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Sitting on a heavy wallet can give you back issues.

Does Sitting On Your Wallet Cause Back Problems?

We’ve encountered numerous questions from patients about back problems, and one common query that keeps popping up is, Can sitting on your wallet really lead to back problems?

Yes, sitting on your wallet can indeed cause back problems. When you sit on your wallet, it creates an uneven surface for your spine, which can lead to misalignment and discomfort. Over time, this can result in issues like lower back pain, muscle strain, and even more serious conditions. To maintain a healthy back, it’s advisable to avoid sitting on your wallet and opt for a more ergonomic seating arrangement.

Why Carrying Your Wallet in Your Back Pocket Causes Spinal Pain

Carrying your wallet in your back pocket can lead to spinal pain, primarily because it disrupts your spinal alignment. When you sit on a bulky wallet, your pelvis and spine tilt and rotate to one side.

Over time, this ongoing stress on your spine can give rise to a condition often humorously referred to as ‘fat wallet syndrome’ or piriformis syndrome. This syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle in the hip and gluteal area compresses the sciatic nerve, typically caused by sitting on a wallet. Symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling, and a burning sensation that often radiates down the leg and out from the buttocks.

How a Bulky Wallet in Your Back Pocket Can Trigger Sciatica Pain

Sitting on a chunky wallet for extended periods can cause sciatic pain by creating an uneven surface under one side of the buttocks. This unevenness leads to a tilt in the pelvis, which can compress the sciatic nerve. The pressure on the nerve can cause discomfort and potentially result in symptoms like pain, numbness, and tingling that radiate down the leg.

Preventing Wallet-Induced Spine Pain

Wearing your wallet in your back pocket might cause back pain, but there are ways to avoid it. These are some of them:

Opt for a Front Pocket Wallet

Certain wallets are designed to fit snugly in your front pocket. To prevent spine issues linked to misalignment caused by a back-pocket wallet, switch to this alternative.

Meanwhile, a back-pocket wallet should not be worn in the front pocket since the shape can produce misalignment between the front of your thigh and your chest, resulting in different types of pain.

Additionally, when sitting, be sure to remove your wallet from your back pocket to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Slim Down Your Wallet for Comfort and Convenience

To spare your back and simplify your life, pare down your wallet. Remove outdated or seldom-used cards and items, leaving only the essentials. Consider these alternatives:

Opt for a Money Clip or Compact Wallet

A sleek money clip or slim-designed wallet takes up less space and is easier on your back than a bulky wallet.

Try a Phone Wallet Sleeve or Cover

Attach a wallet sleeve to the back of your phone or use a phone cover with built-in pockets for your essentials. Alternatively, embrace touchless payments like Apple Pay for a wallet-free shopping experience.

Relieve Back Pain Caused by Wallet: Self-Care Tips

The top recommendation for alleviating wallet-related back pain is to shift it out of your back pocket. Complement this with stretching exercises. Focusing on your thighs, legs, and buttocks, these stretches can alleviate sciatica stemming from piriformis syndrome and realign your muscles. Strengthening exercises targeting the hip abductors, external rotators, and extensors can also offer relief.

But remember, it’s crucial to consult your chiropractor before launching any exercise routine. Sciatica and piriformis syndrome can have various triggers, including that bulky wallet. An accurate diagnosis is key to addressing spinal discomfort effectively.

About The Author
photo of Dr Oscar Noriega DC
Dr. Oscar Noriega, DC, is a trusted chiropractor who has been practicing for over ten years at Revolution Chiropractic Murfreesboro. He holds a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Northwestern Health Sciences University. Dr. Noriega is also a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and the Tennessee Chiropractic Association. He resides in Murfreesboro with his wife and two children.