I need a rubber neck!

Writers, how is your neck health? Read on about my experiences, this may help!

Wouldn’t it be great to have a rubber spine? I often think that. With so many hours spent at my computer, I often have to attend to my neck muscles even though I am careful how I sit and I do pay attention to my posture. I’m sure it’s a common problem for writers.

My neck issues first started in my early teens. One day, at school, I found I couldn’t move my head from left to right, I was stuck looking to the left. I didn’t know why it was stuck but when I got home, my mum said “oh, you’ve got a crick in your neck.” She got out a heat lamp and I had to sit in front of it for 20 minutes at a time until my neck began to ease.

For many years after that I visited osteopaths and physios approximately once a year. Their treatment worked for several months at a time before I would start to experience neck problems again. I didn’t stick with the same osteopaths, I would switch according to where I lived. Someone recommended a sports physio and he tried acupuncture which was good. But then when my problems continued he suggested traction. Now, my mother had had traction over the years for her far more serious spinal problems and she swore by it so I didn’t hesitate to agree with him. After the first session I didn’t notice any difference and the pain continued. He did another session and the pain got worse. I told him and he gave a funny little grin and said I would need more sessions. I went along with it for a little while but as things got worse instead of better I headed to my GP who blew his top. He told me to squeeze his fingers so I did and he said “no, I said squeeze my fingers.” I tried but I had no strength. He sent me off with a flea in my ear to have an MRI . “Don’t you ever go to that physio again,” he said, “he didn’t give you so much as an x-ray to find out what the problem was!” My GP was furious.

The MRI showed a narrowing between vertebrae but thankfully nothing too serious. For a few years I was given really good NHS treatment but there came a point where all they could offer were exercises which were fine. They did help but I felt I needed more guidance so I decided to try yoga. I didn’t like going to classes so I did a search on YouTube and found a lady by the name of Adriene. I’ve never looked back, I really wish she had been around all those years ago when I was struggling. Thanks to Adriene I manage my neck issues perfectly. It has taken commitment and practise but since I found her, I’ve never needed to see a physio again.

So if you are a writer (or someone who spends a lot of time on a computer) and suffer with neck/shoulder issues, I can totally recommend Adriene. Just search for her on YouTube and you will find she focuses on specific parts of the body as well as doing more general workouts. I’m not on a commission for directing you to her, all I’m letting you know is that it worked for me. If you are worried about a spinal problem, it’s always best to check with your doctor first, please do that.

It’s always nice to be comfortable when you are writing!

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Author: Petra Kidd

Norfolk UK is my home, I live in Norwich by the River Wensum where everyday there is something different to see and learn. I feel a big affinity with the river as I grew up in Cambridge, another great river city. My childhood and teens involved many walks along the Cam where we would watch 'The Bumps,' raft races and as we grew older we enjoyed adventures on our punting pub crawls. Growing up in a multi cultural university city definitely influenced my reading choices, I am a big fan of Japanese fiction, love French literature and enjoy Shakespeare. As a young teen I entertained myself with Jilly Cooper and Dick Francis and then became quite obsessed with Henri Charriere's Papillon. At school all I cared about was English, Art and French, in that exact order. When I finished with school I went to live and work in Greece for a wonderful year before returning to study English Literature and Sociology. At this point I read more classics like the Wyf of Bath, Wuthering Heights and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man plus poets such as Wilfred Owen. My first UK full time job was with Heffer's Paperbacks where I devoured several books at a time, excited by the fact I could borrow what I liked. Bizarrely for me I remember reading The Zurich Axioms, I have no interest in the stock markets but it had me gripped. I can't remember why I picked it up but I have never forgotten it. Heffers introduced me to so many authors, via their books and sometimes in person. It was here I learned about all the genres, it fascinated me that science fiction and horror were so popular, I tried reading it all. Aside from writing letters, it didn't really ever occur to me to write anything myself for many years as I worked my way through a variety of interesting and varied jobs. Then on a visit to the London Aquarium I became struck by an idea so powerful I sat down and wrote my first novel. It went nowhere as really I wrote it because I wanted to. I wrote another novel and again, didn't have the persistance or determination to take it further, I simply enjoyed the process of writing and my characters. Then years later another idea struck me and during a severe bout of Pleurisy where I couldn't do anything physical for months, I wrote the Eight of Swords and The Putsi. This time I published them as ebooks and they became pretty popular. When I fully recovered, I had to concentrate on my business and looking after my mother who has various health issues and the writing went adrift again for many years until 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world. March 2020 I moved to my apartment alongside the Wensum to live alone for the first time ever. During the first lockdown I began to write a diary and then the idea for a new set of short stories came to me and in February 2021 they will be published. The Covid-19 Pandemic is not simply a scary virus, it is a historical time and here we are trying to live through it. To many it will feel like a punishment but to me as a writer, in some ways, it came as a gift. Please stay as safe and as well as you can. I hope to entertain you with my stories as we all try to get through this together, even though we are apart. Petra

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