April 10, 2009

Ow! My Back!

I am writing this the old fashioned way-with a pen and notepad. Today even standing or lying in bed with my laptop is impossible, so I am curled up on my side trying not to move and thinking positive thoughts: that pulling my knees to my chest will spread my spine enough so that pesky disc in my lower back slips back in.

You don’t have to be a writer to have back problems of course, but soreness from neck to tailbone is a big issue for all of us. Taking care of your spine is important for anyone who has to sit all day and as in most cases an ounce of prevention is far better than a pound of cure, er, painkillers.

I’ve told myself that 30 minutes of the Wii Fit is good exercise but I haven’t kept it up. It goes without saying that a brisk walk is essential to this occupation. There is a great exercise regiment called Williams Back Exercises that always helps me recover. If I would do them daily I’d probably have a lot less trouble. These exercises include stretches and leg lifts to help strengthen the muscles in the right places, even sit-ups to help strengthen abdomen muscles, which believe it or not, help keep your lower back sturdy. Done twice a day they make a big difference with back pain. I highly recommend them.

If you have to sit all day get a special pad to sit on. Cushions for back support have an area cut out of the rear that allows no pressure on the tailbone or tip of your spine. I got mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Nothing fancy but it works fine.

It’s my understanding that sleeping on your stomach is a big no-no for back pain sufferers. Make sure you have good pillows and a great mattress. I bought a memory foam mattress pad over a year ago and it was the best money I ever spent. My episodes are few and far between and I even seem to recover faster sleeping on this product.

Lastly, don’t ignore the warning signals. If you have back soreness or serious discomfort, talk to your doctor about it immediately. I put off going to see my doctor because I worried he’d think I was faking it! I spent three months unable to drive, sit, or work, and barely slept. They say the end of this road is surgery and that’s actually not something I dread. But for now though until that time comes, I will do the best I can to write smart--because when I don’t my back is quick to remind me!


Anonymous said...

I'm with you. I have bad back and hips, so I have to go in for an adjustment once a month for maintenance. I hope your back feels better soon!! Back pain is never fun!

Amy said...

Hey, yeah about your book release! Sorry about your back problems. I'm feeling your pain, cept mine's stemming from my neck. Getting an MRI on Thursday - not good when you lose strength in your right arm and things start going numb, huh? Hoping yours is feeling better soon. Let's chat soon.