Deskbound: Review and Summary Notes


Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World by Kelly Starrett

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This is a Supple Leopard-type comprehensive reference for fixing injuries you get from sitting.

See also: Ready to Run

See also: Becoming a Supple Leopard

Thoughts on back pain

The following was in response to a friend of mine asking for advice about back pain:

  • Chronic back pain is a common occupational hazard for us fellow desk workers, it’s something I also experience and actively try to mitigate.

  • Because this is an issue you’ll need to deal with for the rest of your life (or at least, as long as you are a desk worker), it means you’ll need to adopt some kind of systematic way of actively mitigating chronic pain, just as a clean diet and regular exercise are habits you practice every day, and not just something you see the doctor for once a year.

  • A chiropractor can be a helpful resource to put you on the right track and help you diagnose specific issues, but just as your doctor can’t fix your diet, exercise, or sleep, you also shouldn’t rely on your chiropractor to “fix” your problems.

  • Personally, what I find helpful is educating myself on anatomy and training my proprioception so that I am not chronically positioning my body into bad positions all day at the desk. This is like learning about macronutrients, studying the glucose-insulin regulatory system, instead of just saying the non-actionable phrase “clean up your diet”. My self-education helps give me a gears-level model of how my body position works and an understanding of the causal relationships between what I do and how that affects my body.

  • Similarly in computer programming, when you debug things you don’t just copy/paste the error message into Google and hope for the best. You become a much more effective engineer if you can understand computer architecture, compilers, and database design; even if those things aren’t related to the specific bug you are troubleshooting, they give you a framework to help you solve problems from first principles.

  • While you could just hire a chiropractor to help you, the same as how you can just hire a programmer to build an app for you, the difference is that chronic back pain requires active mitigation every single day for the rest of your life, so the more you can do this mitigation yourself, the more effective you will be, instead of outsourcing it to a third-party you only see once a week.

  • How to self-educate? Some books I found helpful are Deskbound, Ready to Run, and Becoming a Supple Leopard.

  • Beyond just books, if you want to learn via practice you can see a chiropractor, a physical therapist, or join a gym/workout program focusing on functional movements such as Starting Strength, CrossFit, or any functional strength based workout program.

See also: I tried 21 diet and exercise programs. None of them worked. Except for one.

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