Writing can be a pain in the butt

Literally! And if a writer doesn’t stretch and move and shake those lower back muscles, boy, can they scream at you – just as my sciatic nerve has been screeching at me all week.

“Do you have to write?” asked my physio.

Well, it is my income, my passion and my day job, spasmodically paid as it is, so yeah, I sort-of do need to write.

“Then you and your writing and your butt are going to have to learn to work (and NOT work so often) together.”

Now, after ignoring my manuscript, my blog, Facebook and as many other activities that require sitting as I can, enabling me to catch up on heaps of other things, I’m past the agony stage and into aggravating discomfort. I must be getting better. Seems like a good time to address the issue of back care for writers and other desk jockeys and sedentary types.

According to my physiotherapist, when we sit for long periods, everything contracts and compresses, and then presses onto nerves and muscles that don’t like it much and the only way they can tell us they hurt is to make us hurt worse.

So the tricks:

  • Get up regularly and move around – stretch, bend and arch that back in a reverse position (walking stiffly to the kettle or the loo does not count)
  • Walk regularly outside of the house – in the fresh air – go up hills and down dales and stretch all sorts of different muscles
  • Ensure your desk chair is ergonomic and correctly positioned for your height, build and good posture.

My physio has me doing a few gentle exercises to stretch out my muscles and extend my lower back that seem to be really helping. He’s a muscle maestro and my back’s new bf.

Next step – Pilates class.

In keeping with doctor’s orders that’s it for this short post – most of which was written standing up. Except to say, if you have any tips or advice for back care or good writerly ergonomics, I’d love you to leave them in the comments.

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kathleennoud" alt="kathleennoud">


I love pilates, so I highly recommend weekly classes. Twice a week if you can.

As soon as I have a week without pilates I start getting headaches again from the day job and writing after work.

April 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm
    christinemareebell" alt="christinemareebell">


    Hi Kathleen,
    I hear all good things about Pilates. Time for me to stop threatening and DO something about it. I’ve just booked in for my introductory class.
    Thanks for letting me know it’s working for you. Keep it up.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm
Alison Reynolds" alt="Alison Reynolds">

Alison Reynolds

I love acupuncture, which sounds weird, but it works for me.
Hope the back is much better now Chris!

April 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm
christinemareebell" alt="christinemareebell">


Hi Alison
My one experience of acupuncture was quite painful, but I’m very glad it works for you. Many thanks for your good wishes. Back is on the improve.

April 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm

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