An estimated 50 percent of women experience breast pain during a workout, according to a 2007 University of Portsmouth study. Most likely, this breast pain is a result of a lack of support provided for the breasts during the woman's exercise routine. The ligaments that help hold the breasts up are Coopers ligaments. These thin bands are interwoven into the breast, but they aren't very strong. That means they are susceptible to injury if not properly cared for 1. However, for most women, treatments for breast ligament pain are non-invasive and highly effective.
Running can cause your breasts to move both side to side as well as up and down. This repetitive movement can cause pain in both large-breasted and small-breasted women. The constant movement of the breast can cause permanent stretching of the Coopers ligaments, resulting in pain and in drooping breasts. Drooping breasts that are not properly supported can also cause upper back and neck pain. Prevention is the best cure for back and neck pain as a result of drooping breasts. Wearing a properly fitted sports bra provides the support necessary to prevent side to side movement as well as vertical movement of the breasts during a workout 1. If you don't already have breast ligament pain, a sports bra will help prevent it 1. If you do have breast ligament pain, a sports bra will help ease the pain 1. Pain medication is an option to treat breast ligament pain caused by repetitive workouts. However, a 2007 University of Portsmouth study shows that pain medication was only effective in 54 percent of women and it did cause some side effects. That same study showed that wearing a sports bra reduced breast pain in 80 percent of women with no side effects 1. A regular sports massage is another effective treatment option to help reduce pain caused by drooping breasts 1. You might also work to maintain correct posture to ease tension on your shoulders and back caused by drooping breasts.
When there is a blow to the breast, whether the result of a fall or an object, the Coopers ligaments can sustain injury 1. Symptoms include bruising and swelling of the breast, which can cause pain. Applying ice packs to the area will help reduce the swelling and the pain if the injury is minor 1. However, if the swelling is severe, or if you don't find the relief you need, you might need to see your doctor. Sometimes, it's necessary to aspirate (suck the fluid out of the injured area with a needle) the area to reduce swelling. If you participate in sports, such as:
- tennis or martial arts
- where it's possible to sustain a blow to your breasts
- consider wearing a plastic cupped bra over your sports bra for additional support
- protection of your Coopers ligaments 1