Wallets, handbags, and how they can hurt your spine
Did you know that keeping your wallet in your back pocket could be damaging to your spine?
Wallets used to only be for paper money, but over the years they have become a stack of plastic cards stuffed into your back pocket. Then, when you go to sit, one side of your hip is raised up an inch or more causing all kinds of problems with the alignment of your hips.
Over time this can lead to sciatica, bad posture, and back pain.
When you sit down on your bulky wallet, you can irritate the sciatic nerve, which is right behind the hip joint, and over time, this can cause pain to radiate down your leg. Sciatica can eventually cause constant pain that can get worse while sitting, burning or numbness, and can make it difficult to walk. (1)
Sitting over and over in such a way that your hip is raised, can throw your hips and spine out of alignment. This can lead to low or upper back pain, as well as other problems.
Back pain and sciatica can lead to difficulty walking and standing, which can lead to overall bad posture when trying to find a position that is comfortable. Of course bad posture can lead to more back pain, and the cycle continues!
Wallets are not the only culprit, handbags can be bad for your spine as well.
The problem with handbags starts when they are filled with too much stuff, and then become too heavy. Carrying a heavy handbag on one shoulder can throw off your gait, unbalance your muscles, and can cause a stiff neck.
Your gait is the way your arms and legs swing when you walk. Sticking a handbag under one arm makes it hard for that arm to swing normally.
People usually carry handbags on the same side, which can cause the arm and shoulder muscles on that side to be more developed than on the other side. This can throw the whole body off balance and lead to bad posture.
Carrying a heavy handbag can cause the muscle at the top of your shoulder to spasm and tighten the muscles all along the shoulder, up to the neck, and down the back.
What can you do?
In both cases carrying only what is necessary can be a great solution. Another option is to use a backpack instead of a handbag (two straps can distribute the weight more evenly), use a money clip instead of a wallet, or try to take your wallet out of your pocket whenever sitting.
As always, making an appointment with your chiropractor, can get your body back into alignment!