“Twist and Shout” is not just another song by Phil Medley and Bert Russell (and you thought it was Chubby Checker). Twist! That’s what happens to your pelvis and lower back when you sit on your wallet while driving. And shout! That’s what you’ll be doing when the nerve pain starts shooting down your leg.
Millions of guys drive with their wallet in their back pocket, but they can’t figure out why they moan when they get out of the car.
Here’s the physics. When one cheek is riding around higher than the other, that bump on your rump can trigger chronic pain in your back, hips and shoulders, and set off foot cramps.
Here’s the physiology. Eventually, you may compress the sciatic nerve (it runs from each side of the spine down through the back of each thigh to the foot) and cause searing leg pain and numbness called sciatica. You also can aggravate the piriformis muscle (it’s near your glutes), which can irritate the nerve and trigger lower back and sciatic pain.
Here’s the fix: Get that wallet out of your back pocket! Next, do stretches to restore alignment and relax tense muscles -- but pull over first. Pilates and Hatha yoga (stay away from the more aggressive forms) will work. Now, customize your car seat. Use the controls to drop the seat as close to the floor and as far back as possible, then adjust your seat position from there -- including headrest, angle of the steering wheel and the mirrors. Now drive safely!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.