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O/T: HEALTH shoulder, neck, back pain and weakening of the body due to long hours spent working in a desk

ironathlete

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Oct 25, 2019
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Hi everyone,

Just would like to know if anyone suffers from body pains or body in-functionality due to prolonged hours of working in a desk or similar situation. I suffered from alot of neck and shoulder pain when i worked in sales for 6 years. Thankfully I managed to overcome them after studying to become a functional strength and conditioning coach. But I would love to hear what are other people's experiences when it comes to this issue?
1- what are the main bodily issues you suffer from due to your professional life?
2- if you wish you could change one thing what would it be?
3- if you had 3 months to purely focus on reversing any body in-functionality what would it be?

Would love to hear your answers and thoughts
 

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But I would love to hear what are other people's experiences when it comes to this issue?
I used to have all kinds of back, neck, shoulder pain from a desk job. What changed things was that I simply got stronger. I started lifting. I still spend just as much time at my desk as I used to (and probably have imperfect posture), but I never have pain any more.
 

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OOF where do I start. I'm 30 and I feel like 60 and I think it's all because of my retail work just standing for 10hs and now all the office desk work (past two years, mostly sitting).

1)My traps are rock solid. Idk what having a tender upper back/neck feels like anymore. An upper back full of knots is the normal. I also used to be flexible now I'm a pencil, basically.

Ofc it's a triumph to take myself to the gym or to do anything because you get caught in this vicious circle of getting out of shape --> lethargic ---> "I need rest" ---> less in shape ---> more tired etc.

2) I'm actually thinking of becoming an EMT-P (in part) for the purpose of having a job that has me going around and not sitting.

3) I want back my overall fitness, like half would be my muscle strength (over the past 10 years I've lost all my core and arm strength) and half cardio. I just wanna feel like my body is up and running, not lethargic, weak, and stiff like it currently feels.
 
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ironathlete

ironathlete

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Oct 25, 2019
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I used to have all kinds of back, neck, shoulder pain from a desk job. What changed things was that I simply got stronger. I started lifting. I still spend just as much time at my desk as I used to (and probably have imperfect posture), but I never have pain any more.
good for you man, really happy for you..... what type of lifting or strength program do you follow?
 

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good for you man, really happy for you..... what type of lifting or strength program do you follow?
Pretty basic. Just 5/3/1 on the big 4 lifts plus some chin ups and pullups thrown in and farmers walks. That's it. Simple and good enough for my goals. I really think the deadlifts stopped the desk sitting pain for me. I think weak traps and weak lower back caused most of my pain.
 
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ironathlete

ironathlete

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Oct 25, 2019
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OOF where do I start. I'm 30 and I feel like 60 and I think it's all because of my retail work just standing for 10hs and now all the office desk work (past two years, mostly sitting).

1)My traps are rock solid. Idk what having a tender upper back/neck feels like anymore. An upper back full of knots is the normal. I also used to be flexible now I'm a pencil, basically.

Ofc it's a triumph to take myself to the gym or to do anything because you get caught in this vicious circle of getting out of shape --> lethargic ---> "I need rest" ---> less in shape ---> more tired etc.

2) I'm actually thinking of becoming an EMT-P (in part) for the purpose of having a job that has me going around and not sitting.

3) I want back my overall fitness, like half would be my muscle strength (over the past 10 years I've lost all my core and arm strength) and half cardio. I just wanna feel like my body is up and running, not lethargic, weak, and stiff like it currently feels.
sorry to hear that, I was in a similar situation like you.... changing my career is definitely a turning point for me, thankfully i get to move alot more now and this in turn reduced alot of tension i had in my neck and shoulders. I worked in retail aswell btw, and one thing that really helped release the tension in my back and shoulders was stretching using an elastic band. I followed aaron alexander align method, it was truly remarkable how quickly i started to recover, i would defo recommend you try it if you wanna relieve some tension.
 

moneytree3006

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Yes I have a lot to say on this subject actually. I have a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia. I've had it for about 5-6 years seriously now. So parts of my body are in pain all the time (with varying levels of severity) - including my neck shoulders and arms.

Sitting at a desk and using a computer is actually horrible for the condition because it's a repetitive action. When I worked 10 hour days at an office job I could come home and take prescription opioids and lie down because I couldn't move due to how severe the pain was. Never want to go back there again those were dark days.

So now working as a freelancer, what I do is change the position of my body constantly as I use my laptop. So instead of sitting I might stand or sit on a different type of chair or use a different shaped mouse if I have wrist pain. Cross my legs and put the laptop on my knees also is a different position.

But people don't realize how important rest is for the body. All this "hustle all hours of the day and never rest bro!!!!!!" Is not physically possible when you have a disability... So I've also learned to be a lot better at taking breaks and pacing myself... also time management and delegating jobs to freelancers. If I can pay someone to do something for me for $4 an hour and I don't have to sit there and be in pain why should I?

I think this is a huge area mostly ignored by the entrepreneur community. That and mental health. This lifestyle can lead to depression so easily for many people and just thinking positive thoughts doesn't magically solve it. Cognitive behavioral therapy saved my life in a lot of ways. Especially after being diagnosed with an incurable illness. Can't emphasize that enough.
 

schazz

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I had constant chronic lower back pain for 12 years or so. Now a few years basically pain-free, except for occasional short term flareups that I can usually attribute to stress. I tried many, many things over that period: Braces, special shoes, foundation training, yoga, various strength training programs, melt method, joint mobility programs, rollers, stretching, etc etc.

In my case, it was reading and adopting the mindset from John Sarno's Healing Back Pain that did it. I read that book and 2 books by his patients (talking about how they used his teaching to get over chronic pain), and over the course of the second week, the pain just disappeared.

I still have the structural issues an MRI showed me early on were "causing" the pain. But the pain is gone.

That's not my only experience getting rid of chronic pain, but it's the most dramatic.

Don't get me wrong, I still get stiff and feel crappy after prolonged sitting at the computer, but it's nothing like it used to be.

Somewhat related: I worked on 2 programs a number of years back (before eliminating the back pain) that permanently changed my flexiblity/mobility over the course of a couple of months. Before doing them I considered myself inflexible. Now I'm pretty flexible, and whenever I work at it a bit again I can get quickly back to where I was after that few month period. I've done them again since but not only on occasion. The programs are Intuflow and Ageless Mobility by Scott Sonnon, which you can get at agelessmobility.com.
 
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moneytree3006

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I had constant chronic lower back pain for 12 years or so. Now a few years basically pain-free, except for occasional short term flareups that I can usually attribute to stress. I tried many, many things over that period: Braces, special shoes, foundation training, yoga, various strength training programs, melt method, joint mobility programs, rollers, stretching, etc etc.

In my case, it was reading and adopting the mindset from John Sarno's Healing Back Pain that did it. I read that book and 2 books by his patients (talking about how they used his teaching to get over chronic pain), and over the course of the second week, the pain just disappeared.

I still have the structural issues an MRI showed me early on were "causing" the pain. But the pain is gone.

That's not my only experience getting rid of chronic pain, but it's the most dramatic.

Don't get me wrong, I still get stiff and feel crappy after prolonged sitting at the computer, but it's nothing like it used to be.

Somewhat related: I worked on 2 programs a number of years back (before eliminating the back pain) that permanently changed my flexiblity/mobility over the course of a couple of months. Before doing them I considered myself inflexible. Now I'm pretty flexible, and whenever I work at it a bit again I can get quickly back to where I was after that few month period. I've done them again since but not only on occasion. The programs are Intuflow and Ageless Mobility by Scott Sonnon, which you can get at agelessmobility.com.
So your chronic pain was related to thoughts in your mind? Logically that seems very difficult to wrap my head around but it's amazing you were able to cure it!! I'll have to look into that book
 

biophase

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I would say that a combination of working out, stretching and massages is the first thing I’d do for a bad (muscle or tendon related) back.

Many times it’s not your back, it’s your hamstrings and hip flexors.
 

Lyinx

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Oct 28, 2019
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1- what are the main bodily issues you suffer from due to your professional life?
Back pain, due to sitting too much (40+ hours/week for 5-6 years will do that to you. I've gotten over that in the last few months.

2- if you wish you could change one thing what would it be?
I'm in a family business, biggest thing that I'd like is to have the ability to scale without approval, but that's why we have family members in the same biz, to keep us accountable :)

3- if you had 3 months to purely focus on reversing any body in-functionality what would it be?
3 months, to purely focus on it?
start on a hiking trip, I like nature. While hiking I would ideally setup with multiple days out of the week where I would just work-out and camp in the same spot. I know, probably not ideal, but I've never gone hiking for a few days in a row :)

Ideal situation (what I'm in currently)
1: freedom of time, I can take off whenever I want without worrying about repercussions, I could hand off 75% of my job overnight to existing employees/partners. the other 25% could wait 3 months till I would get back. Even that 25% could be completed by others if they felt they needed to do it before then.
2: purpose, I've got a purpose (sort-of) through my business
3: Philanthropy/helping others: working on this, according to my abilities.
4: workout program: I've started the Navy seal workout program with slight modifications. Currently on 2 week hold due to calf muscle strain from not stretching sufficiently before and after each run. Will resume training shortly :) I never thought I would miss running, of all things...
 

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1) I thought I was going to end up in a wheelchair at one point in my life. All caused by an accident that created an upper spine injury. It got to the point where I couldn't move my neck. I'd have to twist from my hips to turn my head. It eventually healed up with some help.

Prolonged time in front of a monitor still stiffens it up. But I think that happens to everyone to a degree.

2) Less time doing sedentary work. Which I accomplished by changing my business to a more physical one.

3) I have a friend that can help out with that as it's her speciality. If we lived closer I think I would book 3 months of constant attention. lol

The things I think help to alleviate the problems are:

Good posture and good ergonomics of your work environment. Having the right chair. Taking plenty of breaks. Making time for exercise (particularity core exercises), plus walking are great ways to overcome the issues we face with hours of sedentary work each day.
 

RoadTrip

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There are so many people hurting because of the same position we are in all day, I feel like this could be a business opportunity....

A highly specialised training program or gym for maintaining flexibility and strength with the least amount of time involved. Not purely focused on muscle building, weight loss or super flexibility, but a program that makes you feel like you're living in your 18 year old body again.

Perhaps a massage specialist can be included with fast, 15 minute recovery massages.

A program specifically aimed at busy office workers and entrepreneurs like us.

"Would you like to know what it feels like to live in your 18-year old body again with only 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week? With our time efficient, no bullshit, pain recovery program you will ......etc."

What do you guys think?
 

Primeperiwinkle

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There are so many people hurting because of the same position we are in all day, I feel like this could be a business opportunity....

A highly specialised training program or gym for maintaining flexibility and strength with the least amount of time involved. Not purely focused on muscle building, weight loss or super flexibility, but a program that makes you feel like you're living in your 18 year old body again.

Perhaps a massage specialist can be included with fast, 15 minute recovery massages.

A program specifically aimed at busy office workers and entrepreneurs like us.

"Would you like to know what it feels like to live in your 18-year old body again with only 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week? With our time efficient, no bullshit, pain recovery program you will ......etc."

What do you guys think?
My healthy active clients (age 50+) usually take two years to change their body from one of constant pain to ready to climb a mountain. It takes MUCH MORE work and encouragement and support and accountability and motivation etc, etc, etc.. than a 15 min pick me up. Muscles are legitimately stuck in shortened positions, joints can be fused, ligaments are weak. The most successful ones get a massage every week, go to the gym 4-5 days a week, get chiropractic once a month, change their diet SIGNIFICANTLY and it still takes them at least 6 months to feel real change.

I follow several trainers on Insta who have revolutionized the post partum body, the diabetic body.. the older body.

But this is a psychological shift just as momentous as becoming an entrepreneur is to a Slowlane educated person.

Convenience is only part of the battle.
 
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ironathlete

ironathlete

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Oct 25, 2019
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There are so many people hurting because of the same position we are in all day, I feel like this could be a business opportunity....

A highly specialised training program or gym for maintaining flexibility and strength with the least amount of time involved. Not purely focused on muscle building, weight loss or super flexibility, but a program that makes you feel like you're living in your 18 year old body again.

Perhaps a massage specialist can be included with fast, 15 minute recovery massages.

A program specifically aimed at busy office workers and entrepreneurs like us.

"Would you like to know what it feels like to live in your 18-year old body again with only 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week? With our time efficient, no bullshit, pain recovery program you will ......etc."

What do you guys think?
That is exactly why i created this thread, I see wayy too many working professionals suffering from pains and agonies due to their work environment, I was one of them.
There needs to be a solution to this, majority of strength & conditioning coaches focus purely on getting you stronger and leaner, which is useful. But they ignore the importance of functionality in their practice. the base of human life is to move functionally without pain.

I agree with your suggestions, like I said my motivation for this thread was to see what are the problems working professionals suffer from when it comes to body pain and provide practical solutions that can suit their busy schedules and needs.....

For now, I would highly recommend you buying a resistant band and start using it to release all the tension and stress that is built up in your neck, shoulders, back, hips etc.... honestly the resistant band was a game changer for me, i have been using it for 6 months and the major pains in my neck and shoulder has gone, of course the pain will not disappear but it will diminish greatly. if you want, and this is to anyone that is in this thread, drop me a message and i will send you a some videos of different exercises you can do to release tension using an elastic band. I do them everyday and all my clients use them aswell. keep crushing it guys and dont forget to release the tension!!
 

schazz

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So your chronic pain was related to thoughts in your mind? Logically that seems very difficult to wrap my head around but it's amazing you were able to cure it!! I'll have to look into that book
Something like that... It's been a couple of years since I read the book but here is the gist from what I remember.

Sarno was a surgeon who realized after years of practicing that there was little to no correlation between structural abnormalities in peoples' bodies and the pain they experienced. Also, different people could have the same stuctural/physical issues and completely different levels of pain. And when he would "fix" the structural issues through surgery, the pain would often remain. So these things led him to trying to figure this out.

At a high level, his conclusion was that chronic pain is a self-defense mechanism generally experienced by people who are self-critical/self-demanding, who also tend to experience stress more acutely (even if subconsciously). The brain decides that it's safer and easier to keep you focused on physical pain than all of the day to day emotional and stressful events that are common in modern life. It chooses a location in your body that's believable due to a past injury, or something that's talked a lot about in society, and restricts blood flow in that area to create and maintain chronic pain.

The pain experienced is harmless, but can be some of the most intense pain one can experience (per Sarno's clinical experience).

I don't know that his explanation is entirely correct, but he worked with hundreds or thousands of people over decades and got great results. Many of his patients wrote about their experiences getting over chronic pain as well. I experienced it myself. I was told at age 20 that I had almost no fluid in my lower couple of discs, and that there really wasn't anything that could be done. I had 12 years of near-constant lower back pain, including frequent spasms, and tried lots of things. Then all of a sudden, while reading the books I mentioned, changing my beliefs and self talk about the pain, it disappeared.

The mind's power over the body is something that I feel is just now being looked at more closely. The placebo effect is one powerful example. Phantom limb is another. There are lots of others out there.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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Something like that... It's been a couple of years since I read the book but here is the gist from what I remember.

Sarno was a surgeon who realized after years of practicing that there was little to no correlation between structural abnormalities in peoples' bodies and the pain they experienced. Also, different people could have the same stuctural/physical issues and completely different levels of pain. And when he would "fix" the structural issues through surgery, the pain would often remain. So these things led him to trying to figure this out.

At a high level, his conclusion was that chronic pain is a self-defense mechanism generally experienced by people who are self-critical/self-demanding, who also tend to experience stress more acutely (even if subconsciously). The brain decides that it's safer and easier to keep you focused on physical pain than all of the day to day emotional and stressful events that are common in modern life. It chooses a location in your body that's believable due to a past injury, or something that's talked a lot about in society, and restricts blood flow in that area to create and maintain chronic pain.

The pain experienced is harmless, but can be some of the most intense pain one can experience (per Sarno's clinical experience).

I don't know that his explanation is entirely correct, but he worked with hundreds or thousands of people over decades and got great results. Many of his patients wrote about their experiences getting over chronic pain as well. I experienced it myself. I was told at age 20 that I had almost no fluid in my lower couple of discs, and that there really wasn't anything that could be done. I had 12 years of near-constant lower back pain, including frequent spasms, and tried lots of things. Then all of a sudden, while reading the books I mentioned, changing my beliefs and self talk about the pain, it disappeared.

The mind's power over the body is something that I feel is just now being looked at more closely. The placebo effect is one powerful example. Phantom limb is another. There are lots of others out there.
This accurately described at least fifty ppl I’ve worked with over the years. I’m buying the book today. Thank you.
 

schazz

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Jul 12, 2013
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This accurately described at least fifty ppl I’ve worked with over the years. I’m buying the book today. Thank you.
No problem, glad to help anyone I can who's experienced this. It sucks.

Full disclosure: When I discovered Sarno (through a chance Amazon search), I knew I was missing something and was ready to change my beliefs about the pain I experienced. I think that was key to the results I got.

Apart from Healing Back Pain by Sarno, I also bought and read concurrently (literally switching between them) 2 other books by patients of Sarno:
-"Use Your Mind to Heal Your Body: How I used Dr. Sarno’s medically proven treatment plan to eliminate my back pain forever" - Stephen Conenna PE
-"The Great Pain Deception: Faulty Medical Advice Is Making Us Worse" - Steven Ray Ozanich

The first was a great addition and easy to read. The second wasn't very well written and really repetitive and frankly hard to read, but the guy's story is crazy and I think it helped hammer the beliefs into my head. I don't think I ever finished reading this one.

I noticed just now that Sarno has a mucher newer book (from 2007) called The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders. I'm going to read that one soon to get his updated perspectives on it as Healing Back Pain was written in '91.
 

WillHurtDontCare

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Is a standing desk an option? You can get one for a few hundred bucks.
 

moneytree3006

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Something like that... It's been a couple of years since I read the book but here is the gist from what I remember.

Sarno was a surgeon who realized after years of practicing that there was little to no correlation between structural abnormalities in peoples' bodies and the pain they experienced. Also, different people could have the same stuctural/physical issues and completely different levels of pain. And when he would "fix" the structural issues through surgery, the pain would often remain. So these things led him to trying to figure this out.

At a high level, his conclusion was that chronic pain is a self-defense mechanism generally experienced by people who are self-critical/self-demanding, who also tend to experience stress more acutely (even if subconsciously). The brain decides that it's safer and easier to keep you focused on physical pain than all of the day to day emotional and stressful events that are common in modern life. It chooses a location in your body that's believable due to a past injury, or something that's talked a lot about in society, and restricts blood flow in that area to create and maintain chronic pain.

The pain experienced is harmless, but can be some of the most intense pain one can experience (per Sarno's clinical experience).

I don't know that his explanation is entirely correct, but he worked with hundreds or thousands of people over decades and got great results. Many of his patients wrote about their experiences getting over chronic pain as well. I experienced it myself. I was told at age 20 that I had almost no fluid in my lower couple of discs, and that there really wasn't anything that could be done. I had 12 years of near-constant lower back pain, including frequent spasms, and tried lots of things. Then all of a sudden, while reading the books I mentioned, changing my beliefs and self talk about the pain, it disappeared.

The mind's power over the body is something that I feel is just now being looked at more closely. The placebo effect is one powerful example. Phantom limb is another. There are lots of others out there.
I have actually heard about this theory, however I never knew who the author was. I heard another theory that children who experience high trauma as children, something happens in their development and their nervous system doesn't develop correctly, thus developing pain in places that shouldn't be there.

I'm going to pick this book up and give it a good read. Thanks again for providing the explanation. Fascinating.
 

schazz

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Jul 12, 2013
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I heard another theory that children who experience high trauma as children, something happens in their development and their nervous system doesn't develop correctly, thus developing pain in places that shouldn't be there.
No problem! I've heard other explanations too, and it may be that there are different explanations for why it happens to different people. One major aspect of it for me, and I imagine most people who experience chronic pain, was the belief that I should be in pain, and the self-talk that resulted from that belief. Sarno talks about this.

In my case it started with a low back injury, persistent pain, and a couple years later an MRI showing no fluid in my lower discs. I remember the surgeon looking at the MRI and saying something to the effect of "wow your lower back looks like an old man's lower back!" And of course I believed him, because it was an MRI and he was an expert. All it did was serve to further justify and entrench the pain.

Once you've decided mentally and emotionally that you should be in pain, and you have evidence and an explanation for it, it's really hard to unseat.

The belief that the pain is justified leads to a lot of self-talk. For me it was things like:
-Taking ownership of the pain ie "my pain" instead of something neutral like "the pain"
-"If I'm like this now, how am I going to be in 10 or 15 years??? I'm going to be crippled in my 30s!"
-"I have a bad lower back"
-"I have strong muscles but weak joints and connective tissue"
-"If I do X, "I'll hurt myself"

I was saying these things for years without being really aware of it, or aware of how I was just further entrenching the pain.

A big part of what I did while reading the books was to become aware of the beliefs and self-talk I had, and change it all to be more empowering.
 

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