By Dr. Haley Lance, Columnist
Each day I remind my patients about how sitting on their wallet can be adverse to the treatment of aligning their spine. It isn’t conducive to helping an adjustment hold. Most men understand when I say, “It’s jacking you up on one side and making you one-sided”. Sometimes plain English conveys the message more effectively than technical terms.
The condition is becoming so common that it has even been given its own name: “hip-pocket syndrome” or “wallet-neuropathy.” It isn’t so bad standing with the wallet in the back pocket, but when you sit while working or watching television or driving on the wallet day in and day out, it slowly can lead to low back pain and then transfer further up the spine to cause problems higher compensatory in nature. Men who sit down with their wallets in their back trouser pocket risk damaging key nerves. The wallet presses on nerves in the back and over time can cause sciatica. This can lead to pain or numbness in the lower leg, ankle or foot. Walking, sitting and lying down can become extremely painful. Some people can only find relief when they stand still.
The simplest solution is to simply remove the wallet from the back pocket and put it in the front pocket or to take it out anytime you sit or drive. Changing one small habit will amaze you at how much better you back can feel and how much longer the chiropractic adjustment will hold. Muscles will be less traumatized and the whole area will be happier therefore your back pain will be improved. It sounds simple because it is.
With women, crossing of the legs is something we learn to be proper early on. It almost comes naturally. Unfortunately it, like sitting on a wallet, causes misalignments and rotation in the hip/pelvis/sacrum and low back area. I remember when I was young and had really long hair, every time my mother took me to get it trimmed the hairstylist would say, “Uncross your legs and sit straight or your cut will be uneven on one side.” This is the same mechanism that contributes to rotations and tilting in the low back. The Sacrum, or tail bone, is a triangle-shaped bone and we sit on the point of it. It’s common to tilt or teeter one way or another, like a seesaw. Crossing of the legs or sitting on one side of a hip more than the other is something that I see commonly with women and low back issues. It causes unevenness in the muscles of the low back called the “QL,” or Quadratus Lumborum muscles. These muscles run along both sides of your spine and attach to the bottom of the ribs and the top of the hips basically. Their function is to be a “hip hiker” and bring the hip and the rib cage closer together. You can see how any tilt of your bottom or pelvis can cause tightness on one side and a stretching on the other leading to unevenness and therefore back pain not just in the low back area with crossing of the legs or anything that leads to unevenness and tilt like sitting on a wallet. Any one-sided activities like mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, golf, etc. can cause unevenness in this area of the body and affect the associated muscles. Evening out workload from left to right side whenever possible is a good idea, and stretching and warming up the muscles before extensive activities of this manner is also a good idea to combat unevenness.
It is a difficult habit to break and it causes us to relearn certain behaviors, but when people stop or reduce the time spent in that position, they are amazed at how much better their back feels. Incorporating small changes little by little are easier than saying, “I’m not crossing my legs anymore or sitting on my wallet.” And your wallet is definitely something you don’t want to lose so it is an important thing to keep on you, but just in a different position. I always joke with patients and tell them this little tidbit of information is bad for business but good for you. Helping the patient is what my job is all about. Try this small habit change for a week or two and you will see the difference. Your chiropractor will probably notice too! Now at Rutledge’s Back to Wellness, Dr. Haley Lance holds an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences from Auburn University and received her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Marietta. Dr. Lance takes an integrative approach to with patients, drawing on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology and nutrition to help bring the body back into balance. A mother herself, Dr. Lance has a special interest in pediatric care, as well as the pre- and post-natal care of women. Back to Wellness is located at 113 Fairplay Street Rutledge, GA 30663 and can be reached at 706-557-0211.