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Why You Should Lighten Your Purse and Lose Your Wallet

by in Back Pain, Knee Pain, Lifestyle Tips, Neck Pain, Pain Management, Reader Questions March 10, 2010

The days of big fat leather wallets loaded with long roles of plastic sheathed photos of friends, family, and girlfriends are over, thanks to modern day technology.

Large wallets were so 1987!

The new wallet is the “money clip” one simple tip I always give men with low back pain, neck pain, hip/hamstring/knee problems, is to check their wallet for unneeded items and then shift the wallet to the front of their pants or carry it in a jacket pocket.

It’s amazing how simply sitting on a large wadded up leather wallet all day long can throw a body out of whack.

Now let’s get one thing perfectly straight….I am in no way as a doctor endorsing fanny packs *shudder* unless they are those Kevlar kind from REI that kind of look cool. 😉

Part of being healthy and feeling good is checking in on the ergonomics of our posture, and physical structure from time to time. If you are sitting crooked on a large wallet half the day driving around, and the other half sitting at work in the office, I am guessing you have some sort of chronic pain as the proper alignment of the hips are intrinsically important to the happiness of their neighboring joints.

The importance of this topic popped in my head the other day as I realized my new Coach briefcase purse I purchased slowly started to retain way too many items…5 pounds of spare change, extra clothing, books, laptop, and snacks to the point that the bag actually weighed about 25 pounds! No wonder my right arm, shoulder, and neck were killing me. Now if you can’t lighten the load you can remind yourself to consistently switch sides every so often throughout the day. You can also consider a briefcase on wheels if your life requires you to carry more than you can physically handle.

Otherwise consider the essentials in your wallet and switch to a money clip.

Money Clip Checklist:

Keep it:

  • Two Pieces of picture ID
  • Several different variables of cash (I prefer $100’s and $1000’s mainly…but $1’s are good too.)
  • Check Card/Debit Card
  • 1-2 Credit Cards. Pick your main card and simply carry a second for backup.
  • A picture of me. Now if you have to have a picture of me on your money clip that is okay just keep it small 😉
  • A couple business cards. These are helpful also in case your money clip is lost.
  • Club Cards/Gym Cards/Membership Cards that are required for admittance.

Lose It:

  • Grocery Store Cards, Store Cards- Most stores let you use your phone number. I just use my Mom’s everywhere I go since she so diligently signs up for EVERYTHING 😉 If you have a diligent mom too you can save yourself oodles of time filling out paperwork that jams up grocery store lines. Let mom benefit from all your shopping.
  • Receipts- Start a simple filing system at home right next to the shredder for immediate disposal of all receipts so they don’t pile up in your wallet or money clip.
  • Social Security Card or Passport. If you have picture ID carrying these items is unnecessarily risky. If travelling overseas carry a photocopy on you and keep your original locked up in a safe place unless it is needed that day.
  • Other People’s Business Cards- When you get a business card, immediately enter the info in your phone and computer and then do the person a favor and pass it off to someone else that can use it. This is the Kosher, environmental, trick that lightens your load and helps out your friends and colleagues.
  • Lose anything else that you don’t use daily or weekly.

Purse Checklist:

  • Wallet with aforementioned items in the Money Clip Checklist. Keep your checkbook at home.
  • Lip gloss, lip balm, needed personal hygiene products.
  • Hand sanitizer or a small bar of soap.
  • Band-aids
  • Kleenex
  • Paper/pen
  • 1-2 Healthy Snacks
  • Phone
  • Business Cards
  • Bottle of Water
  • Keychain with needed keys….lose all extra keys and keychains. I’ve seen keychains that likely weigh 5 pounds alone!

Keep in your purse only the items that you use daily or weekly. If it’s in your purse, and you haven’t used it in a month….LOSE IT! It is just likely crap weighing you down and throwing your body ergonomics off as you lug around unnecessary baggage.

Even if you carry a large sized purse you can still enjoy the benefits of lightening your load because your purse will always be ready to throw a sweater, coat, snacks, or needed items for that day. A small backpack or bag kept in your car or workstation with other random essentials should cover the bases for the items that don‘t fit the purse criteria.

Be sure to share these simple tips with your friends and family. I can’t tell you how many patients never stop to ponder this silly little lifestyle tip. A few minutes of organization with our purses and wallets can save a trip to the doctor’s office, and hopefully force me in to early retirement!

~Dr. Nicole
Related Reading: Desk Ergonomics

One Comment
  1. This is too true! My husband drives a truck all day and sits on his wallet and has low back pain. I am going to call him immediately! Thanks Doc 🙂

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