What to Do When Your Bra Straps Hurt Your Shoulders

By Mallory Ferland

Your bra should make you feel and look great. If you experience shoulder pain caused by irritating straps digging into your skin, there are remedies you can and should try. A painful bra can be an indication that you are wearing an incorrectly sized bra, which after a period of time can negatively affect your posture, give you painful neck and headaches, and improperly support your breasts--not to mention the irritating shoulder pain.

Bra on bed
credit: Bra on bed image by cvrgrl from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Loosen the Straps

The first thing to do when any piece of clothing hurts you is to loosen it. You may have longer shoulders than average women who wear your size bra, so if you did not adjust the straps after purchasing, you may need to do so. Too short of straps will cause the bra to pinch down on your shoulders and up under you breasts. Slide the straps loose by at least an inch and experiment for a few hours with how it feels. If the straps give you pain, you may need a different bra.

Purchase Bra Strap Cushions

If you know that you are wearing the exact size for your figure (fitted by a bra specialist; most lingerie and department stores offer complimentary bra experts to aide you, so take advantage) and the straps still hurt your shoulders, consider purchasing a bra strap cushion. The cushions are discreet soft foam pads that slip over your straps to create a bumper between you and the strap. They come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes and are relatively inexpensive accessories, ranging from $6.00 to $15.00.
You should be able to purchase bra strap cushions at most department stores or wherever lingerie is sold. There are also many online boutiques that make finding the right sized and priced cushion easy. A few top boutiques include laurensilva.com and yourbraaccessories.com.

Buy a Different Bra

If the shoulder pain continues, you may need to try a different size or style of bra. You will need to try going up a size in your bra even if you believe it is the right size. The right bra should both lift and make you feel comfortable in all places, including the shoulders. Buying a bra with wider straps also might solve the problem. For larger cup sizes, thicker straps allow for the support to be distributed along a greater area of the shoulder, thus relieving painful pressure points. Variant styles also may aide in relieving your shoulder discomfort. Bras are made in a plethora of shapes and styles. Experiment with finding the right style for your body. Various styles include halter, racerback and even strapless bras. Though for those with larger cup sizes, strapless bras are not recommended for daily wear due to lack of support. Consider purchasing multiple styles and rotating from day to day to allow your shoulders to recover from each day's pressure point.