Q: I am a busy working woman and need to wear suits and heels daily. I do not mind this because I feel good about the way I look, but I am concerned that doing this for over 5 years is beginning to give me problems. Could my restrictive attire cause my pain?
A: Absolutely. Chiropractors are talking about this topic on a daily basis. Don’t let a fashion statement put you at risk for back, shoulder or any other type of physical discomfort. Stiletto heels and platforms may be all the rage, for example, but they could be perilous to the feet and the back. High heels, in particular, force a shift in the body’s balance, making muscles work differently to compensate. If this goes on long enough, your body’s mechanics can be permanently altered. And this doesn’t even take into account the damage to your feet.
Tight skirts may look terrific on some. But the restriction they put on free movement of the legs and hips can cause parts of the body to move unnaturally. They can also turn bending and sitting into uncomfortable experiences. These altered movements will sooner or later create a great risk for injury. For instance, think of the way you must bend forward to pick something up. If you cannot bend at the knees freely and have to flex forward only at the waist, you are forcing your low back to go into a very risky position.
The heavy handbag is another unhealthy fashion statement. Whether it’s an overloaded handbag or an attaché case, it’s a problem for both women and men. If a bag is more than 10 percent of your body weight, it can put you out of balance. When slung over a shoulder, a heavy bag forces a person to hike that shoulder up higher and keep the other one immobile.
All these things can adversely impact the spine. So, you can make a fashion statement; just make sure it doesn’t interfere with natural movement. If you are experiencing problems and are not sure why, its time to look closely at your priorities as it relates to fashion. It may also be time to call a chiropractor for help.
My office and providers voluntarily offer community health talks free of charge to those in the Morgantown area. Each speaker is a representative of The Foundation for Wellness Professionals.
We can be reached at 304-225-9355 for questions regarding this community health service, if your organization is interested in wellness speakers.
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