I learned a very painful lesson today about sitting on your wallet and I'd like to share it with you and perhaps save you the extreme pain and a visit to the doctor's office.

Photo source: www.walletsciatica.net

When I got off the plane in Boston for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, two weeks ago, I was barely able to walk. The pain was almost unbearable - so much so that I even called my wife and mentioned that I might need her to fly to Boston to help me return to California. My roommate, Michael, got me some Motrin and ice packs and I rested for the night. By morning, I was feeling a little better, and I was able to make it through the conference with small recurrences during the week. I was even able to blog the conference with Michael.

The flight home was a only slightly easier; I made sure to get up and walk around during the flight. However, getting out of the car after my two-hour drive from LAX to David Allen's office in Ojai was again extremely painful as was the case on my return trip home.

Today, after church, I could again barely walk, so my wife took me to Urgent Care; we were concerned that this apparent hip problem was growing more serious. After a brief history and physical exam the doctor concluded that I was suffering from Piriformis Syndrome, more commonly known as Wallet Sciatica. The bottom line (pun intended) is that while I have an ample amount of "padding" in certain places, one place I'm lacking it is on the backside. This means that sitting for prolonged periods makes it easy to pinched the sciatic nerve -- the source of my great pain.

Thanks to my Grahl Duo-Back chair, I can comfortably sit at my think station for many hours at a time with no pain. But, when I'm at home, I don't carry a wallet and a certainly don't sit on one. Lately, however, I've been doing more travelling and sitting on my wallet. Therein lies (or, more accurately, sits) the problem. Sitting on my wallet in airplane seat for hours at a time was the cause of my Sciatica - Wallet Sciatica. My doctor advised me to use a thin wallet and to carry it in my front pocket. My super-cool David Allen NoteTaker Wallet is wonderfully thin when I keep my cash and business cards separately - which I did not do for the trip to Boston.

If you carry a fat wallet, think about thinning it out and carrying it in your front pocket or coat.

Tonight, I'm resting comfortably on pillows and taking anti-inflammatory meds to relieve the swelling around the pinched nerve. Hopefully, in a few weeks, I'll be as good as before.

I found this site helpful in understanding the problem. (They apparently also sell a super thin wallet of their own.)

Discussion/Comments (8):

Leg Pain? You may be sitting on the problem!

Dear Mr Eric

I'm glad you are better now after your travel. My brother also suffers back pain for also his incorrect position. I slowly find out a straight back sitting position helps blood flow but also ease all sorts back problems. No wonder many older generation Japanese always sit their back straight. I hope you all the best and more importantly your continual review of tablet x61 ;)

Posted at 7/2/2007 10:19:58 AM by Willy Lau

Thanks, Willy, more X61 notes coming.

I want to work with the unit some more so that I can share more qualified observations.

Posted at 7/2/2007 10:25:44 AM by Eric Mack

Leg Pain? You may be sitting on the problem!

I stopped carrying any wallet in my back pocket about ten years ago after I saw my father have a walking issue. Well he is a fireman and always had his badge and wallet in his back pocket. It actually makes you walk and sit crooked. Glad to know you found out what it is an are feeling better!

Posted at 7/2/2007 11:25:16 AM by Chris Miller

But I like my Batman belt.

Thanks, Chris. I should probably take off my Batman belt with PDA, Treo, Pager, Dictation device, Leatherman kit, and emergency gear as these cause me to list to one side, too. :-)

Posted at 7/2/2007 11:38:30 AM by Eric Mack

Leg Pain? You may be sitting on the problem!

I am sorry to hear about your back problems and wish you a prompt recovery! This must be a very unpleasant experience.

Your Grahl Duo-Back chair sounds very impressive! I should perhaps look into getting one! It does sound like the Rolls Royce of office chairs.

Posted at 7/2/2007 12:17:48 PM by Pascal Venier

Leg Pain? You may be sitting on the problem!

Try these guys too - { Link }

No affiliation, etc. - just a happy customer, for exactly the reasons you're outlining above.


Posted at 7/2/2007 12:19:40 PM by Gary Slinger

There’s a story behind the Grahl chair in my office

The Grahl chair is an amazing chair. I first saw it 15 years ago at Comdex. I thought it was so ugly that I walked up to the booth and said "I this is an incredibly ugly chair, yet you've spent $50,000 to demo it here so there must be something you think is special about it. The manager said, "sit down and let me adjust one for you..." After a few minutes to calibrate the chair to my body it felt like I wasn't sitting. I bought one a few years later.

Posted at 7/2/2007 12:35:30 PM by Eric Mack

Leg Pain? You may be sitting on the problem!

I work in Interventional radiology at a large hospital. I just called one of our Doc's and he said it probably wasn't circulatory. The symptoms for me are tingling in the right buttock and tingling in my foot and lower leg. I have carried a quite fat wallet in my right back pocket for years. I noticed pain several years ago and started putting my wallet in my front pocket. I started at the hospital almost three years ago. The scrubs we wear don't have front pockets, and I went back to my old ways. Well, over the past two weeks I have experienced much discomfort in my lower leg. Being in a Vascular treatment occupation I assumed it was circulatory. I have very little padding on my rear and now I think I have found the answer. Thank You!

Posted at 10/4/2007 3:27:57 PM by Patrick

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