I couldn’t tell you the number of articles and blog posts I’ve read that talk about how writing is a sedentary profession. And it is, just like any of the millions of office jobs held by people around the world. We know that having such a job, we have to be conscious of things like weight gain and circulatory problems that come from sitting too long at a time. But having such a job, where we sit in a chair and look at a computer screen for hours a day, also has other repercussions that hamper our very ability to move.
A few years ago, all those years of sitting at a computer began to catch up to me. My range of motion suffered, and there was a persistent ache in my bones. Was I just getting older and everyone had to deal with this? Maybe to some extent, but I also started going to both a chiropractor and a massage therapist every few months. It helped and I liked them both. So when I moved to a different state, I had to begin the process of finding both types of professionals again. Luckily, I think I’ve been able to do so. I’ve only been to the massage therapist once since moving here, but it was nice to have that feeling of relaxation afterward.
I typically get deep tissue massage because it really helps release the tightness in my shoulders that comes from typing. Another thing that I didn’t expect when I first started going to a massage therapist was how much the sides of my hip joints hurt when she worked on those areas. She said that’s also common with people who sit a lot. Besides just simple relaxation, massage has a lot of benefits, helping to alleviate anxiety (which I admittedly have some issues with), digestive issues (ditto), headaches (ditto), TMJ (beginning to have issue with this), fibromyalgia and circulation.
When we first moved to Florida, my main concern with finding a good chiropractor is that I tend to have a rib in my back that sometimes pops out. Yeah, that’s all kinds of fun. It did so while we were loading our moving truck — really bad timing. But since finding my new chiropractor, he’s been working on an issue that I’d never had fixed before. I didn’t have full range of motion in my neck, hadn’t for years. My neck didn’t want to adjust one direction, and my previous chiropractor didn’t want to force it. And I agreed because I was having horrible images of my neck breaking if he did. The new chiropractor showed me my X-rays of my head and spine in my neck leaning forward on its own and how that was causing calcification on the lower vertebrae in the front of my neck to hold my head up (the human head weighs between 10 and 11 pounds, not unlike carrying a bowling bowl around on top of your spine). He said this was more common in the past 20 years when we’re always looking down at devices (phones, tablets, etc.) and at computer screens. This was going to cause more issues as I got older if not corrected. He did say that most chiropractors are no longer even taught how to adjust the C1 vertebra (the one out of place, at the top of the spine where it connects to the skull), but he said that if that C1 is out of place it has a cascade effect on the rest of the spine.
I was admittedly nervous when he showed me just how much he was going to have to turn my head and how, and when he said that at least initially it wasn’t going to be pleasant and I might not like him very much. It took several visits before he was even able to begin to adjust it (or I was remotely comfortable with him trying). But the first time it moved noticeably, so much pressure alleviated and the headaches I’d been having every day disappeared. I’m not going to lie and say that those adjustments are a piece of cake now. They’re over quickly, but they’re still unpleasant, but I have more range of motion than I’ve had in years and I’m thrilled not to have constant headaches. I was also given neck exercises to do at home to help keep things stretched out and moving. But a word of caution — make sure if you ever go this route or have it checked out, go to a chiropractor with experience in this area. There are even chiropractors who specialize in C1 adjustments or at least are upper cervical specialists. Do your research.
Whatever methods you find for relieving tension and pain (I’d love to know everyone’s suggestions), I hope you’re able to do so and thus be able to continue writing the stories you love to write and that readers love to read.