Sitting on Your Wallet All Day?

Sitting on Your Wallet All Day?

Here's how it may be provoking your sciatic pain

Did you know that sitting on your wallet all day can cause or aggravate sciatic pain? Many people—but especially men—carry their wallet in a back pocket. But when they sit down, they don’t realize they’ve put their hips and lower back out of alignment, and over time that can cause sciatic pain.

What’s sciatic pain?

Sciatic Pain, or sciatica, refers to back, hip, buttock, or leg pain that is caused by problems with the sciatic nerve. This large nerve runs from the lower back down to the back of each leg. Injury or pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause sciatica. Most of the time sciatica is solved by behavioral change and rarely requires surgery to correct.

The most common symptoms of sciatic pain include:

  • Pain that runs from the low back or buttock down the back of the thigh into the back of the calf and even the foot
  • A prickling sensation or a “pins and needles” sensation down the leg
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain on only one side: one buttock or leg that rarely affects both sides
  • Back or leg pain that improves when standing or lying down
  • Sharp or searing pain (rather than dull pain) in the hips, legs, buttocks, or lower back
  • Pain that occurs when outside the home that rarely occurs at home
  • Weakness or numbness when the leg or foot is moved
  • Pain that is more intense during sudden movements like a sneeze, or when standing

Usually these symptoms get worse over time unless the underlying cause is eliminated.

Causes of sciatic pain

Imagine you’re standing behind someone with a paperback book in their back pocket. You watch them sit down, and notice that their posture appears lopsided, because the book is forcing one hip higher than the other. That’s what happens when someone sits on their wallet. The wallet creates pressure and pinches the sciatic nerve, and that’s when the problems begin.

While a wallet might not be as thick as a paperback book, and the misalignment may not be as obvious, it’s still a misalignment that can cause trouble over time. When you sit on your wallet for hours a day, your posture is being affected, because your pelvis is being tilted to one side. The tilt may be subtle, but the bottom line is that you’re still sitting with a lopsided posture. And the fatter your wallet, the bigger the tilt in your posture.

This can also be true if you carry your cell phone in your back pocket. You might be subconsciously sitting in an even more lopsided position with your cell phone in your back pocket because it’s a valuable and reasonably fragile item you don’t want to damage.


Your best bet is to remove all items from your pockets when you will be sitting for hours, such as during the workday. Moving your wallet to a front pocket might help with sciatic pain, but it can cause problems of its own. Sitting with objects like keys or change can pinch between your thighs and torso.

If you must keep your wallet in your pocket all day, find the thinnest possible wallet that meets your needs, or even just carry a money clip. Those options will help reduce the stress on your body.

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