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How Writers can Manage Lower Back Pain

Every coffee shop has one: the guy standing at the bar with his laptop. He’s parked his stool right next to the neighboring one ensuring neither seat can be used. The baristas try to wash their dishes without staring at him, but how can they not when he’s leering at eye level? Anyone stuck sitting on one side of him mistakes him for someone approaching with a question, because he’s looming over them like a boss with new instructions. Every so often he pushes away from the bar to grab his foot and stretch his hamstring. He’s that guy.

If he could he’d put his heel right up on the bar, grip the neighboring chairs, and do squats. It’s not his fault you don’t respect his extreme posture culture.

If there’s no room at the bar he just moseys over to a two seater and puts a chair right on the table. This makeshift MacGuyver isn’t too proud to make himself at home. He’s in the middle of a screenwriting sprint, he’s composing his master’s thesis, and marathon coding for 8 hours straight.

I’ve scoffed at this guy, with his ergonomic keyboard, his arthritis glove, and magic wristband that tells him when to move around. What a spinally mindful millennial. What a abdominal oblique elite. What a nerve savvy yuppie.

I am currently typing this from a slapdash desk made from an ironing board, a stack of books, and my laptop. I’m doing this because that standing room dick was right.

My back has gone out in a way where changing the cat litter involves tapping the scooper to a broom handle, in a way where I’m seriously considering the logistics of sleeping standing, in a way where things at the bottom of the refrigerator are lost to me.

Last night limping through the grocery store to pick up some Bayer was a Herculean challenge. Today I crawled out of bed, literally.

I’d like to say this condition came from a feat of strength gone wrong like pushing two separate cars out of the snow, helping someone carry their prize anvil collection into a fifth floor apartment, or bench pressing a picnic table filled with attractive people, but I’m pretty sure bad posture is my major trigger. Sure I’ve had a few spills this winter and I’ve lifted a few weights without taking the time to stretch, but of all the things attacking my lower back I think my couch was the biggest culprit.

You know you’re a writer when chronic lower back pain is a hazard of your line of work.

I’m in such chronic pain that I didn’t believe I could deliver a blog entry this week. When your nerves keep sending you the same pain signal it’s hard to get inspiration to flow. Then I thought: what if I wrote a quick blurb on lower back pain? I’ve spent the last few days learning how to manage it and how to prevent it in the future, and since we writers spend so much time hunched over in 45 degree angels, it’s something we should talk about.  Continue reading How Writers can Manage Lower Back Pain