I woke up with a bad headache, but not a mindbender. Just a day-ruiner with enough potency where even after I had done all the stretches I learned in the Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] series, I couldn’t fix it. I laid down on my foam roller with my neck at the top and my tailbone at the bottom, and surprisingly, found my left shoulder had jettisoned out of alignment by probably one inch…
I laid there for a minute to confirm that, yeah, my back was tweaked.
I then rotated the foam roller so it went across my shoulders, leaned over it for a few minutes longer, and this must have stretched my spine back into its normal alignment. My left side still feels weird, and I’m sufficiently tired so I’ll probably want to go to sleep sooner rather than later, but this just goes to show that even with actively doing stretches, if you get headaches because of spinal issues like I do, then it’s not just a one-and-done thing.
I have to fix my back daily probably for the rest of my life.
There may be days and weeks where I won’t have spinal problems, where I might even forget the need to do any sort of exercises to stretch my back, shoulders, or neck. If, however, I’m not careful then these pains will come back with a vengeance. I could lose hours or days of productivity or even just relaxation to these headaches, whether just enough to be lingering problems or mindbenders that prevent me from wanting to live my life normally.
Although an unfortunate, chronic illness, it is, fortunately, easily remediable.
Part of that means I need to be vigilant over how my body is doing. I don’t think sleeping wrong directly caused this back pain, nor do I think rowing, nor standing as I do for work, but rather a subtle combination of all three and more. I don’t normally take a bath before bed. Maybe that made my back more malleable than normal? My mattress isn’t terrible, no doctor I saw pointed directly to that as a cause, however, I don’t have the most ergonomic mattress possible. It’s fine for now and when I move somewhere that isn’t an apartment, I’ll buy the best quality mattress I can.
The ergonomics of my standing desk are fine enough.
I have dealt with headaches off-and-on recently because the heights and depths aren’t fantastic for this long-term work-from-home scenario, but I’ve figured out something close enough. Actually, I moved everything three inches closer and this has made quite the difference! I think in time my body will not be as ergonomically sensitive as it is now, requiring my desk to be at around 44.4 inches for my standing height so that when I type and move the mouse there are minimal pinches on my shoulders. Now that I look at it, this laptop and my secondary monitor are too low. I should raise them at least ten inches so it will place less stress on my neck.
I’ll do this eventually, but with this curved spine, it’s helped me reassess my space.
Let’s say by this essay’s publication, I’m all back to work. We don’t know when yet, but let’s say we get the all clear in the next four weeks. I will still have these ergonomics down, so I can bring in my second avocational laptop here to replace the vocational laptop that’d be returning to my employer and comfortably have a standing workstation for my personal needs. I do still want to work on my sitting work area, but I think ideally, I should just scrap that whole arrangement and build something better for me.
That area’s not as bad since I don’t work there for hours each day.
It’s just not as copesetic for me. I can get comfortable but it doesn’t prevent discomfort. Here with this desk arrangement now, especially after moving the monitors closer, I don’t have to lean my neck as far forward to see the screens. I could go closer still, so this is not a perfect arrangement, but it is at least significantly better than it started out as and became shortly thereafter. I will write another one with the build specifications once I’ve perfected it, but for now, trust that it is a work-in-progress out of necessity, since although I was able to fix my headache now, it was enough of a problem hours ago that I was not having a fantastic time.
That is not a problem I want to deal with for the rest of my life.
And yet, like my sobrieties and anxieties, this ergonomic situation of mine might be something I deal with both on the small scale of stretching my neck, shoulders, and spine daily and the large scale of figuring out long-term solutions like ergonomic workstations, mattresses, and living arrangements. My days of bad posture because I want to be cool or I’m lazy are long over. Instead, I have to be responsible, not because I am now a completely responsible person, but because when I am able to prevent myself from having hours or days affected by headaches, I can make massive progress toward the lifestyle I want to live.
The same can be said for keeping myself sober and addressing the stresses of life.
I am not a perfect person, or even someone with all of their things together. All the essays I’ve written over the years have been my way of writing about things I am learning, most of the time through the writing process about myself or my writing craft, and so shouldn’t my health be one of those things I’m constantly learning about? If I can help others take the time to figure out their own ergonomics, preferably from a professional although if needed just casually as a start, then you too can attain the lifestyle you want.
We don’t need to suffer through physical pain.
|Sources: My professional and personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Feeling that one-inch tweak in my spine really gave me a sense of relief since then I could work on solving the mystery pain I woke up and worked through for nearly ten hours. I wasn’t able to act fast enough here, so I ended up having to return back to work early rather than further adjustment my monitors.|
|Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Picture: I’d take a photo of my foam roller, but I really see no need to do that.|
|Written On: 2020 April 12 [4:10am to 4:40am. Gdocs.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 April 18 [Adapted from Gdoc, so, second draft; final draft for the Internet.]|