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Fat Wallet

The perils of fat wallets and thick pillows

man holding walletThe title of this post might have been “it’s the little things that add up,” only these aren’t really little things, they’re just easily overlooked.

As Chiropractors, we talk at length about posture and ergonomics, and all those things we do but shouldn’t while sitting at the computer, or using a mobile device, or wearing a backpack. But there are many other habits we have that can also impact our spinal health.

Fat wallet

Take a habit some men have of having a fat wallet wedged in their back pocket. (Remember that episode of Seinfeld about George’s fat wallet?)

No big deal you say? Consider this.

Sitting with that lump under one side elevates that hip higher than the other, like a car parked with one tire up on the curb. This cants your pelvis to the side and leaves the base of your spine under sideways tension, putting stress on the lumbar discs and your nervous system.

The solution? Don’t sit or drive with objects in your back pocket. Switching to the front pocket isn’t necessarily a better option because this too can cause a pinch that leads to discomfort.

And then there is sleeping

woman sleeping We’ve written before about why you shouldn’t sleep on your stomach and how to find your perfect pillow. But even if you sleep on your side or back as we recommend, you can still be causing problems for your neck and your quality of sleep.

The first thing is to make sure your pillow is flat enough if you sleep on your back.

Many people use pillows that don’t flatten enough for back sleeping. Instead, their heads remain tilted forward, pressing the chin toward the chest.

This only serves to compound the problems they may already have from long hours in front of a computer or over a mobile device. This posture is what leads to the loss of your neck’s natural curve. And that is what puts stress on the spine, which may lead to pain and lost mobility, as well as contributing to irreversible degeneration of the discs and vertebrae in your neck.

Keeping your head in this unnatural position for long hours has the same negative effects, regardless of whether it’s while sitting at a desk, or sleeping.

As for slide sleepers, even if they bunch up their pillow enough to support their neck at a neutral angle, that chin tuck position can also become a problem.

It’s a natural habit to curl up into that full fetal position when on our side. But not only can this put undue stress on the neck when you stay in this position for hours through the night, it can obstruct your breathing – and that will impact your quality of sleep. The trick is to avoid the tuck and huddle. Instead, lie on your side favouring the back of your shoulder rather than the front. This will cause your head to rest in a more neutral position.

If you have any questions please give us a call today!

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