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!