I recently went out to breakfast with my wife, brother-in-law and a friend. We all slid into the booth and, like usual, I emptied the pockets of my jeans and loaded my keys, phone, and wallet onto my corner of the restaurant table. To which my brother-in-law, Chris gasped in horror at my leather billfold.
He was absolutely floored at the size of my wallet. Sitting a portly 3/4″ high on the table, the object of discussion gathered our attention. Thinking I was wealthy beyond Derek Jeter proportions, I quickly assuaged my brother-in-law’s mind by emptying all 3 bills from it. Total = $16. Obviously, the next question that arose was “What the heck do you have in that wallet?”
Perplexed firstly by the fact that I never really noticed the sheer mass of it, I was even more perplexed to the fact that I’d been carrying around this bulging mass of leather for ages and I didn’t know what was inside.
“Well, let’s see…” and I proceeded to pull out random stuff from the wallet. Supermarket club cards, college alumni cards, credit cards, library cards, insurance cards, old receipts, etc. Some of the cards were 2 years expired and I was still lugging the useless plastic around for giggles.
The funny thing is that I, being a primary care physician, know that back-pocket wallets can be a precursor to a literal pain in the ass. Continued sitting with a wallet in the back pocket can cause things like sciatic nerve impingement leading to sharp, shooting leg pain. It can also cause low back pain from the ipsilateral lumbar muscles shortening in compensation for the left-to-right difference in ischial tuberosity heights while sitting. Another complication could be irritation and twisting of the sacroiliac joint possibly changing the pelvic angle.
Luckily, I have had no back pain due to my wallet’s thickness. Still, I have put my wallet on a diet and I’m exercising it down to a slim trim 3/8″. I now leave the little used cards in my car with a rubber band safely holding them all together for when the need arises.
So do yourself a favor. If you carry a wallet in your back pocket that is more than 3/8″ thick and you suffer from low back pain or sciatica, try moving the wallet to your front pocket for a couple of months. See if the low back pain and/or gluteal pain subsides. Or, get a money clip. Try carrying only the things that you need to. Store important card membership numbers in your phone. At the worst case with a wallet in your front pocket, you won’t have to worry about another pain in the ass, pickpockets.