Pain hazards of high heels & handbags

By Chiropractor Nick Loftus

pain-hazards-high-heels-handbagsWhen a female patient arrives in the treatment room, suffering with neck and shoulder pain, I invariably see them bring a heavy looking handbag with them.

When I ask if I can just lift the said bag up to see how heavy it is – their response is usually all I need to know without even going anywhere near the bag!

So it seems handbags are a bit like lofts. It doesn’t matter how big or small they are, you just seem to fill them!

My point being that in all probability most large, heavy handbags could be relieved of 80% of their contents and the owner could be equally relieved of unnecessary neck and shoulder pain!

The demon handbag!

The trouble with most fashion bags is that they’re designed to be carried over one shoulder rather than over both, rucksack style. This of course is where the trouble begins as your upper body has to compensate for the heavy weight being slung over one shoulder.

Done day after day this can to lead to all sorts of neck and shoulder tension, headaches, arm pains and possibly even altered spinal alignment in the long term. None of which tends to go away very quickly even if you lighten the load and get treatment.

What to do:

Okay, I get you might not want to follow my chiropractic fashion trend – the rucksack! But if you are suffering neck and / or shoulder pain you really are better off to use a smaller bag for everyday use, that will be so much lighter.

If shoulder or neck pain persists, don’t just put up with it.

Gentle chiropractic manipulation may relieve tension and tightness. It’s one of those things that you really don’t realise just how tight and strained your body is feeling – until after treatment, when you can move more freely.

 And now… the back pain hazards when wearing high heels!

pain-hazards-high-heels-handbagsAgain the fashion industry has a lot to answer for! I’ve no doubt that the illusion of having longer legs can make you feel more feminine and elegant. But to regularly walk in high heels, can cause damage to virtually all of your musculoskeletal system – and can be far-reaching.

Your feet and ankles are designed to work in a certain way that has evolved over millions of years. Suddenly you’re asking them to do everything differently. And again it’s all about you asking your body to (over) compensate.

 Because the damage to your body is gradual and cumulative, it’s easy to convince yourself you’re getting by.

 High heels force your body forward and in order not to fall over you typically have to keep your knees bent, your anterior hip muscles shortened, your lumbar spine flattened and your upper back leaning backwards.

All of which is going to lead to muscle imbalance and pain.

 The high heel and handbag effect!

So in summary, high heels and heavy handbags KILL.  Ok not kill maybe but as a Guy Ritchie character might say “ ‘ave a word with yourself”. You’ll save a fortune on chiropractic treatments later on!

Seriously, if you do regularly wear high heels and are aware of any nagging joint or muscular pain, no matter how subtle, do come and get yourself checked out.

I promise not to nag, but I will help you to look at ways to strengthen and improve your posture, and advise how you can avoid unpleasant pain.

Nick Loftus, Chiropractor Waldegrave Clinic

Nick Loftus, Chiropractor Waldegrave Clinic

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