Can pain and weird feelings like tingling and falling asleep in arms and upper back be caused by large breast?

Can large breasts cause pains in my arm, hands, breasts and upper back. I have seen a couple doctors, had a neck MRI which was clear. I have a 38H bust and especially since having kids I have been In off and on pain. My elbows, pinky and ring ringers fall asleep or hurt. My upper back burns and tingles and aches and the sides and middle of my breasts also ache on and off. It worsens when carrying heavy things. Is plastic surgery my only option? Sometimes I think I'm going crazy!

Doctor Answers 3

Large breasts causing numbness and tingling?

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Hi MsOcrchic12,

Thanks for your questions and description of your symptoms.  I'm sorry that you are having these issues.  It is definitely possible that your overly large breasts are causing all of the problems that you listed out.  Once you have seen a neurologist and ruled out other causes of nerve compression, I would encourage you to schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who has experience with breast reduction.  

Breast reduction patients across the board are my most satisfied patients.  It can be absolutely life changing to have that literal "weight" lifted off their shoulders and relief from the symptoms they experience daily due to having overly large breasts.

Best wishes!

Dr. Brown

La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Can pain and weird feelings like tingling and falling asleep in arms and upper back be caused by large breast?

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It is quite possible if not likely that much of your symptomatology is caused by the size and pendulousness of your breasts.  I advise you to be seen by a neurologist however to make sure that there are not multiple pathologies involved before proceeding with breast reduction surgery.  Patients who undergo breast reduction surgery note improvement in their posture and general reduction in neck, shoulder and upper and lower back pain as a result of their reduction surgery.  Of course it does not rule out the possibility that you have a cervical disc problem as well which is why would like you to be seen by neurologist.

Good luck and best wishes.

Jon A Perlman M.D., FACS
Diplomate, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Member, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)
ABC-TV Extreme Makeover Surgeon
Beverly Hills, California

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Can pain and weird feelings like tingling and falling asleep in arms and upper back be caused by large breast?

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I am sorry to hear about the symptoms you are experiencing. Based on your description, it is quite likely that at least some of your symptoms are caused or exacerbated by disproportionately large breasts. In other words, I do not think that you are "going crazy".

 Once a specific neurologic concern (spinal cord or brachial plexus nerve impingement) has been ruled out (neurology consultation), then  consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons and consideration of breast reduction surgery may be the good next step.

 Generally speaking, breast reduction surgery is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform. By removing “excess” breast tissue, adipose tissue, and breast skin  this operation reduces AND lifts the breasts to a higher position on the chest wall (in other words, the breasts are "automatically" lifted when a breast reduction is performed). By doing so, patients often find improvement in neck, back, and shoulder discomfort and find it easier to form their activities of daily living and exercise.

Again, when the time is right,  seek consultation with well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeons. Ask to see lots of examples of their work and communicate your goals clearly. Best NOT  to communicate your goals in terms of achieving a specific cup size; this type of communication can be a source of miscommunication. In my practice, I prefer the use of goal pictures during this communication phase;  many patients wish to remove enough breast tissue to improve/alleviate symptoms while maintaining upper/lower body proportionality. 

I hope this, and the attached link (dedicated to breast reduction surgery concerns), helps.   Best wishes.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.