By KRS Edstrom
I’m in a high-pressure job that requires my sitting at a computer most of the day. I think I handle the stress pretty well but because of all the sitting my neck and shoulders ache, especially in the afternoons. Aspirin helps but I don’t want to take it every day. Any suggestions?
Dear Computer Pains,
You may not be handling the pressure as well as you think. Unfortunately, your body is paying the price by absorbing the overload. When the body is stationary for a long period of time, muscles tend to tighten and when you add stress, they tighten even more. Prolonged muscle contraction can limit circulation and even “pull” vertebrae out of alignment, exacerbating the headache, backache and exhaustion cycle.
The solution? Movement (for circulation) and stretching (to lengthen muscles before trouble has time to “set”). Don’t sit for more than 20-30 minutes without moving, if only to stand up, do a few shoulder rolls and sit down again. Establish built-in breaks, so it is part of your routine: get a glass of water, go to the restroom or how about walking or jogging the stairs to the next floor and down again (it only takes a minute or two).
The point is to keep circulation moving and keep the muscles somewhat warm and flexible. Also change the height of your chair and alternate using the mouse with right and left hands. This will offset the repetitive cycle that causes pain.
A wonderful de-stressing, posture-enhancing stretch for you: (standing or
sitting) clasp your hands palm to palm behind your back at hip level, keeping
your elbows straight. Then raise them up as your chest and shoulders open.
Hold for as long as it feels good. You might hear a little “crack” or two as
the vertebrae realign themselves. Another desk stretch: Sitting straight,
simply drop your head down, chin to chest. Breathe and let the muscles in your
neck and shoulders release. Stay in the stretch 10-30 seconds and don’t try to
I love your column and am so pleased to have discovered you. I am a health professional and have finally realized how little I actually know. I have taken myself in hand and started a good exercise and eating program. I am perimenopausal and have trouble with PMS and taking chemically-produced progesterone. I looked around the net and after reading lots of information, I have started taking vitamins, as well as using a progesterone (natural) trans-dermal cream. I’m feeling great and doing really well.
I am taking a calcium, magnesium, boron combination pill, a good
multi-vitamin, CoQ10 and have just recently added Black Cohort. I keep reading
about Primrose Oil and or Vitamin E. Is there a point of too much or where the
combination doesn’t make sense anymore? Thank you for some wonderful advice. I
shall be reading your column regularly.
Taking Control of Hormones
Dear Taking Control,
Congratulations on seeking alternative ways for dealing with changing hormones. If you are feeling great, I would stop experimenting (adding more supplements). More is not always better. Alternative medicines are powerful and, used inappropriately can cause uncomfortable side effects. You can add some soy products if you haven’t already — tofu, soybeans, etc. We learn new things as life hands them to us. I’d say you’re doing a great job taking control of your changing life. Good work.
What can you tell me about DHEA?
Dear DHEA Curious,
It’s good to be curious but also good to be cautious in regards to what you put into your body.
For some reason DHEA has received a surge of good press lately (the press is always looking to latch onto the latest miracle product to get people to read/listen to their release). Everybody wants to know about DHEA and I’m not surprised — it seems to promise everything, just short of doing your laundry for you.
I hesitate listing the promises for fear of getting even more people chasing
after yet another “quick fix” — for weight reduction, boosting the immune
system, aging, osteoporosis, stress, and so on. This hormone, according to
reliable manufacturers themselves, should not be taken by consumers before
having their DHEA levels tested (blood and/or saliva test). If levels are
normal, there is no benefit to taking it but there could be risks.
I jog everyday, lift weights and watch what I eat. I am in good condition but seem to be gaining weight instead of losing. However, I’ve notice my clothes fit better and everyone says I look smaller. What’s going on?
Gaining Instead of Losing
I’m so glad you wrote, as your letter represents so many people who are similarly discouraged. The almighty scale doesn’t reflect everything that is going on with your body. What has happened is that you have put on some muscle which weighs more than fat. Your body is getting smaller (and healthier) but don’t panic if you see the scale go up a bit in the beginning. It shows that the mirror and the fit of our clothes can sometimes be a better scale than the scale. Don’t worry about it and keep up the good work.
KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for
private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation,
motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her
books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free
soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and
Meditation Corner” at
www.AskKRS.com For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail: KRS@AskKRS.com
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