Sitting for a Long Time is the Worst Thing You Can Possibly Do to Your Back

Don't sit at desk all day!

Take a few simple steps to make your workday healthier.

We all know we shouldn’t sit in one place all day—our bodies are built to move—but we still spend most of our day sitting, either at work or in front of the computer or TV at home, and usually in positions that aggravate back injury, circulatory problems, and nerve damage. Whether you’re at work or at home, you can use these tips to keep your back healthy and strong without overhauling your lifestyle.

1. Take short walks throughout the day

This is one of those basic “nice ideas” that you’ve probably heard about, but haven’t bothered to try. What most people don’t realize is how much good a walk can do, even if it’s just a few minutes. Sitting for too long, especially if you’ve got scoliosis or bad posture, forces your back muscles to bear your body’s weight unevenly, which can cause inflammation or even unhealthy muscle development over time. If you get up, stand tall, and take a short walk, you break the unhealthy pattern and return your back muscles to a normal, healthy configuration. [Read more…]

Constantly Tired? My Super Simple Cure

About six weeks ago I was feeling constantly tired, like some mysterious force had drained every drop of energy out of me.

And as if that wasn’t enough, I suffered from muscle pains and impending migraine attacks. That’s usually a sure-fire that sign my stress-o-meter is in the red!

I puzzled over my fatigue for a time, because I hadn’t spent longer days at work than usual but was still feeling tired and stressed out. And I had a nagging suspicion that there was (still is) something wrong with my lifestyle in general.

I searched the Internet and found an apt term for my condition  “quality-of-life shortage”  in an article about exhaustion cure. Light-bulb lit up in my brain and I realized that I wasn’t merely suffering from any garden-variety of shortage: I had the kind of quality of life shortage that is caused by excessive use of information technology.

Translation: too much screen-time. [Read more…]

Self-Care Day

reading is a form of self-care activityI had big plans for last Sunday but when I woke up, my upper neck muscles were very tense and I had a budding headache.

I was afraid I was going to get a full-blown migraine, so I decided to take the whole day “off”.

I pronounced Sunday my self-care day, took a painkiller and spent the rest of the day taking care of myself: I did 2 hours of Feldenkrais and 1 hour of diy trigger-point therapy. Rest of the time I spent curled under a blanket with a good book. I think it’s needless to say that I had to limit my computer time to minimum, i.e. checking my email and Facebook a couple of times…

My self-care day seemed to have helped because my neck pain had and headache had diminished considerably on Monday morning.

Because headaches (I used to suffer from chronic tension headaches) are a relatively rare occurrence to me these days, I spent some time thinking about my late headaches and neck tensions on Monday. I had to admit that I haven’t been taking as good care of myself as I used to and it’s starting to show. Often seven days or more can go by so that I don’t do any Feldenkrais, and it’s obviously not enough to keep me out of trouble.

Nothing is more important in my life than staying headache-free! I don’t want to get back to those bad old days when I had headaches that lasted for weeks on end. If it means doing Feldenkrais at least three times a week, it’s something I must find time for. It’s so easy think you can cut back on your self-care if you have no acute problems, but that’s a mistake.

I did some thinking on the minimum amount of self-care I need to be in good shape emotionally and physically. I think I need at least the following: [Read more…]

Four Simple Exercises For Upper Back Pain Relief

Source: Flickr/skatoolaki

Yesterday, I read an interesting article about text neck on Today’s Health.

Chiropractor Dean Fishman told that more and more people come to him to get relief from upper-back pains caused by excessive use of gadgets like smart phones, laptops and tablet computers.

What I found very disturbing is that his youngest patient was a 3-year-old toddler who played too much games on an electronic device!

Spending hours hunched over your smart phone or laptop every day is going to lead to weak and overtaxed muscles in upper back and eventually pains in the upper back, neck and even elbows and wrists.

The first thing to do for upper back pain relief is to check your posture repeatedly during the day and take frequent rests. Don’t let your neck hang like the guy’s in the picture on the top left! [Read more…]

Learn DIY Trigger Point Therapy And Get Rid Of Muscle Tightness!

For a couple of months, I’ve been learning self trigger point therapy to ease chronic muscle tightness (mostly) in my lower body.

It’s been one of the cheapest and most effective self-care techniques I’ve discovered so far.

The only investment I made up front was purchasing a trigger point therapy workbook from Amazon plus a tennis ball and a small bouncy ball/super ball. You can see my trigger point therapy “tools” in the picture on the right. (Ok, I got a foam roller too, but I haven’t really used it like I’ll explain later).

The point I’m trying to make is that I’m always looking for new, techniques I can use to treat my own pains and aches. It’s not that I wouldn’t love visiting massage therapists (I would), but in the long run it’s better and cheaper to learn to take care of yourself. Musculoskeletal pains and chronic muscle tightness is most often caused by bad movement habits, poor posture and physical inactivity. [Read more…]