We are taught from an early age that wallets go in your back pocket. That’s a bad, bad thing. It’s almost as if the clothing designers are in cahoots with the wallet manufacturers to make sure that’s where they go. The only problem is that a wallet in your back pocket hurts your posture and can cause back, neck and shoulder pain.
Standing up the back pocket is a fine place to stow your wallet. But when you sit down you start an avalanche of body mechanic problems. When one cheek is higher than the other you end up twisting the pelvis. This is bad enough but it doesn’t stop there. The spine becomes misaligned. Then your shoulders slump. And you really start to hurt after that.
When you sit down you start an avalanche of body mechanic problems. Your body has to compensate for that imbalance through a complicated and almost entirely unconscious mechanism involving the muscles, bones, and – most importantly – the nervous system. If it didn’t, you would be sitting there like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Fortunately, the body instinctively tries to keep the head centered over the pelvis. Somewhere between your lower back and the base of your skull, your spine makes a course correction. This may involve one or even two compensatory curves. Now when one cheek is higher than the other you end up twisting the pelvis. This is bad enough but it doesn’t stop there. The spine becomes misaligned. Then your shoulders slump. This is why wallets can cause neck, upper back and shoulder pain as well.
Even if you are thinking, “I have done that for years and haven’t had any back pain,” still stop. You are just increasing your chance of having a bad back, or making something that has already started to get even worse until eventually you will feel it.
I have heard all of the excuses imaginable…”I balance it out by putting something just as thick in the other back pocket…Oh, my wallet slides to the side of my back pocket when I sit down…(and No. 1) I always take it out when I sit down.” Sometimes I think that I would be able to eliminate 70 percent of all men’s back pain if I were just able to convince our species to stop this bad habit.
The remedy is so simple! It does not even involve diets, salves, swallowing large blue and orange colored tablets, examinations of previously unheard of parts of your anatomy, using sophisticated electronic imagery, or experimental procedures not covered by your health insurance. However, according to spine care, it does involve exercise, so get ready for a workout:
1. BEFORE YOU SIT DOWN, REACH AROUND BEHIND YOU. For some of us, this qualifies as stretching.
2. REACH INTO YOUR BACK POCKET AND PULL OUT YOUR WALLET. This part could be strenuous.
3. PLACE THE WALLET IN AN ALTERNATIVE LOCATION. A discussion of which locations are more or less secure than being nestled next to your tush falls outside the scope of this article. Even when it is in your front pocket a smaller wallet will be a benefit (won’t be pick-pocketed)
4. SIT DOWN on the chair, sofa, or love seat of your choice.
You will immediately have a feeling of enhanced well-being, knowing that your pelvis is perched on a level surface and all of the musculoskeletal structures above it are better off for your effort.
The healthiest option is to move that wallet to your front pocket. If you must keep you wallet in your back pocket you should remove it before you sit down. Maybe even get one of those snazzy wallets with the chain so you don’t forget it. You should also keep your wallet as thin as possible. Even when it is in your front pocket a smaller wallet will be a benefit.