Morning Meanderings… Book Bloggers/Long Term Book Readers Beware

Good morning!  😀
Lovely post title right?  Just gives you warm fuzzies I am sure…..

If you have been following my “pain” saga (here and here) the past few days you will know I have been having back pain and seeing a chiropractor.  Note:  This is something I don’t do…. haven’t done…. and am going because as of Thursday morning I could hardly turn my neck… what I thought was a pinched nerve went from between my shoulder blades, up my back into my neck and right arm.  Yesterday morning after having my first treatment on Thursday, I could not turn my back, sit in a chair, or stand.  My back felt like it was on FIRE and I called the chiropractor again in tears saying I was not sure if I needed them or a doctor but something was seriously wrong (and yeah…. scary too).

After this second time in they took x rays of my neck and spine.  My spine was perfectly straight (hey I have to take the little wins right?) however my neck was looking straight too which I though “yay me”, but was told…. nah ahh.

Apparently our necks are supposed to have a nice backward “C” shaped curve to them.  Mine does not.  What was shown to me is that people who do a lot of computer work, laptop work, and even reading, can cause their neck to pull straight from looking down so much…. putting pressure into my arm and back.

Guilty.  On all three accounts.  😯

So what do I do? 

I need to keep my laptop on a table at a level that I am not leaning over it (instead of my usual on my lap in the recliner).  When I read the book needs to come up more so I am not looking down to read it but more straight forward…. and I am supposed to exercise my neck by rolling it back as far as I can….

Even though I work out, the doctor said while that is good and strengthens muscles, it is apparently not enough  to counteract the time I spend at a computer.  This is true… between work and writing, I easily spend 4 – 10 hours on the computer a day. 

So there is this mornings post.  I figure many of you must spend pretty close to the same amount of time reading, and computer work as I do, so maybe a little heads up will prevent you from the pain I am currently in.I have been so tired!  😀 

This morning I have another appointment.  They have been doing an ultra sound on my shoulder and working out the ache and pain there and I am taking 800 milligrams of ibuprofen every 5 hours.

On the upside – hanging out at the house with an ice pack has caused me to really catch up on some reading.  I have finished two books in the last two days and started a third.  Nuts I know… but I am always looking for the bright side and hopefully will be back to working out on Monday. 

Do any of you experience any of this pain?  What do you do to prevent it?

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on April 23, 2011, in Meanderings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 75 Comments.

  1. Wow, Sheila, I hope these exercises make a huge difference! I bookmarked this post in case I need it because I probably sit/blog/read as much as you. Thanks for blogging the info.

    • I am stretching my neck all the time now Mary 😛 I am trying to keep my laptop up higher and read with the book not so low on my lap…..

      I really want to get back tot he gym and have my goal set for Monday.

  2. Oh no, you poor thing! Hope the stretches start working for you 😦

  3. I have struggled with back and neck pain off and on for years, and I know that my “activities” play a role.

    My initial troubles, however, began with car accidents. Those kinds of injuries “hang on” forever, it seems, and relapses are triggered by things like sitting over a computer and reading.

    And here we thought that our eyes would be the first to go (from our lifestyles!) LOL

    • Isnt that just crazy Laurel? I was in a car accident about 4 years ago where a car hit me head on. We were not going very fast, we were ona service drive and it was the ice on the road that caused the car to slide into me… however I did ram my knee into the dashboard which bothered me for a while – but after two chiropractic visits I was good and it had never bothered me again.

      I have decided now that if I could have a super power it would be the power to heal. 🙂 It is true – if you don’t have your health….

  4. I have this same problem with my neck but my chiropractor never gave me any exercises to do. Mine started from years of violin playing growing up. Now my computer and book habits play a role. I’m going to bookmark this page and use these exercises. Thanks for sharing them! I hope you feel 100% soon.

    • Thanks Beth – I am hoping this post ill help us as readers and bloggers to make sure our laptops are in proper position for our necks and wrists… 😀

      I feel a thousand times better than I did yesterday morning. I have another appointment for Monday afternoon.

  5. Oh my gosh! You poor thing! I hope you get to feeling better very soon….

  6. Ah, what can be worse than back and neck pain? I know it well! Here’s something I do: whenever I’m at a red light, I use the time to do the neck range of motion exercises!

    • Great tip Jill – thank you! I can use that. I was told not to lift anything above my head, keep ice on my back/shoulder for 10 – 15 minute intervals, and just relax over the weekend…..

  7. I think my neck has generally looked like that ‘before’ pic for quite a few years. Hope they get you fixed up quickly! And yeah, neck/shoulder exercises are a must!

  8. Jill has the answer, I think. Even though we spend much time in the same position, we need to take every opportunity to move. Heat helps my neck pain too. Love those hot showers in the morning.

  9. I’m glad you figured out what was wrong and now have a solution for it. Part of the reason I prefer my desktop over a laptop is because I don’t have to look down to use it. Using a laptop on my lap kills my neck.

    • Great idea Kathy! I still do not have full range with my neck… I can not lower my head to my chest – it only goes about half way before pain shoots down my back…. holy smokes…. 😀

  10. I get neckshoulder pain/stiffness periodically, but I’ve put it down to a couple of accidents I’ve had in the past. If I use my laptop it’s always on a table so I’m not looking down at it and likewise, my PC and work computer are both on reasonably high desks. Though I’m not sure being a sat in an office chair for most of the day is all that good for me!

    • I try to counter act all that sitting by being active on other areas in my life Nikki-ann but apparently I am not doing enough…. I am sure the blogging and book reviewing over the past couple of years (which brings me great joy!) has only added to the strain on my neck…. sheesh… who knew? 😀

  11. You poor thing! Keep up the ice and neck exercises, it will get better. I am switching to a stand up desk because sitting has, for one, caused “the secretary spread” and 2 causes back pain.
    Reading and computers is causing havoc on our bodies! Grrrrr.
    Good luck with it, hope you get better soon.
    I work for a Chiropractor, have been for 20yrs and love the natural approach!!
    Natalie :0)

  12. I’ve experienced neck and shoulder pain but nothing that bad. I hope the pain goes away for good soon. At least you’re getting in some reading! 😉 Take care of yourself!

  13. I have had what you are describing (only on the left side) for about 15 years. Never had that problem before computers.

    A couple of times a year it flares up and I go to the chiropracter who realigns me. It seems I tend to lean to the left (unconsciously) and that will throw out a rib causing a spasm which goes right on up to my neck. It feels like a rubber band snapped in there. Ouch.

    I do Yoga to keep ‘flexible’ and try not to lean. And now I’ll add your neck exercises and try to keep looking up when I use my laptop.

    I hope this works for you… it seems once this type of problem starts it wants to keep recurring unless we are very diligent.

    • I should go back to yoga too Leslie – I have only taken a couple of classes but they are Saturdays around 11 and it is hard to stop that late in the morning and work out or I guess in this case – stretch out…. maybe it needs to stop being an option for me. 🙂

  14. I always worry about the amount of time I spend at work and at home on a computer — sometimes without a break. Thank God for the cat. At least that hungry little furball forces you to get up and move (open doors, open cans of food, rescue the toys from behind assorted furniture) a few times per day. Interesting & important post. Thanks for sharing.

    • I had to laugh at your “thank God for the cat” comment…. LOL that is awesome.

      I guess I can be thankful as well then for my annoying shuh-tsus who want to go outside… but never at the same time…. 😛

  15. I have the neck exercise (along with a back one) poster taped inside my bathroom closet to help remind me to do them! I have had on and off problems for years and know that if I am faithful with the exercises the time between is much longer! Take it slow though and don’t force. I also use a specially designed pillow to keep that curve in the neck! Can’t sleep without it.

  16. Have you tried yoga? I have been attending yoga sessions 3X/wk since January. At first I could not do the “head roll” exercises w/out this horrible ‘catching, crunching” feel. It was almost painful, definitely uncomfortable. Now with practice I am moving much better everywhere. Arm strength, abdominals and increased flexablility. Like you, I have always done some kind of exercise but yoga has become a must in my program. Good luck!

    • I could do the head roll up to a week ago Linda 😀

      I have only done a couple of yoga classes but I think I could “up the anty”I have a very active summer that I have been looking forward too and I do not want anything to get in the way 😀

  17. We get annoying health and safety women come round once a year at work to lecture to use about this. But everyoen with a laptop at work also has a monitor so that they do not have to look down. They do tend to lecture us about what we do at home too but I probably don’t spend large periods of time on my laptop. Didn’t think about reading books though!

    I sometimes get trapped nerves in my neck/shoulder area – though the nurse thinks it’s how I sleep.

    • I tent to spend too much time on my laptop Ellie – I know this… I love to blog, comment, visit sites… look up about things I am reading…..

      I would have never guessed book and blogging if it had not been for the doctor and the neck x ray…. at least he said it looked much better than he thought it would…. I think I can get me neck strong again…. it will be my mission 😀

  18. My neck and shoulders always hurt, now I may know why. I think I’ll change some of my habits now.

    I hope you get to feeling pain free as quickly as possible.

  19. I had a very stiff neck that I went to physical therapy for last year. That, combined with yoga, has been a HUGE help. Of course, if my physical therapist knew I was back on my laptop, he’d cringe!

    I suggest the slower yoga, though…not the faster paced vinyasa flow. While vinyasa is good exercise, the deeper, stretchier yoga is what helps…and it keeps me relaxed, which in turn helps with the tight neck.

  20. No advise for you but rest up, do your exercises and can an icepack help?

  21. I’m sorry to hear that you have to go through this, but glad to know that you have a solution to the problem.

    I went through something similar about ten years ago and hardly ever have any problems with it now. I wish I could say that I have much better habits – I don’t. I think I’ve only changed my routine and habits just enough not to cause major damage. 🙂

  22. This is so good to know honey — I do this all the time with my computer. I hope you feel better darling!

  23. Glad you’re doing better. It’s not like you to be out of commission!

  24. You poor thing! I had that once very long ago and they used some kind of little shock wave type therapy on my neck.. it helped. I just got over a bout of sciatica and had to take a medrol dose pack to get thru it. Being in pain stinks. Try using heat and then ice too or some of those thermacare wraps. They help for awhile. Hope you feel better soon!

  25. All I know is that I prefer my desktop computer because I have to sit up straight in order to read from the monitor or even type. I consciously try to keep my shoulders back and not hunched. Same goes for reading.

    I had a lot of neck trouble when I first worked at the library and discovered it was from tilting my head to the right and shelf reading. LOL

    Glad to hear that you got some answers and I think the exercises and the suggestion of some of the more gentle yoga stretches will do a lot for you. The more gentle yoga, not the flow. Good luck, Sheila!

  26. I have occasional flareups with my sciatic nerve, an old back injury from work, so I understand your pain. I am so glad you are getting some answers. Be sure to take the ibuprofin with food. Ibuprofin can be very hard on the stomach, especially with the amount you are taking. It is a great anti-inflammatory though. Just don’t take it on an empty stomach.

    • Thanks Shirley 🙂 Not sure if it is the pain or the pills or the combo but I have been wiped out the last 4 days…. I nap every afternoon and am in bed by 10 pm… so not like me. 😀

  27. You poor thing! Hope the pain goes away ASAP! I know that this must be doubly hard on you, as you’re such an active person. Take care of yourself, and try to get some rest! *hugs*

    • AHHH – the hug hurt! LOL….

      I am staying put as much as possible. I had to run get some things for Easter tomorrow but College Son is coming home and is going to help with the cooking.

  28. Thanks for the heads up! Hope your neck gets back to that backward “C” shape soon. 🙂 Wow though…at least you are getting a lot of reading done! Hope your weekend is as good as it can be, under the circumstances.

    • Thanks Michelle 🙂 I keep stretching… and have ice on it now. I am alone in the house so it is great reading and the weather outside is cold and rainy so at least I am not missing out there 😉

  29. Sheila, I sympathize with you. I was in a car accident a few weeks ago and have a neck/cervical disc injury and am getting physical therapy now. I have a different set of exercises as rolling my head back could cause some serious damage. I need to be more careful with my laptop use as well. Another thing to be aware of is reading laying down in bed/couch as it can put your neck in a poor position as well. Sitting up completely and not lounging is the best protection. I hope that you get some relief soon.

  30. I hope this brings you the relief you need! I haven’t experienced back pain but I know from other people that it is just the worst!

  31. I have the same problem! I work 10-12 hour a day on a computer and then if I read blogs or blog myself in the evening it is just too much. I take Advil, do exercises and drink wine! I get up once per hour to stretch and move around to keep from “locking up” too much. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.

  32. You’re totally right! I sit hunched when I’m not conscious that I’m doing it. When I’m conscious, I make sure my spine’s straight, but I’ve never before worried too much about the neck. Now that’s one more thing to fret over. Thanks so much for this post, Sheila, really informative!

    • I am glad I could help Aths – I have been down for the count all week long… on Friday I was in so much pain I was in tears….

      Do the exercises and try to be conscious about constantly hunking down over our laptops and books 🙂

  33. Wow Sheila, that sounds so painful. =/ All of my hobbies involve looking down as well as my work – thank you for posting about the dangers inherent in it. I’ll have to make sure I use the desktop more often so I don’t hunch over too much, and I hope your treatments bring you relief from pain soon!

  34. Gentle hugs, my dear! and maybe perhaps, yoga? If you have never been, find a kind gentle instructor and you will FALL IN LOVE with it. seriously. be gentle and loving.

  35. I can personally relate Sheila, I “do” my neck severely about twice a year. (thank goodness it’s not more) where I’m unable to turn my head at all and my whole left arm is numb, the pain, headaches, chest pain etc are excruciating. My chiropractor is the only one that gives me some relief, along with some pretty good drugs 🙂

    The upper Trapezius and Scalene stretch and keeping heat across the shoulders (large wheat heat) when I’m spending a lot of time at the computer and can feel everything tightening up. Also keeping feet flat on a small stool takes strain off hips and subsequently shoulder blades. These things have helped me, but you have to keep doing the exercises, dont get complacent because once you’ve experienced this you’re apparently more prone to it happening again for the most insignificant reason (like taking off a shirt lol)

    In future if you can feel things tightening across shoulder blades you might try lying on your back with a tennis ball under shoulder blades and gently roll in knotted area, loosening the knots before neck begins to spasm and completely cease may prevent a really bad episode.

    I’m sending sympathetic hugs and do hope you’re out of pain and back to your normal, energetic self really soon xx

  36. great article. I had a roll over accident about 7 uears ago am plagued daily by neck and back pain. I too spend way too many hours on the computer and reading, but I am not goign to give up either. I am going to try the exercises and see if that helps. I was going to the chiropractor every week, but haven’t gone in ages. I know I need to go again.

    At work I recently had a monitor set up for my laptop and that helps there. At home I am still on my laptop and do feel it if I am on too much.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Jen C

    • I think my work computer is ok Jen, it sits up higher and my arms rest nicely on my desk… but at home that is not the case….

      I am thinking some of it is this time of year… our weather has been awful so far and I have been inside way more than I usually am… today I start rollerblading again…. hopefully between that and biking I will take care of some of this.

  37. As soon as I saw the title of your post I knew exactly where you were headed. Because my injury that caused my paralysis is in my neck C-5 through C-7 are fused together and their are pins in my neck . This is where my spinal cord was pinched. As I recovered a lot of things were explained to me like this. The curve in your neck helps to support to your upper body, arms and hands. With the hardware in my neck the curve is not there so I have paralysis and numbness to my hands and arms. But the injury as also affected my right leg too, funny how important that little curve is.

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