I’m a perfect example of how working from home can greatly affect your health if you are not careful. For the last few years I’ve been working from home and attending college online. I finally graduated with my MBA in June 2013 after attending school for 5 years. During that time I also completed my BA, taking a mere 6 weeks off before starting my MBA. I’ve been tied to the desk and my home office for hours and hours reading, researching, and writing. Once school was done I would write more for client work.
It looks good on the surface. But the damage to my body is something that should be addressed.
I suffer from degenerative disc disease, which I was diagnosed around 2006. A few years ago I found out I have osteoarthritis in my hips. The DDD caused severe sciatica pain and to overcome that pain while sitting for long periods of time I started to lean and shift. During this time I damaged my left clavicle and I am convinced that never healed correctly. I tried ergonomic chairs and all the tools of the trade for my desk but it did not seem to help. All of these battles eventually caused my body to shift.
It’s easy to hide in clothing. When I am standing people don’t seem to notice too much. But I know it’s there and I know the pain I feel when I do walk. A few years ago I wrote a post about it when I really started to notice it. There are pictures, so fair warning. (I’m in the process of merging my old health site with this one, so pardon the dust.)
My right shoulder has dropped 4 inches (at last measure) most likely because of the way I started to shift and sit in order to keep the sciatica pain at pay. My right leg was already shorter to begin with because of the DDD that had developed and even worse as the osteoarthritis set in.
While visiting my favorite work from home forum, Work Place Like Home, I came across a post for “If Your Work or Home Life Involves Sitting, You Really Should Watch A 3-Minute Clip About… Well, Sitting!” from Upworthy. The short video is about the basics of good posture and the dangers of sitting.
This was really an eye opener for me. Over the years I tried so many different things. Sitting on an exercise ball. Setting up an alarm system to take breaks and do little desk and office exercises. A $300 ergonomic chair with special lumbar support.
For whatever reason (mostly the deadline for a research paper) would cause me to turn off the alerts and get rid of the ball.
Now my body has formed this C shape because of the shoulder drop and slouch. I tried using a back brace but I think maybe I need to be fitted professionally because after a while it no longer seemed to fit right.
My doctor and chiropractor have basically told me to lose weight and strengthen my core. I guess the crookedness will just work itself out. Right?
I’m going to be 39 this year and I’ve become extremely depressed about how my body looks and wondering if my work at home lifestyle contributed to some of it. I’ve been battling it unsuccessfully for a few years now. I’m hoping that by opening up to the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle when battling PCOS, DDD, and osteoarthritis I will find others with the same battle or at the very least, help someone along the way.
So follow me as embark on my journey to clean up my work from home lifestyle and be “best by 40.”