Is Fashion Causing You Pain?

May 26, 2017 | Blog, Houston Healthy Living Blog

When people experience neck pain, it is frequently associated with an exercise-related injury, a disc problem, or trauma such as whiplash. Although these culprits are certainly major causes of pain, it is essential that we examine all possible reasons. In the instance of neck pain, for example, do we typically realize that our heavy bags and briefcases may be the root of the problem? Because clothing is such an integral part of our lives, we often overlook that our fashion may be aggravating or causing discomfort, and that there are alternatives that may help alleviate such pain. Don’t be a victim of fashion. Being comfortable helps you look your best and never goes out of style.

Problem: High-Heeled Shoes

“High heels don’t provide good support when you walk, and they change the stability of your gait,” says Dr. Paul Holman, neurosurgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital. “Your spine, hips, knees, and feet all work together to help you walk smoothly. When one of those elements is out of balance – as it is when you wear high heels – your body compensates for it in some way, and that’s when problems arise.” When possible, choose flat shoes. Shoes with a gel insole or some shock-absorbing capacity may also be helpful. If you must wear heels, limit the amount of time you spend in them and change into something more comfortable for farther distances.

Problem: Tight Belts, Pants, and Skirts 

Tight-cinched belts or tight pants or skirts can compress the nerve that supplies sensation to the skin surface of your thigh, which may result in meralgia parasthetica, producing tingling, numbness, and pain in the outer thigh. This may be mitigated by wearing adjustable belts and wearing clothes the next size up. Walking, sitting, and breathing should be comfortable at all times.

Problem: Heavy Bags

“Heavy bags are a two-part problem. The first part is that some people simply carry too much stuff in their bag or briefcase, making it heavier than it needs to be. The second is that people tend to always carry the bag on their dominant side. This leads to uneven stress on the neck and can cause neck and shoulder pain,” says Dr. Holman. Remove items from your bag that you don’t need to carry with you, and try to equalize which side you carry your bag.