Top 5 Most Worn Women’s Clothing Items That Could Put Your Back & Neck At Risk

back care advice from cliffs chiropractor southendYou may have heard Arif on BBC Essex last week talking about the impact that women’s fashion choices are having on their backs and necks.

Worryingly one third of women are completely unaware their clothing choice could have an impact on their back and neck health.

New research* from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has found that three quarters (73%) of women have suffered with back pain with experts pointing to their wardrobe as a major cause of discomfort.

The findings revealed the Top 5** most worn clothing culprits that the BCA advise can cause back and neck pain were:

  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, e.g. mules

These statistics mirror trends seen on the fashion week runways, where mules and heavy jewellery featured prominently this year and were seen on numerous celebrities, from Alexa Chung to Jennifer Aniston and Kendall Jenner. Twenty per cent of women responding in the research said they choose to wear shoes without back support, such as mules, which will promote strain on the legs and lower back. Similarly, 10% of women are sporting heavy jewellery, such as statement necklaces, which increase pressure on the neck and can wreak havoc with posture.

Whilst we are certainly not saying stop wearing your favourite clothes altogether, like most things in life, 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.

Here are 5 tips to keep in the fashion while ensuring your back and neck stay safe:

  1. Vary what you wear on a daily basis in order to shift around the pressure that some articles of clothing place on your body.
  2. Wear more loose fitting clothing as tighter clothes restrict your body from moving freely.
  3. Think handbag! Declutter the heavy handbag to make it as light as possible. Heavy handbags are a common cause of back pain in women. Avoid bags that must be carried in the crook of your arm, as the weight of these held away from your body pulls one shoulder lower than the other, twisting your neck and spine. If your bag has one strap, alternate the shoulder you carry it on, or if it has a long strap, wear it across the body.
  4. Ditch the high heels whenever you can. Wearing high heels promotes tension in your spine so whenever you can wear flat soled shoes or a lower heel.
  5. Wear the right support. Ensure you are wearing the correct sized bra. It’s astonishing how many women are wearing the incorrect size which doesn’t provide adequate support leading to back pain.

Our chiropractors at Cliffs recommend that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days then you seek professional help, as an undiagnosed problem could lead to longer-term problems if left untreated. If you are in pain, you can call our friendly reception team and they will make an appointment for you to visit one of our team.


*The 2017 research was carried out between 14/02/2017 and 20/02/2017 on a sample of 2,082 UK adults aged 16 + on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association

**Most popular clothing choices among women which could cause neck and back pain:

Skinny jeans 48%
Bags worn on one side of the body 46%
Coats with large fluffy hoods 37%
High heeled shoes 26%
Oversized bags 24%
Backless shoes e.g. mules 20%