Mel, chiropractor at Back 2 Balance in Brighton and Hove, describes what ‘Hip Wallet’ syndrome is, and how it affects your body and back pain.
As chiropractors our training is based on finding out the route cause of the problem the patient presents with. Be it headaches, shoulder pain or even acid reflux. However the most common problem we see is low back pain. However there are actually many different causes of back pain, the most common cause being a sedentary lifestyle. After that it’s probably doing repetitive faulty movements for example too much bending/lifting or twisting, especially if you’re a manual labourer. So it’s important for us chiropractors to treat the low back complaint but to also change the habits which brought the patient’s back into disarray in the first place.

If there’s one thing I see all the time it’s men coming in with wallets in their back pockets (woman never do this). And they keep them in their pockets all day everyday including when they’re sitting down. So you can imagine, every time that person is sitting down their pelvis is tilted very slightly to one side. Fine to do over a couple of hours but imagine doing that everyday for months or years. Over time this creates enough imbalance to tighten muscles and joints on one side of the back resulting in low back pain.  An important muscle that is involved with this is the piriformis muscle, located near the gluteal muscles (buttocks). When this muscle becomes tight as a result of compression (for example on a wallet!) it can pressurise the sciatic nerve which comes out of the lower back and runs through if not very close to this muscle. Because of this the person can also experience nerve related symptoms such as numbness and pins/needles down the leg (of the side the wallet is kept on).

So what’s the solution to this epidemic?……..DON’T KEEP YOUR WALLETS IN YOUR BACK POCKET!! Keep them in your front pocket instead or better still get a man bag so you can put your keys, change, phone etc in it. By doing so the back/pelvis is far more balanced and you’ll have less tension in these important muscle groups. This problem is so common it’s actually been given a name…hip pocket wallet syndrome. So next time you see your chiropractor don’t be surprised if they grab your wallet out of your back pocket. It’s actually for your benefit 🙂

Of course if you have any questions then don’t hesitate to ask either me or Becky. Do you put your wallet in your back pocket? Have you ever thought that it might be the cause of your back pain?