If you are, or you know a woman who’s suffering with back ache then this blog is for you. In this blog I would like to share some self-help tips about women’s back health.
Hi, I’m James Revell a Doctor of Chiropractic and Clinic Director at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne and have worked in Eastbourne since 2004. I’ve seen thousands of men and women with back ache over my years of practice. There are often small but important things people can do to help themselves. This blog focuses on a few tips I find most useful for the ladies I see who are suffering with back ache. I hope that you find something in here which helps you. Not everyone needs to make all the changes but as they say “every little helps”.
Women Suffering back ache
Nearly three quarters of women suffer with back ache at some point in their lives and the problems highlighted here could be to blame.
Tight clothing that restricts moving freely, fashionable shoes that change your natural gait can affect posture and lead to back and neck pain. Overloaded and heavy bags can also be to blame, as well tight trousers like skinny jeans which restrict your back, hip or knee mobility. Anything that affects how you move your body should be avoided. Even heavy jewellery like statement necklaces for example can increase pressure on your neck.
I know it’s not just women who wear skinny jeans etc but for this blog I’ve put together a list of advice I’ve shared with some of the women I’ve treated who are suffering back ache
I thought I’d write this blog focusing on advice for women suffering back ache to share some basic advice to help ladies look after themselves better. There are some common culprits which until they’ve been pointed out to you are easily missed.
Chiropractic Tip: Check Your Shoes
We all know high heels are bad for us, but we wear them anyway Ok I know I don’t but you know what I mean! High heels change the angle of our foot, knee and hip, which in turn increases the angle in our lower back putting pressure there and can even result in compensations higher up your spine. So my first piece of advice for women suffering back ache is check your shoes. Are they helping or hurting your back?
I’m afraid even smaller heels can be bad for us. Hard soled shoes that don’t have any cushioning are also not ideal. I’ve recently changed my work shoes to softer ones because I’ve increased my hours and can be on my feet all day.
If you need to wear heels (either for uniform or fashion) for some of the time, and you’re suffering with back ache then make sure you can change out of them asap. Keep your comfy shoes handy and let your posture unwind as soon as you can.
Wedges or chunkier heels over stilettos are also a better choice. But don’t be fooled by slip on sandals, or flip flops without support at the back. They tend to increase strain on the muscles in your feet and can result in Achilles tendon problems.
Suffering back ache? Then Vary What You Wear
For some men and women suffering back ache the culprit can be simply wearing the same types of clothes every day. Tighter clothes restrict the body from moving freely so looser clothing, baggier trousers and straight leg jeans are a good alternative choice. Varying what you wear will vary how much, and what pressure is put on your muscles and joints.
Getting the Right Support
Clothes are important but what you wear underneath can also affect your back ache. Bras need to fit properly so that the shoulders don’t take all the strain. When shopping for bras, look for one that has an underband that is neither too tight or too loose. The centre fastener should sit close to the body and the straps shouldn’t be too tight on your shoulders.
I don’t know of any good Bra Outfitters in Eastbourne but I have had a few ladies go to Brighton to Bravissimo. If you have an Eastbourne based recommendation please share it below in the comments section of this blog.
Whilst we’re talking about underwear and advice for women suffering back ache I’ve had a number of ladies who’ve helped themselves by changing the size or type of skirts/trousers they wear. The effect of elasticated waist bands on underwear coupled with the tops of tights and an elasticated waist band on your skirt or trousers can really affect the back. It’s the layering affect which makes a difference, especially if the waist bands are a little tight in the first place.
Is Your Overloaded Bag Causing your Backache?
Men and women can both be guilty of carrying too much. However here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, our chiropractors conducted an exercise for our patient’s to weigh any bags they routinely carried with them. Some women had handbags that they carried everywhere weighing over 5kg!
If you’re suffering with back ache then pay attention to the bag you carry around and regularly check for and empty your bag of unnecessary items.
My advice for men or women suffering back ache is to change to using a backpack if you need to carry items around with you. Back packs are best for your posture as the distribute weight evenly across both shoulders.
Try to 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 wear it across the body.
Perfecting Your Lifting and Carrying Technique
Many men and women suffering back ache find that housework, DIY and even just playing with the children can trigger their back ache.
When you’re lifting make sure your legs are hip width apart, knees bent and tummy tight. Keep your head and shoulders directly above your waist and keep the weight you are carrying as close to you as possible without twisting.
New mothers are especially at risk. Their body has gone through the changes associated with pregnancy and the birth process and then they have to cope with the sleep deprivation and physical demands of feeding a new born. Many women suffering this type of new baby back ache find that lifting the children in and out of the care very challenging. My advice: keep your tummy tight and keep your child as close to you as possible.
Take Regular Breaks
When doing gardening, housework or DIY vary what you’re doing and try not to spend more than 20-30 minutes on one thing. This will relieve the build-up of back ache.
Come on Eastbourne – Stop The Slouch!
Men and women suffering back ache need to make sure their bottom is against the seat back with your shoulder blades touching the rest of the chair. Try to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
The final piece of advice I have for men and women suffering back ache is to make sure you’re sleeping in a supportive position and good mattress.
It’s best for your back to sleep on your back. If you sleep on your side, then put a pillow between your knees to avoid twisting over. If you’re still suffering backache at night then you might need to change your mattress. Are you waking up feeling stiff or achy? Or is your mattress is misshapen or sagging?
If your mattress is past it’s best or over seven years old you might want to think about buying a new one.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog please comment if you have any questions and I’ll be pleased to help. Our clinic is Lushington Chiropractors, we’re based in Eastbourne. Our Chiropractors have a wealth of advice and knowledge that they can give you on many subjects and we have many information leaflets that are available on a wide range of subjects.
James Revell DC,LRCC,MSc(Chiro),BSc(Chiro),BSc(Biol)
Chiropractor and Clinic Director at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne
Want to find out more about low back pain?
We have a huge variety of blogs on low back pain. If you’ve found this blog helpful and would like to find out more, then please check out one of our other blogs on low back pain below.
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Posture and Low Back Pain
Sleeping and Low Back Pain
Gardening and Low Back Pain
Back pain in the elderly