How can I adjust my posture after breast reduction surgery?
You've decided to have breast reduction surgery and have familiarised yourself with the process. The preparation and procedure are very important, but equally as important is learning to incorporate your new chest weight and shape into your everyday life after the surgery is complete.
One of the most common reasons women seek breast reduction surgery relates to postural problems.
Most commonly postural issues cause shoulder, neck and upper back strain and pain as a result of the weight of the breasts pulling down on the muscles around the shoulder and neck. Hunching forwards of the shoulders either due to the weight of the breasts or by the habit of hunching to hide large breasts also is a common cause for pain. Further, postural problems can be caused by the neck and back muscles overcompensating for the weight of the breasts leading to muscle tenderness and spasm.
Breast reduction by reducing the size (and weight) of the breasts, relieves the demand on neck and back muscles and usually patients will get significant immediate relief. Hopefully the need to hide your large breasts for social reasons is also removed so overtime the opportunity to correct these long-standing postural issues opens up. Physiotherapy or chiropractic advice may prove more lasting and effective or hopefully not necessary at all.
Getting used to your new breasts is a process. Prior to breast reduction the weight of the breasts make it difficult to maintain good posture and can even lead to spinal deformity (such as a hump at the base of the neck which patients sometimes report). If your muscles are not used to an upright posture, and not strengthened to maintain your new posture, you may find yourself hunching over anyway through habit.
It is important to note that maintaining core strength and working to retraining your muscle memory after the surgery can help to restore an upright posture. This is one of many long term benefits of breast reduction procedures.
Some simple strengthening exercises as well as a conscious effort to sit upright will be the first steps to your new posture. A physiotherapist or chiropractor may be useful to consult, once you feel that you have reached a stage in your recovery where posture is your primary concern. A strengthening workout such as yoga or Pilates may also be a good way to slowly reactivate those neck, shoulder and back muscles which need to be re- taught.
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