One Writer’s Journey

August 25, 2015

Back Pain: Writing and Your Lower Back

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:52 am
Unless you want to feel clunky, set a timer and when it goes off get up and move around.

Unless you want to feel clunky, set a timer and when it goes off get up and move around.

This past spring and summer, I suffered through several months of lower back pain.  What does that have to do with writing?  More than you might think.

Eighty percent of all people will have lower back pain at some point in their lives.  Yes, sometimes an injury is the cause.  Sometimes it is hereditary.  But most often, it is because we spend too much time sitting down.  The fact is that “butt in chair” can be contributing to “pain in back.”

Here are some things that you can do to help reduce lower back pain.  First things first, make sure your work space is ergonomic. This means that your thighs should be parallel to the floor. Yep, it is really uncomfortable at first but you adjust.  Your forearms should also be parallel to the floor.  To work out both the arm bit and the leg bit, you may have to use a foot rest.  Thankfully, I’m tall.  Your monitor should be at eye level and about an arm’s length from your face.

That’s a start, but it isn’t all of it.  You also need to limit how much time you spend with butt-in-chair.  I do this by working with a timer.  I use an online timer so that I’m not distracted by the ticking and I set it for 20 to 25 minutes.  Yes, 20 to 25 minutes.  When I started this, I already had the back pain and sitting only made it worse.  When the timer goes off, I get up and put in a load of wash, shift a load to the dryer or pull weeds for a few minutes.  Sometimes I even iron a shirt.

The disgusting reality is that all of this seems to be working together to help my back.  Hopefully some of these tips will help you deal with mild pain or keep you from getting into this situation.  If you’re having serious pain, please go to your doctor.  I put it off for several weeks and still wish I had been less stubborn.

Do you have your timer set?  You need to get up and move around in 20 or 25 minutes.  I wasn’t joking!





  1. I made myself a standing desk by putting cinder blocks under my desk legs (not too fashionable, but cheap!) and getting a barstool-height chair to sit on when I didn’t want to stand. I also have an anti-fatigue mat to stand on. It really helps you feel better to stand more than sitting. I, too, have back problems. No fun at all!

    Comment by Xina Marie Uhl — August 25, 2015 @ 2:04 am | Reply

    • Part of my problem is my horrible posture but I’m working out the kinks both in my posture and in a standing desk. My husband just worked up a new set up on the treadmill desk for me. Let me know if your configuration keeps working for you!

      Comment by SueBE — August 25, 2015 @ 2:59 am | Reply

      • Sounds like you have a handy hubby! I have posture problems as well. It’s hard work to undo years of bad habits, for sure! I’ve had the standing desk for a few years now and just replaced it with an Ikea Jerker standing desk that I bought off craigslist. Ikea discontinued them a few years ago but they are great. Not motorized but that’s what you get for $100. Good luck with your setup.

        Comment by Xina Marie Uhl — August 25, 2015 @ 1:27 pm

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