Pain Brain

I’ve had a terrible time concentrating on writing this past week. In fact, this is the first thing I’ve written in days because I feel I have to. I’ve done no editing, outlining, or even writing about why I haven’t been writing. It’s not that I don’t know what to do next. I have a plan, I just haven’t started doing it yet. So what’s holding me back? Well, I’ve been in pain all bloody week, so it’s probably that.

Last week I got a new computer chair, because my old one is so big I can’t sit properly in it. It’s been killing my back and shoulders for years. The new computer chair actually supports my lower back and forces me to sit upright. I’ve been watching my posture all week. I’ve been stretching and exercising every single day, no flaking out on that. So what’s the problem? I’m not used to sitting properly! It hurts. I ache so much, so constantly right now, that I can hardly think.

And it’s been affecting everything. Today I hastily introduced my nose to a can of tuna by accidentally dropping it on my face. I’m not usually that clumsy. I’ve also been forgetting plans, letting my phone die, forgetting to phone, text, or email people. I’ve been a mess all week, and I finally realized it’s all because my neck and shoulders are killing me. I wake up with burning stiffness all the way from my clavicle to my acromion process – I almost typed “acrimonious” process because boy is it ever. Anyway, I have to stretch every morning just to breathe.

To top it off, I’ve been particularly stupid because my default activity when I feel like crap is to distract myself with computer games. So here I am self-medicating with regular dopamine hits from blingy crap on a screen, where I continually sit at the computer making my shoulder worse, because the stupid monkey in my head keeps saying, “Don’t worry about the pain, the answer is to keep clicking on these shiny pixels. That’ll make you feel better. Woo!”

So, that’s what I’m not up to. Ugh.

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Sarah Dimento

The only thing interesting about me is my interest in interesting things – and sometimes I make cool shit.

6 thoughts to “Pain Brain”

  1. Unsolicited advice: feel free to ignore.

    But it might help.

    Locate A pain. Do gentle isometrics: tighten, hold six seconds, release; repeat 10 times; this is ONE set. The trick is to find the way to tighten for that particular pain that makes it less painful.

    Start with one set a day, work up to three over several days. Do not overtighten, do not damage somewhere else.

    I think it does two things: strengthens the little muscles in the area that are getting too much work because you’ve changed something. And pumps out the fluid in the muscles with the pain-causing metabolites.

    Find the next painful area. Repeat process. Works for me: sciatica, biceps, right knee, left SI joint, wrist, left thumb, tendonitis in elbows…

    If you add that to the painkillers and the hot and cold compresses, and some gentle yoga stretches, it may get your pain under better control, and then help you get rid of it faster. No cost, no prescription, no additional drugs, no doctor visit, available at 3am…

    I use it in some version every day.

    Can also be used prophylactically to keeps things in good shape after the pain recedes, if the method works for you.


    Ignore if not useful.

    1. I’ll try that. Thank you! I’ve been exercising every morning. If I can only handle stretching, I do that. I’ve gotten a couple theraputic massages from friends. I’ve doped up on Advil, and I’ll throw the isometrics into the mix.

      The main thing I have to do is remember to take breaks, every 25 minutes, or 45 at the most. I need to start setting an alarm every time I sit down to work on something, because before I know it three hours have passed and I’ve been killing my shoulders the whole while. Getting into a flow state is nice, but not at the cost of being able to move my arms for the rest of the day.

      1. I think some of it is because strengthening the small muscles stabilizes the joints – and keeps the bursa from getting irritated and inflamed, too.

        I hear you about flow – desirable, but get up and move periodically.

        1. I gave myself a bit of a break from the computer chair yesterday and woke up in far less pain this morning. Those isometric exercises along with my regular stretching and workout took care of the remaining stiffness, for now at least.

          Now I just need to set that sitting alarm today so I don’t wreck myself all over again.

          1. It gets better – because when you do these things, you become conscious that they need doing.

            Just don’t forget to do the whole set of whatever works periodically, prophylactically.

            If you forget, the body will remind you, first by a twinge, and then by going more and more back toward the original pain. Ooops. I have finally learned that if I get the little annoying bit the sciatica starts up with, I need to stop and do the exercises NOW. Maintenance requires fewer reps, too – I can get by with a quick set – but not if I let the muscles get deconditioned again. I thought I was helpless to keep that from happening; I’m not – I’m lazy, like all humans.

            There’s only so much time in a day – our bodies have to compete with our minds for attention. But if we work it right, we can minimize the pain and the time it takes to control it.

            1. Exactly. Starting this month, I’ve made exercise a daily routine instead of every other day, because if I don’t do it every day it quickly degrades to “whenever” and from there gradually to never.

              Letting my writing slack due to the pain degraded that habit fast. It seems I have to commit to do something exercise and writing-wise daily to prevent my health, body and mind, from falling apart. Even if I only do five minutes, at least that’s something to keep the momentum going.

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