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18
Mon, Dec

The high price our bodies pay for high fashion

Six-inch stilettos, over-sized heavy handbags, toothpick-tight jeans -- the average woman is no stranger to suffering for fashion.

In the "Look At Me" culture we live in, it is no wonder who you wear is just as important as what you wear. However, instead of designer labels, there are some trends today that should come with warning labels.

Women may pay a high price for fashion, and I'm not talking about the amount of money those designer bags and shoes cost -- I'm talking about the price of your health. Certain fashion trends can take their toll if you don't take steps to correct them (or at the very least recognize them).

Bigger Isn't Always Better: Is Your Over-Sized Handbag Causing Back Pain?

Heavy handbags, computer bags -- even dog carriers with a 10-pound pooch inside can cause back pain. Inside a typical handbag, you may find a phone, iPad, wallet, makeup bag, a bottle of water, book or magazine -- maybe an extra pair of shoes. They seem like little things, but they add weight -- up to 10 pounds -- and carrying all that weight can cause shoulder and neck pain.

When it comes to fashion, putting extra weight on one side of your body is one of the biggest neck and back pain causes. Any time you carry weight on one side of your body for an extended period of time, it causes your spine to curve, and that leads to back pain symptoms.

So what can you do? Try to aim for symmetry. Choose a bag that you can wear diagonally across your body rather than a single-strap bag that rests on one shoulder. When you can't avoid using a single-strap bag, be conscious of changing the sides you use to carry it.

That Stylish Backpack You Bought Your Child Can Be A Pain In Their Neck (And Shoulders)

Let's face it, kids want to be fashionable and trendy too. In these days of iPads and laptops, online learning and e-books, it seems like a backpack would be unnecessary. But kids are still loaded down with traditional books, as well as notebooks, binders, folders and calculators. It all adds up and tips the scale in an unhealthy direction.

Unfortunately, most kids are wearing backpacks that are too heavy for them. As a father of two, I'm all too familiar with the problem. A child's backpack should weigh no more than about 15 percent to 20 percent of his or her body weight. If a child starts complaining about neck, back or shoulder pain, parents should look at the backpack first.

Less Is More: Wallets Are Causing Men Pain And It Has Nothing To Do With A Lack Of Cash

Millions of men drive with their wallet in their back pocket and sit on them at their desk at work. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst things you can do for your back. Back pain and sciatica is often caused by sitting on a thick and heavy wallet that throws your pelvic balance off triggering chronic pain in your back, hips and shoulders.

Eventually, you may compress the sciatic nerve -- it runs from each side of the spine down through the back of each thigh to the foot -- and cause sciatica, searing leg pain and numbness. The piriformis muscle near your glutes may also become aggravated, which can irritate the nerve and trigger lower back and sciatic pain. You're better off placing your wallet or money clip in your front pocket while sitting for a prolonged period.

Sole Searching: Your "Killer" Heels May Be Killing Much More Than You Think

High-end fashion designers are synonymous with today's most sought after styles including sky high pumps and heels.

However, the pain you feel while walking in your 6-inch heels is a symptom of the potential damage stylish footwear may be doing to your body; including your back and neck. The structure of the foot is not meant to be crammed in the shoe that way. It puts the body in a very unnatural position.

When you wear high heels -- shoes with a heel two inches or higher -- your foot slides forward in your shoe, forcing the toes into the unnatural shape of the shoe and redistributing your weight incorrectly. The increased weight on your toes causes your body to tilt forward, and to compensate you lean backwards and overarch your back, creating a posture that can strain your knees, hips, and lower back.

I'm not advising giving up your heels! But try giving your feet a break with flats or running shoes in between -- especially if walking to work.

The Skinny On Skinny Jeans

Skinny jeans have become the quintessential fashion staple for many women and men especially in the fall. Unfortunately, trying to squeeze into them is more than an inconvenience. An overly tight fit could actually cause nerve damage.

A disorder called meralgia paresthetica can occur when one of the nerves on the outer part of the thigh compresses and pressure on it causes symptoms of tingling and numbness and pain. Pair those skinny jeans with a pair of ultra high-heels, and your risk for upsetting this particular nerve increases.

Bottom line: If you love your body more than the clothing it's dressed in, keeping up with these fashion trends doesn't have to take a toll on your health.