Friday, October 18, 2013

Pain Management for Writers and Other Professionals Who Sit All Day

There has been a lot of talk about writers and pain lately. I've personally experienced this, from neck cramps and back aches, to stabbing or tingling sensations in my wrists. Pain seems to be one of the occupational hazards of desk-sitters, but fortunately it can be managed. If you try a few things at home, but nothing works, you may need to see your doctor to find out if something is more seriously wrong.

Set the Clock

Before you sit down to write, set an alarm clock or timer for an hour or less. When it beeps or buzzes, get up and do something else that forces you to change position for at least five or ten minutes. You can still "write" in your head, but you do need to give your body a break from the computer chair. I like to do some stretches, put a load of laundry into the washing machine, empty the dishwasher, go outside and check the mail, or do anything else that doesn't require sitting.

Do Something Active Everyday

You don't have to be a full-on athlete. Just find something physical that you enjoy doing. I enjoy 10-15 minute sessions on my rebounder throughout the day. When the weather is nice, I like to walk around the block. If you have access to a pool, go for a swim. It doesn't really matter what you do as long as you have spurts of activity to get you out of your sitting position and moving. 
Photo courtesy of Jzlomek/

Eat Healthy Foods

Make sure your diet is filled with foods that have plenty of antioxidants and try to stay away from sugar that causes inflammation. I like to make smoothies with ingredients like kale, broccoli florets, cabbage, spinach, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, walnuts, ground flax seeds, and almond milk - but not all at the same time. Mix and match a few ingredients until you find what you like. Here are a couple of my favorites: Drink to Good Health.

Pamper Yourself

After a long day of writing, soak your feet in Epsom salts, or even better, dump some bath salts into a full-size tub and take a long soak. Use vibration or shiatsu massagers made by Homemedics or Dr. Scholl's to help increase circulation to the muscles. Something that brings me a tremendous amount of relief is my Aurawave T.E.N.S. unit that delivers electrical currents directly to the muscles where I feel pain. It really helps my middle back and shoulder pain. I also hang upside-down on my Teeter Hang-Ups inversion table. That thing is amazing!

Have you ever sat at a desk so long your back ached when you got up? What do you do to manage your pain?


Lena Nelson Dooley said...

I have a kitchen timer on my desk. I set it for 30 minutes, then get up and walk back and forth in my house for awhile. It really helps me.

Debby Mayne said...

That's a good idea, Lena. I set the alarm on my phone if I think I might lose track of time.