Journal that looked at more than 300 women, shoulder and neck pain related to the breasts may be caused by changes in the body’s center of gravity. Having large or heavy breasts may also cause constant tension on the middle and lower fibers of the trapezius muscle and other muscles that are connected to it.

This is amplified by the fact that women with bigger breasts are often wearing the wrong size bra. A 2013 study of postmenopausal women states, “Increasing breast size and how a bra is worn may have biomechanical implications for the loaded thoracic spine and surrounding musculature.” Larger breasts and increased BMI were concluded to be associated with thoracic pain.

Shoulder Grooves

If your breasts are extremely large, your bra may not fully support them—even if you’ve been fitted with the correct size. This can cause your straps to leave deep indentations in your shoulders. They may not disappear once you take your bra off. Purchasing a wide-strap bra can help, but may not eliminate the grooves entirely. 

Rashes 

Bigger breasts create the perfect environment for rashes to form beneath them. Your breasts will rub against the skin on your abdomen, causing friction, moisture and heat. It will develop a sweat rash known as intertrigo, which is a yeast infection. It will appear in the skin fold as red or reddish-brown, raw and itchy, cracked, and sore. 

Numbness

When bras don’t fit properly, your breasts can become numb. This is a result of the compression of small nerve fibers in the breast tissue or chest wall. Large breasts can also lead to numbness in the hands and fingers if they pull the torso and affect the neck position. This poor posture can lead to compressed nerve pathways down your arms.  

Inability to Exercise & Shortness of Breath

The aforementioned woman, who documented her problems with her breasts, also cited inabilities and concerns about exercising. She felt her breasts bounced too much while working out, so she was embarrassed to go to the gym. Larger breasts also cause shortness of breath, which can be a contributing factor to quitting training. The weight of the excess tissue can constrict the natural movement of the diaphragm. A study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, shared by the National Library of Medicine, found participants were able to breathe easier following breast reduction surgery.

Headaches

Women often cite headaches as a symptom of having extremely large breasts. One study found that patients with macromastia who experienced chronic headaches or migraines could find relief after a breast reduction. Journalist Beth Ford Roth detailed her journey with DD breasts that triggered “blindingly painful headaches” in an article titled “I Got Breast Reduction Surgery For My Migraines,” for the online women’s magazine Bustle. Once she underwent a breast reduction, she felt “free.” 

How do you resolve these problems?

Although you can manage many of these issues with heat packs, massages, or physical therapy, they aren’t long-term solutions. However, all six symptoms can vanish with a breast reduction. The surgery removes some of the tissue and skin from the breasts to reduce their size. It can also reshape the breast and make the areola smaller. The procedure improves posture, takes the pressure off the shoulders and spine, and diminishes chronic pain and headaches. A 10-year retrospective analysis surveyed more than 150 women who had reductions, finding 95 percent of them satisfied. 

Breast Reduction Surgery

The level of sensation in the breast area around the nipple may increase, decrease, or remain unchanged after breast surgery. When the nerves just below the nipple are cut, sensitivity there decreases or disappears altogether.

Breast surgery, the incisions made, and the patient’s recovery all play a role in the likelihood of this happening.

Does Breast Reduction Help With Migraines

Migraine trigger points related to the nerves can be treated with a plastic surgery technique called nerve decompression surgery. When a small number of Dr. Bahman Guyuron’s brow lift patients began reporting improvements in their migraine symptoms, researchers took notice.

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