It’s Backcare Awareness Week so I thought I would share my own experiences of pain, posture and preventative measures in today’s blog post, including the ways I’ve set up my work and sleep environments to help…
I began suffering with neck pain after a whiplash injury when I was in my early twenties. It was only really a problem when reading (which is a shame because it’s my favourite hobby) but only when looking down to read on a desk. Studying in the library during my degree proved difficult and would cause headaches.
Since then, I’ve been working at a desk almost every day, which certainly didn’t help the problem. But recently I’ve been organising my working environment to make it more ergonomic, I’ve sorted out an exercise routine and I’m working on my posture. I’m even sitting up straigher as I type this!
Even though everyone’s experiences are different, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve done in case it might help you with back or neck ache too…
Let’s start with the most important – my sleeping environment. If my neck has been in a bad position overnight, I will suffer for the rest of the day. For many people, a poor night’s sleep is a regular occurrence so, whether you have back or neck problems or not, sleep hygiene is certainly a factor to consider to boost the quality of your sleep.
Good sleep lets your body reset and I’m sure that my neck thanks me every time I put my head on the pillow. But that wasn’t always the case – I have struggled to find the right pillow for years. I’ve tried memory foam, down, fibre, all kinds of fillings but whenever I thought I’d found a comfy option, my neck seemed to disagree.
I have recently been gifted the Spinal Alignment pillow from Sealy’s Posturepedic range to test out and I’ve used it for a month before drawing any conclusions. The 7cm deep supportive foam centre ensures your neck and spine remain in a straight and neutral position for ultimate comfort and posture support while you sleep. I’ve found that I am sleeping on my back much more than usual (I was previously a side sleeper) and not moving about during the night.
My neck has certainly benefitted from staying in one (correct) position all night as I never wake up with a sore neck in the morning. The only time I did experience pain after using the pillow was when my head slipped off the pillow and I had been lying with my head at an angle. No surprise when I had a stiff neck that day!
I also found that this firm and supportive pillow helps my neck to re-set if it’s become stiff during the day. A little lie-down on the pillow for an hour allows my neck to relax and feel much better. Plus, I have a memory foam mattress and it’s just light sleeping on a cloud! Of course, this is only my experience of the Spinal Alignment pillow so I can’t say how well it would work for you. All I know is that I’m taking it on holiday with me if I go away in the future!
Seeing as I’m spending 8 hours in bed and 8 hours at work, it seems important to make sure that my working environment is as comfortable as my bed. We all know about workspace ergonomics and I’ve made sure that my monitor is at eye level. But what else can you do to minimise back pain while working?
You may remember from the photos I’ve previously posted of my home office that I have a sit-stand desk. It’s called a ‘VariDesk’ and it turns any table/desk into a sit-stand desk. I’m currently stood up while I’m typing this blog post – I was sitting but writing about the sit-stand desk has reminded me to use it! That’s the main challenge – getting into a routine of changing from sitting to standing and back again. Plus, it’s also a good idea to get up and move your body as often as you can – what a great excuse for tea breaks!
I also have a swivel chair from Ikea with a nice straight back, and I’ve added a support cushion – the interestingly named ‘Egg Sitter’. So even when I’m sitting down while working, I feel really comfortable and the upright back of the chair reminds me to sit up straight. I’m still working on my posture and doing exercises that the physiotherapist recommended but having the right set-up of working environment has been a great help.
Let me know your own tips for preventing back pain and improving posture in the comments below, I’d love to hear your advice and what’s worked for you.
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Some items in this blog post have been gifted to me and the pink links indicate a gifted product, affiliate link or information source. All thoughts and opinions in this post are based on my own experience and I am not responsible for your experience 🙂
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