Yeast infections have been associated with tight jeans for a long time, but new health concerns are being tied to the fashion trend. Tight, low-rising jeans such as the popular skinny jean are now being linked to back and thigh pain. It is important to be aware of the impact your clothing choices can have on your health.
The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve travels along the pelvis and groin region very close to the skin. Its purpose is to provide sensation to the skin of the outer thigh. Since it runs close to the skin, any pressure placed on the groin and thigh can compress the nerve and cause symptoms. Meralgia paresthetica is the condition caused by impingement of the lateral cutaneous nerve.
Symptoms of meralgia paresthetica include tingling, burning, prickling and numbness across the outer thigh. Typically, the condition affects people who where heavy, low slung belts such as police officers and construction workers, but skinny jeans have extended the at-risk demographics to teens and young adults.
Typically the painful effects of this condition reside once pressure is taken off the nerve. Wearing less restrictive jeans is often enough to help people with fashion-induced meralgia paresthetica. If the symptoms are ignored, however, it is possible that the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve will become damaged and symptoms made permanent.
Mechanical Lower Back Pain
Tight jeans affect your posture and how you move. Whether you’re sitting, walking or bending over, your clothing has an influence. If you wear super-tight low-rise jeans, your movement is constricted in a couple of ways. First, your ability to move your hip bones is limited. The pelvis contains a number of muscles involved in every movement of the lower body, including every step you take. When you can’t move your hip bones normally, the muscles within the pelvis are constricted; this means they can’t perform work normally. Other muscles in the thigh and lower back will try to compensate for the work the hip muscles aren’t doing. Muscle strain and fatigue commonly accompany gait changes for this reason. If you wear tight-fitting jeans that constrict your hips daily, you can develop chronic lower back pain.
Another way in which tight jeans cause back pain pertains to self-consciousness. Low-rise jeans have a tendency to fall a little too low during certain movements, particularly when bending down. Proper body mechanics dictates that we should bend at the hips and not at the waist. Bending at the hips is hard to do in skinny jeans, not only because of the above-mentioned pelvic constriction, but because the jeans may ride down in back and reveal more than is fashionable. This is a concern especially for people with body types not suited for skinny jeans; the more awkwardly they fit, the more they will move. People wearing tight, low-rise jeans are more likely to bend from the lower back to keep their jeans in place, causing strain to back muscles and the lumbar spine.
Dressing comfortably can be challenging in a society that places a great deal of stress on appearance. What is more attractive: a young woman with the hottest jeans, moving with great effort and wincing in pain, or a young woman with not-so-trendy jeans moving naturally and without pain? Young people are often confronted with the choice between trendiness and comfort. The growing prevalence of young adult and teen back pain is yet another reason to side with comfort on your next shopping trip.