High heels, hormones & handbags:

Women& Back Pain

Michelle Lyons @ IHS 2009

Women are different! (Not defective!)


We have : Different Hormones,

Physical structure of bones and


Psychology, Societal role

‘Busy Woman Syndrome’

(Brent Bost, MD):

Incr weight gain, incr aches and pains,

incr depression, decr libido

No. 1 cause disability in women

= depression

Often initially present with diffuse

aches and pains.

Back pain 2nd most common reason

for a visit to the doctor

(colds/flu = most common)

What your back hates:

dehydration inactivity, esp. prolonged

sitting repeated small bad habits

bad posture bending & twisting

weak core/pelvic floor heavy lifting

holding your breath when moving

High Heels: ¼ of the bones in your

body are in your feethigh heels –

increase osteoarthritis in knees,

cause altered gaitpattern, pelvic

floor dysfunction and low back pain.

decr circulation blood and qi.

need heel cup/strap in shoes but

barefoot is best!

Handbags: (and thin bra straps)

alter posture,

create trigger points in neck

and shoulder muscles

may be responsible for

migraine type headaches

Posture – often a reflection of

self image, self esteem.

self conscious about large

breast size

effects of poor posture on

breathing, energy, circulation,

digestion etc

What is good posture?

static and dynamic

finding it

Knowing the curves of

your spine; where and how

Breathing: deep breathing –

anti stress, energy production,

tones pelvic floor

Hormones: effects on joint laxity,

muscle & ligament integrity, pain

perception, mood, digestion etc

Anti –inflammatory foods:

water not fizzy drinks/ soda

oats, onions, garlic,

dark green leafy veg.

cider vinegar and honey,

omega 3’s: nuts and seeds

esp. flaxseed, oily fish

bay, turmeric, ginger,



Black Cohosh

old name ‘Rheumatism Root’

not just for menopause!


also good menopausal ally

St Johns wort

esp. if nerve pain

(I use internally &


SAMe; esp. if pain accompanied

by depression


arnica for initial trauma,

rue for bruising

Healing power of touch – connection

gingerEO & juniperEO

in a massage oil blend,

lavenderEO & rosemaryEO

in a massage oil blend

lavender EO and peppermint EO,

in a massage blend

grated root of ginger in a compress

Epsom salts in bath

Final thoughts:

Lifestyle vs. Medicating

(whether herbs or pharmaceutical)

Proactive or Reactive

Taking control or giving it away

to someone else

‘Never grow a wishbone, daughter,

where your backbone

should be’

– Clementine Paddleford