Whether it’s carrying a giant handbag or wearing high heels, us girls can easily take a toll on our back health. It turns out that a few seemingly harmless habits may be responsible for our chronic pain.
Four bad behaviors plus easy lifestyle changes for a healthier spine.
Habit #1: Carry a heavy handbag
At the end of the day, our bags are filled with water bottles, change and half-eaten snacks. But dragging that extra weight every day, usually on one side, is terrible for your back. This extra weight strains the muscles and tendons in your back and neck, and over time can even lead to chronic pain and nerve damage.
Keep your handbag below 5 kg. Also, take a few minutes at the end of each day to clean it up so you don’t carry unnecessary weight. You can also replace your usual handbag with a backpack. This type of bag distributes the weight more evenly across your back and shoulders. If you decide to stick with a traditional handbag, be sure to switch the side you wear it on every few minutes.
Habit #2: Wearing High Heels
There’s nothing like rocking a pair of killer heels when you need a boost to feel confident, but higher isn’t better when it comes to your back.
When you wear high heels, it shortens your leg muscles. Your foot is in an extended position, and this can actually shorten your calf muscle. This strain on the calves, thighs, and feet from wearing these heels can cause back pain due to the change in posture and body mechanics. High heels also affect your body’s center of gravity. This puts extra pressure on the lower back muscles.
Wear heels with a maximum height of 5 cm and a wider base of the heel (as opposed to a stiletto heel). Also, change heels. Instead of wearing heels every day, opt for flats or boots to give your back and feet a break.
Habit #3: Sitting too long
Spending long hours on your laptop might be good for your career, but not so much for your back. Sitting for long periods of time puts strain on our backs, necks, shoulders, and even our arms and legs. And if you have pre-existing back problems, sitting increases the compression on the nerves, which causes more pain. Additionally, prolonged sitting makes us more likely to slouch forward, which disrupts our posture and causes back pain.
Remember to get up and stretch for three to five minutes every hour. You should also make sure your computer screen is at or slightly below eye level. This is to avoid straining your neck or upper back muscles while looking at the screen.
Habit #4: Constantly using your cell phone
In our mobile world, it’s almost impossible to avoid being on your cell phone. But constant cell phone use is not good for your neck or back. Here’s why: An adult’s head weighs on average between 5 and 10 kilos when it is in an upright and neutral position. When leaning forward, like when we text, the angle increases pressure through gravity. And it forces the muscles in the neck and upper back to compensate, causing tension and pain. When we text, we flex our head and neck forward in an unnatural position. »
Most of us aren’t going to stop talking or texting anytime soon. So make sure you pay attention to how you sit or stand when doing this.
How to improve your back health
The main measures to take for a healthy back are to control your weight, pay attention to your posture and strengthen your body. Why is your body so important? If we have strong core muscles, we have better posture and are less likely to slouch. We are also better able to carry those heavy bags!