It’s probably time to swap all of the pants in your closet from painted-on skinny jeans to baggier boyfriend jeans. That is, if you want your back and shoulders to stop aching.
New research by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) suggests that our skin-tight slacks are restricting our natural movements, sending muscle groups that shouldn’t actually be active into overdrive. Because of this, our movements are being altered, changing our posture and causing all sorts of unwanted ailments including back, neck and shoulder pain.
We’re currently lengthening our spines and pulling our shoulders back as we digest the information.
“You’ve got a natural gait, or stride that you would take, and the knee, hip and lower back all move to minimise the pressure coming up through the joints,” chiropractor Rishi Loatey told The Independent. “However, if one of those areas isn’t moving as it should be, it’s going to cause more pressure elsewhere.”
According to the BCAs research, 73 per cent of the women included in the study noted that they suffer from some degree of back pain, and of those, 28 per cent said that the could tell their clothing was to blame, but still wore it anyway. We hate to admit it, but we’re guilty, too.
And tight jeans aren’t the only culprits. The study also looked at the (all too often jam-packed) bags we carry around on our shoulders, both backless and high heeled shoes, as well as heavy costume jewellery and even the hoods on the backs of our coats, which can coax our necks into unnatural positions.
“I am always surprised at how many of my patients are unaware that their clothing and accessories can affect their back health and their posture and, equally, how many decide their outfit-choice outweighs their pain,” added chiropractor Tim Hutchful in the BCA press release.
But do we really have to ditch all of our favourite clothes and accessories for the sake of our health? Hutchful says no, but we should be conscious.
“Moderation is best and there are easy ways you can reduce the impact on your posture and overall health. For example, try and limit the number of times you wear skinny jeans or high heels every week so you’re giving your body a break, or try investing in a backpack for days when you have a lot to carry around,” says Hutchful.
So, Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Friday are officially skinny jean days. And the rest of the week, we’ll opt for something more freeing like culottes… or tapered sweatpants.