It’s guest post time again on Office Worker Health. This week’s article will resonate with a lot of sedentary workers as the author is someone that’s had first-hand experience of back and neck issues as a result of sitting at a desk for years and years.
I first met Colm McKeown at the Blogger Conference in Dublin a few months back. Colm works in digital marketing but was a personal trainer in a previous life so he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to health and wellbeing. In this post Colm gives his honest opinion on how to deal with back and neck pain thanks (unfortunately) to his own real life experiences.
This article is dedicated to anyone who has ever sat at a desk and suffered from either back pain or neck pain. If you are reading this you are well aware that the percentage of people who sit at a desk and suffer from back or neck pain is HUGE!
But, have you ever stopped to ask yourself why this is the case and what steps can you take to rid yourself of your pain?
There is nothing wrong with sitting at a desk. What leads to pain is when other ingredients are added in such as:
- poor posture
- not getting up to stretch regularly
- weak abdominal muscles / weak upper back
- not being conscious of your sitting position
What you have to also understand is that your body can withstand A LOT of punishment (Just consider the amount of stress on the knees and hips of long distance runners.) For it to get to the stage where your body is sending you pain signals is a sure tell-tale sign that this particular issue has been manifesting for quite some time.
As a previous sufferer of both back and neck pain, who has visited many, many physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths, I can tell you that these professionals cannot fix you.
What they can do is provide you with temporary pain relief and a blueprint to getting you out of pain. This blueprint usually contains a list of exercises which typically stretch the affected muscle and strengthen the under performing one (which is resulting in your pain).
Self-education and Good Habits
Let me put this to you bluntly. To permanently rid yourself of chronic neck or back pain, you have to work at it every day until you are pain free. You have to re-arrange your day to make stretching the tight muscle and strengthening the weak muscle a priority and NOT make excuses.
It is going to take time and it is going to require patience but this is the ONLY way you are going to live a pain free life.
This is the art of getting to know what works for you. I recommend doing some reading and watching YouTube videos on what industry experts are saying about common solutions to your pain.
The most influential book I’ve ever read on the topic of muscle function is 'Becoming a Supple Leopard' by Kelly Starrett. This book empowered me to learn more about body mechanics and take charge of my muscular health. Like many, I still have niggles from time to time, but I work hard to stay on top of them and am still able to play sports and go to the gym regularly.
Kelly also has a YouTube channel that contains a huge amount of related videos. Watching and implementing the learnings from just a few of the videos that are relevant to you is a great first step. By taking the time to understand what is going on with your body you are essentially teaching yourself the lifelong skill of how to stay out of pain and achieve optimal health.
Getting rid of a chronic injury is going to take a daily effort. In addition, you are going to need to be more conscious of how you move. You will have to consistently ask yourself the question:
- Is the way I am currently sitting or moving helping or hampering my recovery efforts?
Beating chronic pain is no easy task. It takes enormous physical and mental strength.
Seeing a good physiotherapist on occasion is a good idea. From experience however, you have to work hard at it, test out new concepts and ideas and work on strengthening the affected muscle. This takes significant time and effort.
The alternative however, is a lifetime of pain. So make a commitment today to beat chronic pain one day at a time - your body will thank you for it!
There you have it folks, a black and white honest opinion on how to deal with serious back and neck pain. Thanks very much to Colm for putting this together.
As I mentioned previously, Colm works in digital marketing but he has always maintained a keen interest in health and fitness, so much so that he recently started an online store called Urban Home Gym selling home fitness products. If you'd like to contact Colm directly you can reach him through his Facebook page.
I'm in the fortunate position of never having had any previous back pain but this detail has really made me take note of my posture, my sitting position and encouraged me to take even more breaks from my desk (if that were possible) while at work. I'm sure you will get some value from it too. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
Until the next time…….
FYI the Amazon link I included in this blog post is an affiliate link. I only ever include links to products that I wholeheartedly recommend.