Dara Duff-Bergeron: Sweaty Mummy


Do You Have BlackBerry Back?

How Not to Look Like an Ape & Ruin Your Marriage.

A couple of weeks ago, Sweaty Hubby started having some upper back and neck pain. Turns out he has a nerve impingement in his neck, meaning his nerve has unhealthy pressure on a nerve, which is causing pain and numbness in his neck, back and arm. Yikes!

My first reaction: you don't exercise enough, dude. But no man wants to hear that from his wife while he's dealing with a humbling injury. Especially when said wife is a fitness professional and could maybe bench press him.

Maybe. If I ever try it I'll let you know.

Good thing I didn't make a fuss about his lack of fitness because just a week or so ago, MY upper back and neck started to get sore as well! For me there are various potential causes—past injury, driving, nursing for 5 years straight, repetitive strain from teaching and demonstrating certain exercises over. and over. and over. and over again, 6 days out of every 7. While my pain hasn't become a full-fledged injury, we are both suffering at the same time, in the same area of the body. Weird.

Why both of us?

Maybe it was our pillows, we thought. We hadn't replaced them in a couple of years. We're both side sleepers so we need big, fluffy pillows to support our heads and necks.

Maybe it was watching TV in bed, lying down with our heads propped up at strange angles on our pillows. This could not just end our marriage but be a contributor to our tight, sore backs.

Maybe it was working on laptops, where the computer surface and screen are often both smaller and lower, causing us to hunch slightly down and forward. Plus, part of the joy of a laptop is you can use it on the couch, in bed, at the kitchen table, and various other spots where you are most definitely NOT ergonomically positioned to avoid injury and strain.

BUT maybe, just maybe, it was our iPhones! Do you have a Blackberry or iPhone? When you got it, how much did your phone time go up? Did you spend hours hunched over it, like we do, typing, texting, facebooking, reading, posting and surfing? Um, Angry Birds, anyone?

  • Have you ever looked up from your iPhone, blurry-eyed and a bit dazed?
  • Have you ever rolled your shoulders back to alleviate that burning sensation after fiddling around (ok, ok, "working"...) on your BlackBerry for a while?
  • Have you ever sat in the same room as your spouse, each on your iPhones, politely ignoring each other while you socialize with other people, in other houses, who are also politely ignoring their spouses?

If you answered 'YES" to any of the above, I'd be willing to bet you spend too much time on your smart phone. Just like us. Maybe texting while driving is not the only health hazard to come from these magical little devices.

Take a break. Stand up. Walk around.

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but watch some TV. Staring at a larger screen, several feet away from you, will be easier on your back and shoulders than looking down at a tiny box for hours on end.

When you can, answer emails and do social networking sitting at your desk, on a proper chair and with your computer at a comfortable height, where your shoulders are low and relaxed and your gaze falls straight ahead. Prop up your laptop if needed.

This is one time I'll say, Don't be like me. Stop BlackBerry Back before it starts.