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Can skinny jeans and fluffy hoods cause backache?

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

14th March 2017 – Skinny jeans, large handbags and coats with fluffy hoods top the list of fashion items responsible for causing backache in women, chiropractors are warning.

It follows research which shows that over a quarter of women are aware that the wrong clothing choice can alter posture and trigger back or neck pain but are not influenced by this when they hit the shops.

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA), which carried out the survey, found that a third of women were unaware that some of their favourite fashion items and accessories might impact on their back or neck health.

It is urging women to limit the length of time that they wear some items in their wardrobe.

However, physiotherapists say there is no evidence that clothing causes harm, and women should not be scared about the contents of their wardrobes.

Wardrobe 'dangers'

According to the BCA, the top 5 culprits are:

  1. Skinny jeans
  2. Oversized bags and those worn on one side of the body
  3. Coats with large fluffy hoods
  4. High heeled shoes
  5. Backless shoes, such as mules

According to the BCA, these findings mirror what's happening on the fashion catwalks where mules and heavy jewellery feature prominently.

It says 20% of women who took part in the research said they choose to wear shoes, such as mules, which leave the feet unsupported at the back, increasing strain on the legs and lower back.

Similarly, 10% of women wear heavy jewellery, such as statement necklaces, which increase pressure on the neck and can damage posture.

Heavy or overloaded bags can also wreak havoc with posture, particularly when carried over one shoulder, while skinny jeans restrict free movement in the hips and knees, say chiropractors.

No need to worry

Responding by email, Steve Tolan, head of practice at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, comments: "Reading scare stories about skinny jeans is probably more harmful than actually wearing them.

"People should wear whatever is comfortable and they feel good in – skinny jeans and hoodies included.

"They certainly shouldn't fear that their clothes are going to do them harm as there is no evidence for that.

"We would recommend that you keep active, get good quality sleep and look to limit any stress factors where possible."

Reviewed on March 14, 2017

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