Fighting Back the Attack of the Giant Wallet

By Sara Butler

Your Wallet and Your Health

Many people think that having a fat wallet is a good thing. Perhaps you’re one of those lucky souls blessed enough to have wads of cash on them at all times. If so, congratulations -- but find somewhere else to put it other than the double-stuffed piece of cowhide you cram into the back of your pants!

If you suffer from back pain, that filing cabinet in your back pocket may not be your first suspect, but chances are it’s at least contributing to any back pain you may experience. Don’t be an unwitting victim of Seinfeld’s George Costanza Wallet Syndrome -- also called wallet sciatica or hip-pocket syndrome. Here’s how you can void the back pain associated with a potential exploding wallet.

Your Wallet: Friend or Foe?

Your wallet does a lot for you. It keeps your cash, your credit cards, and all those loyalty cards from stores you haven’t used since 2013. I get it. It’s difficult to let go, but for the sake of your back, you may have to.

Sitting on your wallet all day, no matter it’s volume, can be a recipe for lower back and leg pain. When you sit on your wallet, you’re creating an asymmetry in your pelvis and hips. This imbalance can have an impact on your back from your neck to your buttocks, all because each part of your body will try to compensate for the uneven tilt of your hips and pelvis. Yes, all that for your wallet!

If you allow this to continue over an extended period, it can cause problems with your spinal joints, spinal discs, and muscles, eventually leading to dysfunction, pain, or even degenerative issues over time.

Having an object the size of a small cow stuffed into the back of your jeans can place pressure on the piriformis muscle or aggravate your sciatic nerve. This can result in pain, tingling, or numbness in one or both legs, and/or increase your chances of Piriformis Syndrome, thereby causing muscle spasms and buttock pain.

Don’t think that simply switching your wallet to your front pocket is the definitive answer, either. Sitting down with a wallet in your front pocket can cause a pinch between your torso and your thigh that may cause pain and discomfort. To make all the impact you can, simply take your wallet out of your pants pocket while sitting. Or try another option.

What Now?

OK, so a wallet that’s thick as a brick and a murse (you know, a purse for a man) won’t work, so what should you do? You have a few options:

  • A minimalist wallet - This type of wallet simply doesn’t have the room to accumulate so much stuff. Plus, it’s easy to keep in your jacket or shirt front pocket.
  • An old-fashioned money clip - It may not hold as much stuff as a wallet, but that’s the point.
  • Wallet/key combo - You can buy wallets that attach to your keys, which makes it easier to keep track of.
  • Go wallet-free - Technology gives you plenty of ways to pay for things that don’t require you to carry cards or cash of any kind. Embrace it!

Don’t let your wallet be your downfall. Instead, create new habits that will help keep your back healthy -- and make sure to regularly get adjusted by the chiropractors at The Joint!

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