Do you suffer from a cricked neck, aching back or noisy knees? If you do, don’t immediately blame your office chair or an over-enthusiastic gym session – it could be down to the clothes you wear. Tight trousers and pencil skirts can damage muscles and joints as much as high heels and heavy bags, leaving you in pain.
Below a renowned chiropractor, Tim Hutchful, highlights the worst wardrobe offenders: Pencil Skirt: The problem with straight-sided, slim-fitted skirts is that they clamp your knees together, making it difficult to balance and bend. Squatting to pick something up from a lower drawer or shelf becomes too difficult too.
The best way to crouch safely is to bend the knees. But in a pencil skirt, your movement is limited. Over time, the damage and strain can become cumulative – you might no feel anything straight away, but if you wear tight skirts regularly, you could be setting yourself up for a pulled muscles or even disc problem.
Heavy necklace: The muscles, tendons and joints of the neck struggle to cope with the strain of balancing the 10lb to 12lb weight of the average head (equivalent to five bags of sugar) all day, so adding heavy necklace can tip the balance. Anything that pulls the neck forwards or backwards tips the head away from its point of neutral balance. This can create neck tension, pain and damage, and long-term could encourage a slouched posture with damaging consequences for the back.
Girdle: If it’s not too tight, and contains plenty of Lucra, support underwear can have a surprisingly beneficial effects because it can act like the compression clothing that top athletes wear to improve performance by increasing blood and lymphatic flow. However, wedge yourself into something too constricting and you could be in trouble.
Not only will shape-wear restrict breathing but, if it is tight enough to limit movement in the middle of your body, it will put abnormal loads on parts of the spine. If you restrict movement in one part of the spine, something has to compensate. This can trigger pain and ultimately damage the upper or lower back.
High Heels: Wearing heels too often can be bad for your feet and bad for your back. As well as triggering hammer toes and bunions, heels can cause the calf muscles to shorten, which can lead to circulation problems, knee damage and back pain. To minimise damage, keep high-heel time short; wear trainers when walking to and from work and stick to a small heel when possible. Also, alternative your shoe wardrobe, wearing different shoes (and heel heights) everyday.
Halter-neck top: A halter-neck bra, bikini, or tightly fitted top can pull the neck forward particularly, if the strap around your neck has to support a large or heavy bust. The strain on your neck will create muscle tension and can pull you in to a highly damaging form of posture called ‘anterior carriage’ where the neck sticks forwards on the body, with the shoulders rounded and slumped. This is a common case of neck, upper back and shoulder pain.
Ill-fitted bra: A large bust needs more support than can usually be offered by a pretty, lacy bra. The thin straps of a fashion bra can put too much pressure on the shoulders. Try to find bras with thick straps for everyday use and wear racer-back sports bra whenever possible to spread the strain across your shoulders.
Oversized bags: We’ve all known the danger of lugging a huge bad on one shoulder; but the Victoria-Beckam inspire trend of ‘displaying’ you designer purchase in the crook of your forearm could not be worse. This one-sided weight-lifting can increase the risk of muscle strain and pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back – and can even trigger tension headaches. Carrying a large bag over your shoulder is no better, particularly if you always use the same shoulder. Don’t overfill your bag (do you need a lire of water), hold it by the handle, or over the shoulder, switching sides regularly.
Skinny jeans: Jeans that grip tightly around the waist, hips, thighs and calves can make a normal walking action impossible. If you are not able to take bouncing stride, you lose the shock-absorbing qualities of a natural walk. This can create undue pressure in the joins. Wearing a tight belt could exacerbate the problem, triggering leg pain. And don’t sit for long periods with your phone in your back pockets, the imbalance caused by having one buttock higher than the other could cause back and hip pain.
Some of us men could be crude – Reader
“I am 46 years old”, writes Jubril, “happily married with a family and an avid reader of your column. I wish to disagree with the fact that infidelity is bad for marriage. For 20 years, I have strayed from the straight and narrow quite a few times, and had some wonderful experience. I worship the ground my wife walks on and she’s given me smashing children, but her sexual appetite doesn’t match mine.
The point of my letter is not to relate my extra-marital affairs, but to put forward my opinions of life. I’m not a super-stud, but I’ve discovered that most women like their men to start by just being considerate and gentle, perhaps a compliment, a kiss or a loving cuddle, a stroke of the hand on the back of her neck or very light stroking of her boobs through the clothes will evoke a better response than jumping on her in the `whambam’ manner.
“”From what a lot of my associates tell me, some of us men could be crude, never complementing a girl on the way she looks and dresses. They sometimes don’t even bother to kiss their women with restrained passion or murmuring endearment in their ears. Instead they grab at their prey’s tits like a thief with his band through the cashier’s till! “Please, let your readers be aware that whether you’re a hunk or a whimp all you need to be a winner with your woman is to let her know that, for the period she’s with you, she is the centre of your life”.