High Heels and Your Back

While women have worn high heels for decades in the effort to look sexy, it is increasingly having a bad effect on their back, not to mention their knees and feet. Those pricey Manolo Blahniks may look great, but is the price your back pays really worth it?

When you wear high heels, they throw off your center of gravity, causing your pelvis to tip forward and forcing the muscles in your hips, thighs and lower back to work harder, which can lead to tightness and occasional spasms. They also create a greater curvature in your lower back, which makes the buttocks more prominent and lengthens the appearance of the legs (which is what makes high heels “sexy” looking).

If you wear high heels for any length of time, your body posture adapts to it, making some muscles work harder than they should and letting other important ones become weak. For instance, the gluteal muscles weaken and the hip flexors, which are responsible for raising your knee toward your chest, become unusually tight, causing back pain. Your hip flexors extend from the front of your thigh bone, through the hip joint, to end at the lower back. Therefore, if the muscle is tight and shortened it pulls on the lower back. High heels combined with a desk job are the worst of all, as the hip flexors become shortened from being in a sitting position all day.

If you don’t want to give up your high heels there are a few things you can do to reduce long-term damage to your back:

1) Stretch your hip flexors regularly – You can reduce back pain by keeping these muscles stretched. To do this, kneel on one knee on the floor with the foot of the extended leg slightly forward of the knee. Then move your hips slowly forward so your knee is over your foot. You should feel a gentle stretch in the hip of the kneeling leg as you do this. Hold for 20-30 seconds and do twice on each side.

2) Choose a lower heel – Try to buy shoes with a heel no higher than 2 inches. This will still achieve the elegant effect you are looking for without putting excessive stress on your musculoskeletal system.

3) Tighten your abdominal muscles – Strengthening “core” muscles in your abdomen by practicing yoga or pilates will help you maintain good posture while walking in heels and take some of the load of your upper body weight off your lower back.

4) Have regular chiropractic treatment – An experienced Denver chiropractor can realign a spine pulled out of alignment by high heels and can suggest appropriate exercises to help strengthen weak muscles.

Good health is a combination of many factors including your nutrition, preventative care, appropriate corrective care and the small choices you make every day in the course of living. If you have questions about this article, your general or spinal health, please ask. We are here to help!

How Does Chiropractic Help Relieve Pain?

The impetus for many people to seek chiropractic help is acute or chronic pain, most commonly in the lower back or neck and shoulders.  Although patients want the chiropractor to help with the underlying problem, lessening their pain is a very important part of allowing them to get on with life in some degree of comfort.

Chiropractic treatment for pain rests on the principle that healing will occur as a natural function of the body once it is in correct alignment.  Conversely, misalignment will lead to excess strain and wear on the body, resulting in pain.  Misalignment can occur over time as the result of bad posture, repetitive activities (such as performing certain sports or occupations) and degenerative disease.  It may also happen suddenly due to trauma from a road accident, a fall or a particular sports injury.

In addition to pain relief, chiropractic treatment aims to restore natural functioning and range of motion to the problem area.  In practice, the two go hand-in-hand.  Pain occurs in the shoulder, for example, because of a lack of movement from an injury or strain, and once this is treated, the shoulder will be both pain-free and able to move normally.

 The body is comprised of many muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, all of which have the potential to cause pain when stressed or damaged.  Muscle strain and spasm can occur on its own or as the result of a postural problem.  In the latter case, a spasm may not only be causing pain but may also prevent the body from returning to its natural alignment.  In this case, Active Release Technique is used by Denver chiropractor, Dr. Carly May, to ease muscle spasms and relax the spine back into position.  At this point, pain should be considerably lessened, if not relieved completely.

In addition to the Active Release Technique, manipulation helps the spine and joints to resume their natural position and eases the muscle strain associated with being out of balance, thus relieving pain.  Trapped nerves, which may also cause considerable pain (as in the case of sciatica), are often released through spinal manipulation and active release technique.

Some painful injuries may require time to heal, such as shoulder rotator cuff injuries and slipped discs.  In these cases, spinal manipulation and active release technique are important in order to give the injury the best possible conditions for repair to take place.  Patients will often involuntarily tense their muscles around an area of pain, which can both prolong the healing time and increase their discomfort.  In these cases, chiropractic treatment is important to both relieve the pain felt by the patient and to promote natural healing in the affected area.

The ultimate aim of chiropractic care is to restore function to the body, relieving pain is an important part of treatment and your denver chiropractor Dr. Carly May will do her utmost to provide relief.