Those who ride the New York City subway every day are probably familiar with the courtesy announcements. A disembodied, but friendly enough, voice advises passengers to “be aware of pickpockets,” suggesting a way to avoid becoming a victim is to not keep your wallet in your back pocket.
It turns out that the well-intentioned phantom Bernie Wagenblast is dispensing some good advice, but for the right reasons.
No man should keep his wallet in the back pocket not because it might get picked, but because it’s actually terrible for your back and your sitting posture.
Sitting on your wallet “creates an asymmetry or imbalance that distorts your pelvis and hips,” chiropractor Dr. Arnie Angrist told the Huffington Post.
This can apparently lead to all sorts of issues, including temporary pain, degeneration, and agitation of the nerve in your backside (the sciatic), which can cause discomfort. Over time, burdening these joints can even cause degeneration, leading to pain.
Even if your wallet isn’t Costanza-sized enough to set your spine too far off center, depending on its placement even the smallest wallet can irritate your sciatic nerve (which is usually just about where your wallet sits), which can lead to lower-back pain that can run all the way down your leg.
“Even driving for 30 minutes while sitting on your wallet can cause you back pain or sciatic pain,” chiropractor Dr. Mathew Ullom wrote in a blog post.
The simple way to avoid this is to just keep your wallet in your jacket or front pocket. Stick to the trusty card-holder style or billfold, and completely avoid anything bulky that has zippers or buttons that might bulge at the front of your pants. Nobody has room for that.
Or you could just take your wallet out of your pocket every time you sit. But that sounds like a recipe for disaster in our book.