85% of population suffers from Back pain at some point of time. Reasons are varied including poor posture, trauma, wrong lifting techniques and many more. But one of the major reason, especially in men, is sitting on a wallet.
Wallets can be filled with essential items such as credit cards, driver’s license, cash, receipts and other useful or even useless bits and pieces which can result in quite a chunky piece of pocket-wear. Sitting on the wallet, changes the alignment and disturbs the body sitting mechanics leading to back pain or Sciatic pain , a condition known as “Hip Wallet Syndrome”
What happens when you sit on your Wallet?
Biomechanically, your pelvis and hips are the foundation of the spine, everything that sits on that foundation will be affected by this wedge. If you wear your wallet in your back right pocket following changes are observed:
- You will create a high right side and a slight left-sided spinal list.
- The body will compensate for this by pulling the spine towards the side of the wallet (the right)
- To even out the imbalance, the head may also be pulled to one side to keep the eyes level with the floor.
- The two halves of the pelvis can also rotate slightly due to a constant force being applied to one side and this may lead to sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Long term compensation will result in spinal and postural stress and then pain. There are important tissues and structures that are present in the buttock area such as the Sciatic nerve. This nerve can become compressed which may lead to sciatic leg pain, tingling and/or numbness; aka ‘Wallet-Neuropathy’.
Dangers of Sitting on Fat Wallet:
With extended period of sitting on your wallet you will experience:
- Lower Back pain and Hip Pain
The more you sit on an uneven surface, the body will tend to adjust to an uneven forces changing the overall posture, leading to muscle imbalance causing Back pain and Hip pain.
- Piriformis Syndrome/ Sciatica
Sitting on the Fat wallets causes constant compression on your glut muscles. The muscle tend to tighten-up and suffocates the sciatic nerve. Compression of the nerve leads to pain in the buttocks radiating down the back of thighs, knees and even legs when worsen.
If the Pain is left untreated, it will radiate down to your leg causing numbness and gradually loss of motor strength and sensation to your legs and feet.
- SI Joint Dysfunction
How to Prevent Wallet-Hip Syndrome:
- Reduce the Wallet size to <32mm thickness
- Keep your wallet in your front pocket or carry a men purse
- Use a money clip or slim-style wallet that fits in your front pocket.
- Purchase a wallet that attaches to your keys—you won’t want to sit on your keys for long
- Always empty your pocket before you sit.
- Perform Piriformis stretches regularly allowing Piriformis muscle and Sciatic nerve to breathe
- Avoid sitting for more than 15 minutes
- Incorporate pelvic rocks, tricking the body that it is moving.
How to deal with Wallet-Hip Syndrome Pain:
If you are already suffering from Sciatica or low back pain then:
- Use Ice – if pain < 10 days to get rid of the pain
- Use Heat – if pain > 10 days to relax the muscles and soft tissues
- Visit a Chiropractor for Spinal alignment assessment and adjustment
- Visit a Physiotherapist to maintain the spinal alignment and reduce pain and strengthen your muscles.
- Painkillers and muscle relaxants if required.
- Regular stretching and strengthening workout for your back
- Keep moving.
FYI: If suffering from sciatica or neuropathy, immediately visit a doctor or physiotherapist.
Exercises to Avoid Wallet-Hip pain:
- Marching on spot
- Sitting hip internal rotation
- Sitting hip external rotation
- Supine Piriformis stretch
- Standing Hamstring stretch
Dr. Mansi Parikh,
Co-Founder EndoRush App