Bras for arm/shoulder pain
November 11, 2020 8:52 AM   Subscribe

I've hurt my arm/shoulder, and I'm having trouble putting my bra on. Is there a bra that's easier to put on? A few snowflakes inside.

I have a lot of pain in my arm and shoulder that's limiting my mobility a bit. Medical info for the worried: Since I have bone marrow cancer, my oncologist ordered an x-ray, which showed no bone problems, so he thinks it's my rotator cuff. In normal times, an MRI and probably PT would be next, but the pandemic has made those seem not great options right now, so I'm currently just living with it. But it's tough to get my bra on when I want to leave the house. Googling, I've found possible options, but I'd like some recommendations. Needs to be available online in the US. I'm at the large end of regular sizes or the small end of plus sizes.
posted by FencingGal to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Apologies if this is too obvious, but can you fasten the bra in front, rotate it around your torso to the back while keeping it low on your frame, put the hurty arm through the strap and then use your good arm to pull the bra up, move the hurty arm strap to your shoulder, and make subsequent adjustments? In a similar vein, would front closure bras work better?
posted by carmicha at 8:56 AM on November 11, 2020

That's what I've been doing. It's still quite painful.
Front closure might work better. Recommendations?
posted by FencingGal at 9:02 AM on November 11, 2020

I have a front closure bra - from Soma (now bankrupt maybe?) and also resort to camisoles with a shelf bra when my shoulder is really grumpy. And carmicha's approach works too - better with bras that don't have a wire.
posted by leslies at 9:30 AM on November 11, 2020

This may depend on your shape and what level of support you need, but I have a wireless bra from True and Co. that is stretchy enough to just step into it and pull it up from below. It is also the comfiest thing ever.
posted by lomes at 9:42 AM on November 11, 2020

I needed a non-underwire front closure bra following surgery. I purchased these Fruit of the Loom bras. They are serviceable, comfortable, and very inexpensive. YMMV depending on your bra size and needs.
posted by reren at 9:56 AM on November 11, 2020

When my right shoulder was rendered immobile and extremely painful last year, I got by with stretchy sports bras (Patagonia, fwiw). I sized up one size from my usual and have no complaints.
posted by sugarbomb at 10:59 AM on November 11, 2020

Oh, relevant addendum: I put them on by stepping into them
posted by sugarbomb at 11:34 AM on November 11, 2020

I tore my rotator cuff earlier this year and have had the same exact bra issue. I *thought* that front closure bras would be the way forward, but no. The problem is that you need a certain amount of shoulder strength and agility to bring the two sides close enough together in the middle in order to get the zipper to connect and be able to zip it up. It's actually MORE painful than the hook in front and rotate around method for a back-closure bra. A front-closure hook bra is slightly easier, but frankly, both suck.

What worked for me was tank tops with a built in bra shelf but NOT one that has a built in bra with a hidden hook closure inside. That was actually the worst of all options because you can't hook and twist it like a normal back closure bra.

Bravissimo had a tank top bra with just a nice comfy shelf (no hooks or closures) and you can order them in very specific sizing, which is great! I was lucky that I could step in/out of it. I lived in that thing all summer and probably spared myself a lot of further damage from contorting myself to get in and out of other boob contraptions.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:21 PM on November 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I had a shoulder issue two years ago and although I recovered full range of movement pretty fast, I couldn't put any stress on it so fastening a bra behind my back, no. Fastening it in front and twisting it around, not in high humidity. Stretchy sleep bra, still painful to pull on. Front closing bra with hooks and eyes up to my chin (ugh), ended up with these but reaching behind to pull the other end to the front was annoying. I think I would try those stick-on bra cups if it happens again.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:08 PM on November 11, 2020

Medical info for the worried

Thank you; I immediately worried about it being related to your big diagnosis. So glad to know that’s not the case.

posted by ocherdraco at 7:10 PM on November 11, 2020

Not a shoulder injury, but I had a lumpectomy and then general soreness and peeling from radiation. I liked shape wear tank tops, shelf bra camisoles (and yes stepped into them), a Soma version of the True bra linked above and also the fruit of the loom bra linked above. I still wear the camis because they allow easy port access, in case that is a consideration for you.
posted by Pleased_As_Punch at 7:46 PM on November 11, 2020

This has been bugging me since I read your question but while struggling into my most restrictive running bra I just remembered what I did when I had a shoulder thing! I wore sports bras with straps that come undone at the top. Then you can fasten the band somewhere comfortable (at your waist or before you step in) and fasten the shoulder strap around your bad arm. It’s tricky but it doesn’t hurt! Memail me if you want a video!
posted by mskyle at 2:53 AM on November 12, 2020

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