How your 'miracle' control pants could cause back pain
Bridget Jones swore by them and, for thousands of women across the world, they’ve been the silhouette saviour of the century, but new concerns have emerged that everyday use of curve-covering control pants could leave you with chronic back pain.
As the nation’s women get larger – 35% of women are overweight in Britain – demand for body-sculpting underwear like Spanx has rocketed.
A Marks & Spencer’s spokesperson confirmed that their control range –Magicwear – is one of their bestsellers.
But experts are now warning that by wearing them everyday, women are just hiding a health issue that could lead to future problems. Pot bellies and ‘muffin tops’ – where a woman’s stomach hangs over her trouser waistline – are often the result of weak abdominal muscles, which are linked to back problems, incontinence and even prolapse of the womb.
By hiding their lady lumps, women aren’t tackling the fundamental weight problem, which can put people at risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Neville Rigby, director of public policy at the International Obesity Taskforce, told the Daily Mail: ‘We are sleepwalking towards an epidemic of obesity and all the health complications that go with it.
‘While I sympathise with anyone who wants to improve their shape by wearing these control undergarments, it is not going to solve the real problem – their weight. This is easier to tackle at the outset, rather than kidding yourself and ending up obese.’
British women are now officially the biggest in Europe, with 23% being classed as obese.
Physiotherapist Maxine Rodriguez says: ‘Wearing them every day is the problem. Our bodies have a natural ‘corset’ of muscles stretching from the back to the abdominal area. This area is what personal trainers like to call ‘the core’.
‘Weak muscles in the tummy mean weak muscles in the back. Control pants are hiding the problem.’
So what’s the best way to tackle your jelly belly? Pilates, apparently. Core stability is its main focus, and this kind of exercise strengthens the back and flattens the tummy by toning and tightening abdominal muscles through a series of slow, controlled exercises.
But, while donning control pants every day may be hiding a battle with the bulge, we’re sure wearing your weight weapons for a party or special occasion won’t do you any harm.