July 31, 2012

red, glossy high heels imageOoh la la! Those high heels, especially stilettos, are lovely! Johnson Chiropractic may even find them lovely, but ... "To wear or not to wear?" ... that is the question.

Sorry, gals! Unless there's a runway in Richmond, you may want to avoid those high heels. They make the leg look long, but may stress the back muscles and even the neck muscles! The research is stronger in the "don't wear" category than the "wear" category, but why? That's a little fuzzy.

So, let's consider the "wear 'em" research - Younger women exhibit an increase in pelvic range of motion in the sagittal plane during high-heeled gait compared with low-heeled gait and walking without shoes. Unfortunately, middle-aged women don't enjoy this response. (3) Hum? Not too much in the "wear 'em" research which doesn't surprise your Richmond chiropractor.

Now, let's look at the "don't wear 'em" research - erector spinae muscles get taxed which may lead to muscle overuse and lower back pain (1); lumbar lordosis is increased which may lead to lower back pain (2); cervical paraspinal muscle activity escalates especially in 45-55 year olds which leads to the recommendation to not wear stilettos as it is unsafe and may lead to chronic paraspinal muscle fatigue (3); high-heeled walking challenges the nervous system as it demands a more complex and less predictable pattern of ankle control than barefooted walking (4). Heels put your spine, lower back and neck even at risk for pain.

So, we chiropractors typically recommend not wearing high heeled shoes or stilettos, choosing to err on the side of caution. Johnson Chiropractic does know some Richmond women who love their high heels, so we just ask you to be careful. Wear them limitedly. If you have any increased back pain, drop down to a pair of lovely flats, and contact us for a chiropractic treatment to re-align your spine and relieve your neck pain and back pain. It's all a matter of balance...in shoes and life!

See you soon!