4 Steps To Improve Nagging Pains – Step 2

In the introduction to this series I introduced you to my most recent nagging pains and the four-step approach I have taken to improve upon these pains.

In Step 1 I provided you with detail about how I located the possible causes of my pain.

Today we are going to discuss exactly how I went about reducing the possible causes of the pain.

Step 2: Reduce the possible causes of the pain

This is a very important step and one that many spondylolisthesis patients ignore.

Most people just want to take a pain killer and keep on going with their normal daily habits. But to really improve how you move and ultimately feel, you have to take a look at your habits and attack the root of the possible cause.

As I discovered after my massage, two of my suspected culprits were working on a laptop computer and holding a child on the same side for long amounts of time day after day.

So my plan was simple:

First, I was going to take a long hard look at my computer typing and deskwork habits and second I was going to do my best to reduce how much I hold my child in the same position.

Attacking my computer posture 

I believed the computer work was the real root of the cause and holding my son was more of a minor problem, plus it was going to be an easy fix (especially since he was getting older). So I wanted to really attack my computer habits and here is what I have been doing:

1. I alternated standing and working on my computer with sitting and working.

When sitting, I tried to spend no more than 15-30 minutes or so sitting at a time. I used a simple online timer to monitor the amount of time sitting.

When I altered to standing I simply used my computer desk (shown below). My computer desk has a nice area on top that I use for a standing desk.

When standing it forces me into a better posture. Reduces the amount of sitting time and drastically changes my eye level so I don’t have to look down and hunch forward.

Another added benefit is that the posture of standing makes it easier for a proper breathing pattern. Being hunched over at a computer desk sometimes leads to breathing through the chest and shoulders opposed to the stomach, which in turn can lead to tightness in the upper thoracic area.

There are several companies that make standing desks, but I honestly did not feel like spending a ton of money, so I just made it work with my current set up. If you are in need of a new desk or work station you may want to research standing desks or treys that are adjustable and allow for standing.

2. I changed the height of my computer in combination with sitting on a stability ball for improved posture.

When I do sit, I aimed to improve my posture so I spent less time with a hunched over frame.

spondylolisthesis desk sitting

A very common sitting posture for those who spend time behind desks. Notice my rounded shoulders and slouched positioning.

This hunched over frame can lead to shortened and tight chest muscles, lengthened and weak upper back muscles and lots of hip tightness and core weakness over time – in addition to the restricted breathing pattern I mentioned earlier.

spondylolisthesis stability ball desk chair

The stability ball forces me into a much better posture. I have since updated to a larger ball so my elbows are almost parallel to the desk.

Sitting on stability ball forces me in a more upright position and puts me at a better height to type at. Instead of looking down and rounding over, I am more upright and at eye level with my computer. In addition to the ball I also make sure I bring the computer closer to my body so I do not end of reaching forward with my head in an attempt to see the screen better.

3. I take breaks when typing blog posts or working for longer time frames to focus on a stretch or two.

This is something that I have always done as I have written about in the past, but I made sure to continue following my routine.

Not holding my child in the same position

For those that have had children I am sure you can relate to that comfortable position you always go to when holding your child.

Over time holding weight in the same position can lead to asymmetries and muscular differences and this has probably played a role with my current discomforts.

Holding a child in the same position could lead to muscular asymmetries over time.

To improve upon this I simply aimed to reduced the amount of time holding my child in the same position.

When I do hold him I aim to do so on the opposite side (hard to do!).

This is naturally improving because as my son ages he needs less and less holding.

But there are always accidents or moments that he needs held and comforted. If I know that the amount of time will exceed a few minutes (carrying him through a store for example) I try hard to carry him on my opposite side.

When I do this I really realize how hard this is to do!

It feels so abnormal and really goes to show how used you get to holding kids on a dominate side. The muscles adjust to this over time and this can lead to asymmetries if you are not aware.

So there you have it. It sounds simple and in reality it is.

The key is to take the time to think about what you are doing on a daily basis. And then examine how it is possibly affecting your body and how you feel.

Then come up with a few ways to reduce possible triggers or causes of this discomfort. This in combination with the step in our next blog post makes for a great 1-2 punch to improve upon those nagging pains!

I encourage you to think about some small things you can do to improve upon your discomforts. Let me know about them below in the comment box.

Stay tuned for Step 3. I will share with you the exact stretches and movements I have been doing to improve upon my pain.


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Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. Suzy
    1 week ago

    Hi Justin,

    I find my back hurts more, almost like it’s locked up, when I stand still for more than 5-10 minutes. I’ll try to bend one knee to help, but do you have other suggestions? And I think I really need to look into sitting on an exercise ball. The only problem is I gave a 9 year old son.

    Have you tried one of the side carriers to carry your child? I found that really helped, not just because it made it easier for me to do things, but because the weight was on my hips instead of my back.

    Quick question. Have you tried barefoot or minimalist running? I’ve been able to go back to running for the first time in 10 years. My only issue is that I can’t do any of the twisting stretches. Do you have any suggestions on what I could do for a warm up and cool down?


    • SpondyInfo
      3 days ago

      Hi Suzy,

      Sorry for the delay in my response. We have been very busy behind the scenes as we continue to work on improving the website for our readers. I have not tried a side carrier yet, but I will look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!

      I have not tried minimalist running yet, although it is very interesting. I go barefoot when I can-especially around my house. One suggestion if you are entertaining the idea of switching to barefoot running is to make the transition slowly so you body can adapt properly. Although it sounds very easy, there are big changes that take place when going from shoes to no shoes on longer runs. As far as stretches go make sure to check out the foam rolling and various free stretches we have on the site. You can find them here: https://spondyinfo.com/category/spondy-exercises-stretches/

      Also, you can take a look at our home exercise program which is full of spondy specific exercises and stretches.https://spondyinfo.com/spondylolisthesis-home-exercise-program/

      Hope this helps!

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