Healthy Writer Wednesday: Is Your Writing A Pain In The Butt?


image, public domain, Wikimedia Commons

Today was one of those great writing days. I did some research, discovered a few more history bits I want to try to incorporate in my story, and sketched out several scenes. Tonight I get to go to my local writers’ group. The writing universe aligned. I’d be in writer heaven if every day went like that. I’d get so wrapped up in writing I would stay at my desk, butt in chair, sipping tea and writing. There’s a dark side to this universe, however. It’s a pain in my *ss. Literally. Too much sitting and the dark lord of nerve pinches shows up wielding the Sword of Piriformis. Sword of Piriformis? Sounds like a cheesy fantasy movie on the Syfy Channel.

In reality the piriformis muscle is a small muscle that runs from the tailbone to the outer hip. If this muscle becomes tight, shortens or cramps, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Pain increases when the muscle contracts or when sitting for extended periods of time, otherwise known as a pain in your keester. Sitting is an occupational hazard for most writers. We sit a lot. Unless you write like this:

What can you do to avoid piriformis syndrome?

  • Check with your doctor first if pain persists
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain good posture when standing and sitting
  • Lift objects using your leg muscles, not putting pressure on your back
  • Take breaks if you sit for a long time – set a timer if you have to and go for a stroll around the home, office or yard
  • Get a massage if it fits in your time and budget
  • Gentle stretching of the muscle can keep it from tightening. Here’s a simple stretch to do:

Take a butt break and avoid the sword.

Question: Do you get so involved in writing you forget to do things like move or eat? Any tips on how to keep flexible without cutting in on your writing time?

6 thoughts on “Healthy Writer Wednesday: Is Your Writing A Pain In The Butt?

  1. I’m one of those people who forgets to get up and stretch or walk around. I bought a hard foam roller from the fitness section at Target. I first heard about it in the book Core Performance for Women. You lay on the floor and roll your lower back and butt slowly over the roller several times. The roller is great for loosening up other muscles as well. Great for a quick fix.Thanks for this post now I have some other techniques.

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  2. I’m terrible about remembering to get up and move. Before I realize it, 3 hours have past and I get up stiff and bent over. I’ve thought about an alarm or timer, but it would make me nervous about getting “enough” done beofre the bell rings! I’ll have to write a big sign to hang over my laptop that reads, ‘GET UP!’ That’ll do it. 😉

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  3. I set the kitchen time for an hour at a time and then I get up and do something like unload the dishwasher or fold laundry. I depend on that annoying little buzz a lot. If I sat through four hours of writing without getting up, I’d be a stiff aching mess and my house would be a wreck.
    Thanks for the anatomy lesson. I thought I was just getting old!

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  4. Yeah, I’m good at sitting down and not moving for a couple hours. Actually, my weakness is I lean on one arm or elbow while scrolling. That’s shifted a couple ribs more than once. I have made an effort to sit straight and to roll my neck every so often. I should get up and walk around more though. It’s just, I’m so absorbed. 😛

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