Long hours at a desk: A quest for the cure for “Office Back”

Office Back

I’ve found the cure for lower back pain, or “office back.”  Well maybe I didn’t find it, but I did hear about it from a chiropractor, use it in life, then made it my own. As somebody who has a spent an awful lot of time sitting at desks I’ve had lots of problems with lower back pain. I’ve tried just about everything under the sun from massages, to chiropractors, to all different types of stretches, and while a lot of things worked a little bit, nothing worked all the time. Luckily, I’ve finally found something that works.

I’ve started using a lacrosse ball to deep tissue massage the muscles in my lower back and it’s been incredibly effective for me. First you take the lacrosse ball and pin it between yourself and the wall. From there you almost do a sort of wall squat up and down the wall and use the lax ball to dig into the muscles that are getting knotted up from sitting at a desk for 8 to 10 hours a day. It’s the type of thing that you should probably do alone because I speak from experience when I say you will be made fun of if somebody sees you doing it. Squatting up and down the wall while trying to dig the lax ball into your lower back does not leave you looking very dignified but I have found that it makes you feel a lot better.

So in the face of some funny comments from friends and family who have seen me do it, I will continue.  I’ve even caught a few of them trying it out. It’s definitely one of those things that it doesn’t matter how you look its how you feel and it has certainly made me feel a lot better.  It’s very similar to a lot of what people are doing with foam rollers on their hips to release some of the tension from their muscles. I keep a lax ball with me at work, I’ve got one at home, one in my home office, and I keep one in my car. Whenever I start to feel a little bit tight I take it out, spend 3 to 5 minutes using it on my lower back where the muscles feel knotted, and the next thing you know I feel much better.

So it’s worth a try for all of you that spend a lot of time at a desk. There are a lot of other things that I’ve tried that are helpful including making sure that you get up at regular intervals. This is another one that if you just get up a couple times an hour and get a quick stretch you’ll find that at the end of the day you’re not nearly as miserable as you could be; but if you do end up with that horrible set of knotted muscles the lax ball is a really good way to cure “office back.”

Photo credit: Eugenio “The Wedding Traveler” WILMAN

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Stay active, stay interested and stay young

Bruce wilis stay young blog

My grandmother is not old.  She might have a lot of years on her but when you talk to her you realize just how much you can do if you live life to the fullest.  I was talking to her last weekend and she was planning on a long trail ride in the Black Canyon down in Gunnison National Park. She’s doing a bunch of pre-rides so that my cousins who don’t get out on horseback very often didn’t have problems with some of the horses. She wanted to make sure that the horses had been ridden enough so that these folks who don’t get out much would be able to handle it and I definitely got kind of a kick out of that.

Whenever I think about my grandmother I associate her with somebody who is young and vibrant and is just making the most out of life. I think a big part of that is that every time I talk to her on the phone, for my whole life, she’s always been on the go or doing something.  She’s always been riding horses, working in her garden, on the go to the next thing, or planning her next big adventure. This has made her stay youthful and I think there’s a real lesson in that for everybody.

I hear people say things like, “I’ve been going so hard I just want to spend a week on the couch” or “I just want to do nothing”  all the time. Maybe you’re dong the wrong things in your work life or I guess the ultimate takeaway is that finding the things that get you excited about in your day to day life, whether that is things at work or things that you do outside of work, are a big part of the key to staying youthful. You may not be able to change the passage of years but I think most people know somebody who is in their 70s, 80s or 90s and hasn’t quite seemed to realize it yet.  They’re still going like they did when they were much younger and in a lot of cases they’re outpacing people half their age.

That’s the person I want to be when I get older; somebody who is excited about every day, who is still finding new challenges, and has found a way to be excited about the things that they do. So I think important parts of that are:

  • Figuring out what makes you excited
  • Making sure that you try new things so that you don’t get stuck in a rut
  • Finally, part of it is just attitude, finding the silver lining in anything that you do, and either making it a game or figuring out how it ties into the bigger picture

Slogging through things just to mark the time isn’t going to do much for your quality of life and probably doesn’t do much for the quality of things that you’re doing. I’m curious what other people think.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.