Take Care of Yourself

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Take Care of Yourself

  • Steve.. I hope by today you are feeling a bit better. I know, as we age, we get either a bit fat fingered on the keyboard with arthritis or our backs hurt with sitting too long. I recently adopted a homeless coated German Shepard. She waits paientlessly for me every day to pull myself from "the screen" and take her for "her walk". I must admit that when we do go on that walk, it is the best time of day, getting out, exercising, especially in the warmer days of spring. I feel much better when we get back.

    It takes some discipline but we all must pull ourselves away from that great "algorithim" we're working on and get a life outside of Visual Studio!

    Adopt a dog at your local shelter and get out there. 🙂


  • Steve

    I feel with you as I know what pain means.

    I have been active all my life with sports like jogging etc but

    I got leg and back pain a year ago. Before that

    I was healthy (just 5 days of work for sickness in 30 years).

    I couldn't cure the pain. A NMR investigation found the problem. I have compressed disks (Spinal Stenos). After an

    operation I now feel much better but still suffer from some pain so I cannot run or jog. I have to change my habbits but

    life goes on and as a swedish politician says "As long as my

    body will carry my healty head I will continue to be at your service".


  • Steve, you have my sympathy - back ache is horribly inhibitive and the only way to "ease it out" is to use it which is the last thing you want to do when it's sore.

    It's interesting that you conclude so quickly that it is the inactivity and PC work that caused the pain. I have a similar lifestyle, PC by day - active by night, but when I started suffering from lower back pain I came to the completely opposite conclusion and presumed that the high impact running was to blame. Check out this article:


    I followed the advice and, whilst I still get the odd twinge, the stretches shown definitely relieve and prevent the pain. You can also do them while you're in pain which helps! I don't know which caused the pain, maybe it's a combination of both, but it doesn't really matter when you're hurting. I just hope this helps you to feel less pain.

  • Back pains are bad, visit a doctor or someone with a license in Chiropractics, those can really help.

    We have our issues as it people, so we can always use a desk that you can adjust the height on so you can stand or sit at least at your pleasure.. However, the opposite of our work would be someone in construction or so, they may instead "wear" down their bodies by moving about too much and too heavily, I think our job is rather healthy if you do sports with a lot of movement 4+/7. However, that can be hard since time always is an issue.

  • I started reading this article with an eye toward "That sucks, I'm in good shape.." etc.

    Then I started thinking... ruptured L5S1 disc back in early 90s, went 9 months before surgery... Twice had my knee worked on. Torn meniscus the first time, wore a large hole through the cartilage second time. Broke ankle on bike. Cut the end of thumb off with a pocket knife (stitched back on). Broken more toes that you can count on. Rolled both ankles. Got clobbered by a falling brace on a pole jack, split my head open, got a gnarly scar for that one.

    As you can see, this picture of health is all in my head.

    But I view these things as mechanical breakdowns, not a systemic failure.

    As a couple of surgeons have told me, "Use it or lose it".

    So I've continued with weight training, self defense, hiking when possible, general physical activity, etc.

    Keep active. Stop moving, start dying.

    Honor Super Omnia-
    Jason Miller

  • I damaged my back years ago (pregnancy) and kept fit (swimming, keep fit, long distance walking etc) but the lower back had always been stiff and inclined to complain when bending and stretching. Recently took up Pilates and boy oh boy it is working. Back, shoulders and neck are all less stiff. All sorts of differing people in the class with different abilities so none of that sideways glancing to check on how you are doing!!

    Tai Chi is also supposed to be good physical exercise as well as calming the mind.

    I think the trick is to keep moving, however little. Once you stop, you seize up and then it really hurts getting going again!

    Madame Artois

  • I can relate too, Steve. What was simple muscular pain years ago has morphed into something else entirely.

    I have Degenerative Disk Disease and osteoarthritis. I have discs at L4L5 and L5S1 that are no longer hydrated and are compressed, although I do not suffer from any radiating pain yet. And I can't take strong anti-inflammatories...they just cause ulcers.

    Is this related to sitting at a desk? Perhaps. But when I was younger and very active, I was also a mechanic, standing on concrete all day and either bent under a hood or contorted under a dashboard. Hard to say if either is related. May dad had his first ruptured disk at my current age, and back surgery in the late sixties was the thing horror movies were made of. Makes me both wonder about genetics and fear anything invasive even though I understand the difference in technology.

    There has been a lot of good advice here. One thing to look into is exercise solely devoted to strengthening your lower back. They are plentiful and easy enough to do. You just have to keep at it. The best way to learn it is through physical therapy but you can find lots of references on the internet. Once good list was at the Nevada Spine Clinic web site.

    At home we have a back chair (rotates so your back and calves are parallel to the floor, thighs vertical). It does a lot to relieve the pressure and slowly stretch the muscles. We also have an inversion table so you can hang upside down and really stretch your back (I'm 3/4" taller now ;-)). I don't use them all the time but they are really helpful when you get around to those chores and overdo it a bit.

    You are your own best defense. While there are some things you can't control directly (like osteoarthritis), you can control the condition of the muscles. There are even some exercises you can do without leaving your chair. After all, we'd hate to see the daily editorial delayed...we all live for this stuff!

    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -- Hunter S. Thompson

  • Been there, done that, got the T-shirt (lower back surgery in 1996.) Very good reminder for all of us. I hope that you get to feeling better soon, Steve.

  • I went the doctor the other day and after going through the whole procedure of invetigating I found out it was nothing to be affraid of and the doctor told me:

    if you are on your 40+ you wake up and your body does not bother you (any kind of pain every now and then) then you are dead.

  • It gets worse as you get older. One of the keys I have found is figuring out what works for you. I have a lower back problem called spondyolisthesis (Sp??).

    I found that going to a Chiropractor just made the pain worse, and traditional heat/infrared/massage didn't help much either.

    However, the right exercise did. I place a bowling ball between my legs, bend over, and lift it up shoulder height with my arms straight. The key to this is it targets the lower back and hip area.

    Last night my hips and lower back hurt so bad I couldn't sleep. I did 40 reps of the above exercise with a 15lb ball, and within a few minutes my lower back felt significantly better. I think the exercise helps loosen the muscles up, and also helps straighten things out and realign.

    I've also found that "ergonomic" chairs are a no no. I need the extra support of a chair that has the back and bottom solidly connected together.

    That's what works for me. Your mileage may vary...

  • Don't mean to sound like a wild-eyed proselytizer, but THE way to both prevent back trouble and take care of it when you already have it is yoga.

    I had a few minor back and joint problems in my twenties (due mostly to stress and lack of exercise), took yoga classes for several years and never had a problem again. I'm now in my fifties. :crying:

    The only issue with yoga is finding a competent teacher: there is no standard to speak of, so you can get anyone, from a total quack to a near-guru.

    I was lucky and found someone in the latter category, although to some extent you can trust teachers who have been trained in some of the better-known schools, like Iyengar or Kripalu (my teacher was trained by the latter).

    Ommmmmmmmmm.... 😀

  • bob.willsie (5/13/2009)

    However, the right exercise did. I place a bowling ball between my legs, bend over, and lift it up shoulder height with my arms straight. The key to this is it targets the lower back and hip area.

    I'm a little slow and having trouble picturing how this works. Are you standing or laying on your back? Is the bowling ball between your knees or your thighs? I'm guessing you start out holding the bowling ball between your legs/knees and then grasp it with your hands and lift it up? What do you lift up to shoulder height and how do you lift it? Are you, at that time, holding the bowling ball in your hands? How do you get the bowling ball into your hands with your arms straight and you bent over?

    Sorry for the inane questions but it sounds like it could be helpful.

  • I suffer from chronic hip problems (definitely exacerbated by sitting continuously for more hours that I should) - that in turn lead to back & neck problems. So long as I stick with a regular chiropractic visit schedule and some basic stretching I'm pain free and completely mobile. I think it is sad that so many doctors ignore what the AMA has finally admitted should be the first approach to back pain, chiropractic care. While for some surgery is the best and/or only option, back & neck surgery is effective for only a small faction of pain sufferers. Chiropractic care is effective for most, so long as the pain has not been ignored for a prolonged time frame.

    As someone mentioned, ergonomics are critical for IT folks and so often ignored. That thousand dollar ergonomically correct chair that I now have, and used to think was ridiculous, was absolutely worth every penny. It made a huge difference (and I was a serious skeptic, but a skeptic in pain at the time so was willing to try it).

    Bottom line, don't wait when back or neck pain appears - go get medical help promptly. The longer the wait the more time it can take to treat and the less likely a positive outcome will be.

  • jritson (5/13/2009)

    It's interesting that you conclude so quickly that it is the inactivity and PC work that caused the pain.

    Thanks for the sympathy and link, but it wasn't working at the PC. This was caused by some new stuff at karate and then aggravated by a massage last week.

    Better every day now.

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