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Bags, heels and back pain

Could your wardrobe be causing you back pain?

From pencil skirts to skinny jeans, there are a range of everyday outfits that can be the cause for bad necks, painful backs and aching knees.

High heels

Wearing high heels more regularly than not can be bad for your feet and back. Hammer toes, bunions, shortened calf muscles; the list of ailments caused by wearing shoes with too high heels goes on, including circulation problems, knee damage and back pain. Eliminate damage by reducing the amount you wear high heels. Opting to wear trainers while walking long distances, such as to and from work, will help matters, as well as sticking to a small heel as much as possible.

Oversized bags

You may already be aware of the danger of lugging a heavy bag over one shoulder but did you know that carrying it in the crook of your forearm could be even worse? This one-sided lift can increase the risk of muscle strain and pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back and even trigger tension headaches. Top tips? Don’t overfill your bag, hold it by the handle or, if you must wear it over one shoulder, change sides regularly.

Skinny jeans

Wearing jeans that grip around the waist, hips, thighs and calves can reduce your mobility, even if it’s just walking that you’re doing. Restrictive clothing can lead to a loss of ‘bounce’ in your stride and the natural shock-absorbing qualities in your walk, causing pressure in your joints.

 Pencil skirts

Tight trousers and pencil skirts can damage muscles and joints as much as high heels and heavy bags, leaving you in pain. Their straight-sided, slim fit clamps your knees together, making it harder to balance and bend. Wearing a tight skirt regularly could lead to a pulled muscle or even disc problems because of the limitations they put on your ability to move.

Heavy necklaces

Our necks have to struggle to cope with the strain of the weight of an average head (around 10lb to 12lb – roughly equivalent to five bags of sugar) day in day out, so adding a heavy necklace can really heighten the pressure. Not only this, wearing a heavy necklace also pulls the neck forward or backwards, away from its point of neutral balance. This can lead to neck tension and pain, and long-term could encourage a slouched posture and damage to the back.

Supportive Underwear

While wearing supportive underwear can have beneficial effects on your posture, as it acts like the compression clothing top athletes wear to improve performance by increasing blood and lymphatic flow, choosing the wrong variety will cause trouble. Wedging yourself into something too tight, which contains low amounts of flexible lycra will not only restrict breathing but, if it’s tight enough, also limit the movement in the middle of your body, placing abnormal loads on parts of your spine. Restricting movement to sections of your spine means that other parts have to compensate. This usually leads to pain and, ultimately, damage in your upper or lower back.