Many men carry their wallet in their back pocket, and so many women cross their legs when they sit. These may be habits most people do not think would be causing harm to the body, but indeed they can be causing a variety of symptoms including low back pain, hip pain, and knee pain. These symptoms are associated with “Fat Wallet Syndrome”!
What happens to the body when you sit on your wallet?
When people sit with a wallet in their back pocket, it tilts your pelvis to one side, which puts extra stress on your spine. The thicker your wallet the more stress you put on your pelvis and low back! There is actually a term for this called “fat wallet syndrome”, which refers to when your sciatic nerve (a nerve that starts at your low back and goes down the back of your leg) becomes compressed due to it being pinched between your wallet and your pelvis. The problems that happen with this is related to your intervertebral discs, nerve roots, uneven pressure that is put on the nerves, and the low back anatomy.
So what can be done to fix it?
Easy Change! Take your wallet out of your back pocket when you sit or drive, this helps reduce the stress on your lower back and helps you sit at a more neutral level.
What’s the deal with crossing your legs while you sit?
The same type of mechanism happens when women cross their legs as when men sit on their wallet. Sitting like this causes your pelvis to rotate and tilt, causing extra stress on the low back. When people sit with their legs crossed it most likely means they are also sitting with poor posture. Poor posture causes the body to work extra hard and compensate the use of already over worked muscles. These muscles transfer all the way up to the head! When you are sitting with a sideway pelvic tilt it causes your back to curve, which transfers all the way up to your shoulders becoming uneven. When your shoulders are uneven, it causes your head to be tilted as well.
Who knew that things most of us do on a daily basis could be putting quite the strain on the body! If you are experiencing low back pain that you think might be caused by sitting on your wallet or crossing your legs throughout the day, don’t hesitate to reach out! We are here to help you move better, feel better, and be a better you!
-Kinzie Koch, DC