17.5.2012

Don’t sit on your wallet....


wallet

This snippet of advice probably falls into the category of common sense. Everywhere you look you see guys sitting on their wallets. If you’re a guy, you’re probably doing it right now! Most guys (and the author is a guy, so I ought to know) are so used to carrying that half inch or so of leather padding in the hip pocket that we only notice it when it’s not there.


Sitting on the old billfold is not much different than walking around with one shoe on and one shoe off. At least, it’s all about the same to your back. Obviously, with a wallet tucked between your cheek and your chair, you’ve created an unlevel surface. Imagine what it would look like if our bodies didn’t compensate for the imbalance through a complicated and almost entirely unconscious mechanism involving the muscles, bones, and – most importantly – the nervous system. Does a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa come to mind?
spine_wallet

Fortunately, the body instinctively tries to keep the head centered over the pelvis. Unfortunately, tortuous turning and twisting of the spine is sometimes necessary to do so. Sitting on a pack of plastic cards, legal tender of the paper variety, and who-knows-what-else in that little leather wallet warming under your left buttock may be sending your lower spine straight toward right field. (If you keep your wallet in your right hip pocket, read this while looking in the mirror.) 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.

Of course, just like cigarettes and diets high in saturated fats, sitting on your wallet won’t kill you all at once. … Just kidding. The risk in this case is not a life-threatening one. But you probably are increasing your chances of having a bad back, or making a bad back even worse. And the remedy is so simple! It does not involve diets, salves, swallowing large blue and orange colored tablets, examinations of previously unheard of parts of your anatomy utilizing sophisticating electronic imagery, or experimental procedures not covered by your health insurance. However, 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.

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 the musculoskeletal structures above it are better off for your effort.

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