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Here’s some jaw-dropping statistics: 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time according to the American chiropractic association and worldwide, 84% of people will experience lower back pain in their lifetime. A common cause for lower back-pain which is typically overlooked is the filing cabinet-size wallet the average American spends over 9 hours a day sitting on.
Much has already been said about the dangers of sitting down for prolonged periods of time yet your the wallet in your back pocket is another health concern which hasn’t received the same amount of attention. In our culture, most people still have their wallet in their back pockets, yet most doctors and health professionals vehemently warn against it.
“Sitting on your wallet is as much a health concern as walking around with one shoe on and one shoe off”, says Dr. Frank J. Martusciello, the clinic director and founder of Total Life Chiropractic. “It creates an imbalance in your foundation whenever you’re sitting. It also directly places pressure over the science sciatic notch and the piriformis muscle which then will also adversely affect the sciatic nerve”.
“In sitting with a wallet in your back pocket places a tremendous amount of physical stress on the lower spine; its disks, ligaments, muscles and nerves. Just take a look at most men’s back pockets, one of them is worn significantly as opposed to the other due to the increased friction from their George Costanza-size wallets”.
We are taught from an early age that wallets go in your back pocket, but this habit wreaks havoc to the health of your lower back and spinal alignment.
When you sit on your wallet you tilt the pelvis and throw off your alignment, pinching the sciatic nerve, causing searing back pain and numbness. The resulting condition is called Sciatica and can become debilitating if left untreated. The remedy can be as simple as moving your wallet to your front pocket, and it might save your back and reduce your chiropractic bills in the process.
The nerves exiting the lower back control and coordinate some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body — legs, buttock, core, and back. Putting pressure on them for hours at a time when you sit on your wallet in the office or in your car can trigger an avalanche of body mechanic problems of which Sciatica is the most common.
Changing to a front pocket wallet helps you reduce sciatica before it becomes chronic, according to Dr Logan Brooke, Chiropractic Public Relations Chair for the Unified Virginia Chiropractic Association who constantly has to remind his patients to pay attention to how they’re carrying wallets and purses because of the health concerns.
“If I notice that a patient keeps a wallet in their back pocket, I always educate them on the pressure that it puts on the sciatic nerve and the pelvis. I advise them to move the wallet to the side when seated or out of the pocket entirely. Regardless of the circumstances, a wallet should never be placed in the back pocket”, Logan says.
Once Sciatica reaches a chronic state, the pain could become debilitating and require physical therapy, chiropractic treatment and even surgery to treat. “The good news is that there are simple ways to prevent Sciatica, which just requires small changes to your personal habits”, Logan says.
Logan’s top advice for improving your lower-back health: