Back pain being caused by fashion trends

back pain fashion

Fashion trends such as skinny jeans, oversized bags and coats with large fluffy hoods can contribute to back pain in women, according to the British Chiropractic Association (BCA).

BCA research, which has highlighted the fashion items that could aggravate back pain, also found that a third of women are unaware that what they wear could have an impact on their back or neck health.  

The study found that almost three-quarters (73%) of women they surveyed had suffered from back pain at some point in their lives.

Fashion culprits

The BCA has revealed the worst offenders in terms of clothing choice and back pain. Skinny jeans are a surprising item on the list. The BCA says they restrict movement in the hips and knees, which can affect the way a person holds their body. Very tight jeans mean the wearer can’t walk as they normally would, which can cause pressure on the hips or back.

Carrying overloaded or heavy bags are known to cause back problems, but the BCA also found that oversized bags and those worn on one side of the body can also be a problem.  

Large fluffy hoods were also on the list, as they can mean having to strain the neck in order to see, as well as heavy, statement jewellery, which can increase pressure on the neck.

Heels and backless shoes

Some footwear can cause or aggravate back pain. High-heeled shoes cause the calves to tighten and pull on the pelvis in a different way to normal. Backless shoes such as mules can cause problems as they increase strain on the legs and lower back.

Flimsy ballet pumps and soft boots can also be detrimental to the back if worn too often as they don’t offer enough support.


The BCA found that 28% of women are aware that their clothing choices could affect their back, neck or posture, but that this doesn’t influence what they choose to wear.

A third (33%) are completely unaware that their choice of clothing could impact them in this way.

Pain-free fashion

The BCA has advised women of ways in which they can protect their back, for example wearing looser clothes and restricting how often they wear skinny jeans and high heels.

They also advise using backpacks as they distribute the weight evenly across the shoulders, and alternating the shoulder that single-strapped bags are carried on.

BCA chiropractor, Tim Hutchful, said: “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.”


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Additional comments on the page from individual Consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other Consultants or Ramsay Healthcare.

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