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Chronic pain: Can it be avoided?

In a lot of cases, yes. There are caveats of course.  Chronic pain associated with systemic illnesses such as cancer, arthritis and MS, needs to be managed as such pain can rarely be avoided.  Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for 3-6 months or more.

Systemic illness aside, most chronic pain results from people not taking preventative or early action, which consolidates the neural pathways leading to pain.  In their defence, I have to add, that unless one knows the cause of pain, one isn’t in a position to change it.

In this blog, I will focus on three areas which can help keep chronic pain at bay for

‘Computer Athletes’, these are  people who extensively use computers on a daily basis.

Here are a few tips on how to avoid chronic pain:

Tip 1: Find the cause of chronic pain

With a little vigilance the cause of chronic pain could become obvious. For instance, ‘Computer Athletes’  spend extended periods of time in front of a computer, deeply engrossed in their work, totally committed to meeting their sometimes impossible deadlines.

They take no breaks, don’t drink enough water and definitely don’t do any stretches.  Additionally, very few have had a DSE (Display Screen Equipment) assessment to enable an ergonomically correct set up of their workstations. [See workstation protocol and correct sitting position for further details]. Some people work a few days from home and some workers, who run their businesses from home, tend to work at the kitchen table, breakfast bar or with their laptops (see laptop solution HERE) on the coffee table.

So if such a Computer Athlete is suffering from headaches, neck and shoulder pain, or back pain, an area to examine might be their computer/gadget use.

Incorrect Posture equals Chronic pain
Incorrect sitting posture when at the computer

 

Step 2: Corrective measures to keep chronic pain at bay

Once you have successfully identified that it is your incorrect posture that is  the cause of your chronic pain, here are some corrective measures you can put in place to help you stay pain free.

  • Ask for a DSE Assessment to ensure the computer has been set up to suit you rather than the other way around; your company has a legal obligation to provide this, even if you work from home some of the time. If you run your own business from home, it is an imperative that you have a DSE Assessment: taking time off for Stress or pain can seriously affect the viability of your company
  • Take regular breaks (every 30-40mins is best)
  • Stretch while on a break – here are some simple stretches you might like to use
  • Lunchtime walks – important to get your limbs working and get some fresh air into your lungs
  • Try some Mindfulness meditation if and when the stresses build up
  • Drink enough water – as a rule of thumb, one needs to drink 1litre of water for every 50lbs of body weight. Every biochemical reaction in your body uses water as a medium so if you are dehydrated your body is challenged, leading to both pain and systemic illnesses

Step 3: Maintaining a pain free existence

Once the cause has been identified and corrective measures put in place one will be pain free …for a while.  With the best will in the world, one cannot stop oneself from ‘reoffending’ i.e. getting the aches and pains again.  This is just life – the pressures and stresses force us to get back to our default operating mode, which might mean the return of the old aches and pains.

Staying ever vigilant is essential, but in addition, everyone, regardless of what their profession or vocation is, needs a ‘Bodywork session’ to release and realign the body.

Massage is excellent for removing tightness and tension; improving blood circulation, and invigorating the whole Self.  So a monthly massage from a trusted therapist is worth the investment.  It might be tempting to go for the cheapest massage in town, but usually, you get what you pay for. An experienced therapist will be able to release a lot more than someone who simply follows a set protocol.  Try a few different therapists and find one that suits both your temperament and your body.

Conclusion

In the current era of technology, Chronic pain such as headache, neck and shoulder pain, and back pain is often associated with the way we use our our gadgets and/or the time we spend on them. It is crucially important to examine our workstation to ensure that it is set up ergonomically to suit us. Even once the workstation is set up correctly, it is still very easy to go back to your old ways of working. Therefore it is important to consider regular sessions to help prevent the build-up of muscular tension, which in turn might result in the return of chronic pain.

 

For more information on the FiXme approach, see the FiXme Way page.

If you liked this article I would be very grateful if you could share it far and wide!

For any questions about this blog post and the methods I use to help you manage pain and stress, please do get in touch.

Until next time…stay healthy…

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