Friday, November 29, 2013

Free drugs!

Haha, no. Just advice. Sorry.

This is a note I just sent round to all my colleagues that I thought would be of benefit to the general public.

But first, I would like to tell the general reading public that the MRI scan showed no sign of cancer. C-free.

I still have to take it to the other doc and she will sit me down and tell me what's wrong with my nodes, but I'm going to bet that lack of exercise and too much sitting is a big part of it. Your lymph system doesn't have a heart to pump the stuff around, but uses your muscle movements. Well, the inguinal lymph nodes, the ones in your hippal region, respond well to lots of walking and moving, so it stands to reason that a lot of sitting and not moving is going to make them clog up. Especially after having a bunch of them removed from that area followed by a lot of down-sitting. So. There. That's good.

Here's the advice I got from the doc today who fixed my back.

Remember my sore back at the meeting in August? Well, it has been a chronic thing, happening with greater severity more times a year in the last few years and I've been getting treated for it with acupuncture. Today I hobbled back to the doc and he gave me a little lecture (in the nicest possible way) saying that it's the result of the way I work and it will only get worse if I don't fix that.

He asked, Do you work at a laptop on a desk or table? Yep. How long do you spend at the computer every day? About 6-10 hours. How long have you been doing it? About ten years. He said, yep, you're right on schedule. He told me that the laptop is the one invention that is destroying health more than any other thing except smoking.

He said that if I didn't change the way I work, I would eventually get to the point where the injury is permanent, and had to be treated with drugs and I'd be in pain all the time.

He told me what to do, and I thought I'd pass on the advice before LifeSite staff all turn in to hunchbacks. Cranky hunchbacks.

Ideally, standing to work is better than sitting. But if sitting, it should be either in one of those insanely expensive ergonomic chairs or on a stool that has no back rest which will force you to sit up with your spine straight.

Next, set up a work station where your computer screen is up at your eye level:

Sit facing forward with your bum on the edge of the seat and your back straight, feet flat on the floor. Lift your computer up on a box or a shelf so you are looking at your screen straight ahead without tilting your neck down. Even lift it up a little higher so your chin is tilting slightly upwards. This will force your whole posture to stop curling forward. Get a plug-in USB keyboard and mouse and work with them lower down so your elbows aren't bent more than 90 degrees. Ideally, get something to lift the back edge of the keyboard so it's not flat, like a book stand.

Also, he said to set a timer for 20 minutes and work in intervals and when the timer goes off, to get up and exercise. Touch your toes, then stand with your feet shoulder width apart and twist slowly to the right then back to the front then to the left, twice, then a lateral stretch with your right arm in a curve over your head then the other way. Do all these slowly, and only to the point where it starts to hurt a wee bit. No further. Stretching the hamstrings is also important, as is getting better muscle tone in your front, so curls and crunches and leg lifts. He said to do all this just a few repetitions at a time, several times a day.

Right now, I'm sitting at the table in a dining chair, and spending several hours a day curled up with my back and pelvis tilted to form a C shape and my legs curled up under me. He told me that this posture is going to wreck my back and if I kept it up, it would get to the point where it is impossible to fix and would be facing an uncomfortable old age of chronic pain.

The internet is mezmerising, literally. It's like a form of hypnosis, and I've been reading a lot of the studies of the various physical and other damage people do who use it a lot. I think all LSN employees qualify as people who use the internet "a lot". Everything I've read says that if you have to use the internet a great deal for work, a way to do it without ruining your brain is to do it in short intervals.

Setting a timer for 20 or 30 minutes and walking away from it for five, apparently does much to help the problem that everyone has of attention span and compulsive surfing. You know, I'm sure, what I mean; that thing where you get to the point where you can't read a whole article without flicking back and forth between tabs and YT videos and email. Far from slowing you down, it is being shown to improve productivity and concentration.

So, there you go. A bit of medical advice for free.

Here's the thing I subscribe to on YT with some of the back-strengthening exercises that Francesco the Friendly Pilates Guy recommended.



Santiago said...


Anonymous said...

Very glad to hear the MRI results.


BillyHW said...

Glad for the good news.