Years ago I hosted a yoga class for a group of attorneys attending a weekend conference. (For those of you who do not know, I am an advanced gentle & prenatal yoga instructor in addition to my stress and pain solution expertise).
We began chatting about back pain. I mentioned that high heels can contribute to back pain. They looked at me as if I had just asked them to cut off their arm! Their heels make them look professional and they needed them. REALLY? I get it–we want to look our part, but the question is: Could they be a rocking effective attorney with lower heels? Absolutely.
Some of you might be cringing at this most revolutionary thought: You are more than your shoes. For those who just held their breath at this epiphany, relax your belly and take a full gentle breath. It’s okay, you can keep your collection of heels, but know that you do have a choice.
High heels create low back compression–there is no way around this reality.
Here is the low down of other ways we compress our spine form the book Rehabilitation of the Spine: A Practitioner’s Manual. You might find this very eye opening–I did.
- Sitting hunched over a desk: 200 lbs.
- Sitting leaning back on chair with low back rounded: 150 lbs.
- Standing with leaning forward posture: 200 lbs.
- Standing in proper alignment: 100 lbs.
- Lying flat on back: 55 lbs.
- Lying flat on back with knees elevated: 25 lbs.
When I teach yoga, I have all students prop their knees in relaxation. It decreases spinal compression by over 50%. I also teach students how to hinge and lengthen their sacrum to lesson spinal compression. These simple alignments go along with the heart and soul of my work–Small changes, big results.
I remember when I was writing my book, my editor would often show up to our meetings in high heels, which exacerbated her existing back pain. I assured her that she will still be a fabulous editor wearing flats (okay, a low heel with a sole that bends) that will reduce compression on her spine. She began to notice the effect her shoes had on her body.
So, what is the point? To make a choice, you must first have knowledge and awareness of the reality. After that, you can make an informed decision. It takes the stressful guesswork out of decision making.
As I am finishing the article, my colleague just walked into my house to stay with me for a conference. The first words out of her mouth were: “I only brought flats because my knees are hurting me–heels make it worse.” I am not making this up. I thanked her for the perfect timing.
When I do wear heels to a party, you will see me with a patent pair of flip flops tucked away in my purse. I love to avoid pain if I can. How about you?
If you want more information on the gentle yoga and alignment component of my work, shoot me an email. Would love to chat with you!