More often than not, women love high heels in order to look leaner, taller, and smarter especially during special occasions. Although high heels are often extremely uncomfortable and have a stigma of being bad for your overall health, this does not stop women from wearing them regularly or even daily in some cases.
So, if you’re a high-heel-lover, you may be asking the same question as all of us: Are high heels bad for my back? Find out if the sacrifices we make for the sake of beauty and fashion are actually worth the pain by reading below:
How high heels affect your back
Once you put on that pair of four-inch platforms or stilettos, your body adjusts accordingly. Sure, you look slimmer and taller with a rounder bust and bum, but at what price? Aside from pressure on your joints, your pelvis, feet, knees, hips, neck, ankles, and back all suffer tremendously.
Studies show that women who wear high heels are more prone to back problems because of the following reasons:
● High heels change your posture
Naturally, your spine curves in a way resembling the letter S. There are also discs that absorb impact in between each vertebra that protect your spine from stress such as when you bend or jump.
When you are wearing high heels, your lower back tends to arch outward than it normally would, and all your weight is pushed forward. To compensate for this and maintain your balance, your upper body leans back.
This compensation puts extra pressure on the discs, causing back pain and muscle spasms after a few hours. Backaches and pain can also be due to the tightening of your hamstring muscles. These muscles attach to the lower back and pelvis.
● Anatomical changes may occur.
Wearing high heels regularly for prolonged periods of time can cause your body to develop anatomical changes over the years. Aside from the extra stress on your knees, ankles, and back, your calf muscles also shorten and your tendons become thicker and tighter.
● Wearing high heels can affect the pelvic structures.
Aside from these, the normal working dynamics between the glutes, the pelvic floor, respiratory diaphragm, multifidus, and transverse abdominis become imbalanced when you wear high heels. And unfortunately, Kegels are not much of help to relieve its symptoms.
● Other back and bone issues.
Wearing high heels can also lead to:
● Scoliosis or unnatural curving of the spine
● Pain in the lower back
● Ingrown toenails
● Muscle spasms
● Osteoarthritis on the knees
● Damage to leg tendons
The effects of wearing high heels on your back can even get worse if you already experience these spine conditions or injuries:
● Spondylolisthesis: This is a usual injury of the lower back due to excessive hyperextension or arching of the back. It happens when a vertebra slides above another.
● Foraminal stenosis: This can be a congenital condition where anatomical abnormalities decrease the spaces through which the nerves pass out of the spinal column, called foramina. This leads to blockage of the foramina and pressure on the nerves. This pain radiates from the buttocks down your legs. Numbness, shooting pains, tingling, cramping, spasms, and muscle weakness are some of the symptoms of this condition.
● Sciatica: The sciatic nerve runs from the base of the lumbar spine and extends to the legs. When it is blocked or compressed, a radiating pain accompanied by numbness, muscle weakness, and tingling all the way down the legs to the base of the feet.
If you feel any pain in your back after wearing high heels, it is best that you take a break from wearing heeled shoes for a while.