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ARTICLE

Back Pain and Puzzles



I must first point out that I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice, treatment or diagnosis (see disclaimer).


The only back pain I have ever experienced while playing with a puzzle was backache that had gone away by the following day and wasn't even that painful anyway as I could easily have carried on playing and endured the pain. Apart from playing with puzzles my back has never really been an issue and certainly nothing has happened that would make me consider going to the doctor about it. Having seen and spoken to friends and family with back pain I know how debilitating back pain or an injury can be and this is what got me really thinking about back pain and why I want to if possible avoid it. Having back pain could potentially mean having to give up things I enjoy or mean that my enjoyment of them diminishes, for instance, certain puzzles which is another reason and motivation to find and implement ways to maintain the health of my back. I also have to think about the impact it could have on my life such as my job and how difficult it would be to do it in pain or if I could do it at all. It is not an immediate concern for me that I think I am soon going to get back problems but it could be that the sooner I start to take action the better my chances are of avoiding an injury down the road.


As mentioned the only time I have experienced back pain in relation to a puzzle was after having spent a few hours sitting down and bent over a table trying to figure out a brain teaser which I do from time to time as a puzzle can take a few hours to solve if it is a particularly tricky one. After this incident occurred I just made myself a mental note not to spend so long arched over a table with a puzzle in the future by either taking breaks or leaving the puzzle for another day when I have spent a certain amount of time with it and there hasn't been an issue since. It won't be long before I am middle-aged and I don't take my health for granted as much as I did when I was younger as I almost never thought about my health when I was a kid but health does start to play on your mind the older you get and the more you see and hear from other peoples experiences. Headaches are the other issue I can have with regards to puzzles as sometimes but not often if I have been playing too long with them then I can get a headache and then I usually just stop as there is no point carrying on as it is no longer fun and can't really think straight when I have one and will usually leave it a day or two before continuing with the puzzle.


I never really thought of playing with puzzles as a risk to my back before the backache incident especially compared to other hobbies like football or horseriding in which serious injury does happen to the back. My hobbies are sports like football and cycling in which I know I could hurt my back but I never really take any precautions against this threat and I just go out and do them because I have never known somebody personally who has hurt their back doing these sports which if I had known someone then that would have likely caused me to take some action or precautions. I don't think however it would have stopped me from doing these activities and I would have just accepted the risks as I believe I can't live my whole life not taking any risks or I am not living at all and wouldn't be able to enjoy life to the full. I will however certainly in the future take the threat of a back injury into consideration when doing a sporting activity and be more careful in terms of the precautions I take before doing one because the resulting injury could have an impact on the rest of my life including other hobbies I enjoy like puzzles.


There are so many different types of puzzles that I play with and they demand different actions from my body and they can put different stresses on my back. I mainly do puzzles that involve my hands as they are very convenient in the sense that I can just pick them up off the shelf or out of the drawer and they are ready to be used and these puzzles are mostly either a book or a handheld puzzle like a disentanglement brain teaser or a speed cube. I will usually play and solve them with my body positioned the way I feel most comfortable, usually on the couch or at the dining table or office desk I have, as I assumed that what felt most comfortable to me would be good or healthy for me but I know that might not be the case and my posture is one area of concern that I am going to look into further as I doubt it is correct and could be doing me harm. As far as physical puzzles that would involve me using my whole body go I have participated in outdoor mazes in the past which are about as physical as puzzles get for me but I have never had issues with my back during or after doing this outside in the fresh air challenge and if anything was a way to get some exercise and have fun whilst doing it. The only other form of a puzzle I do is occasionally boardgames that can take a while or a few hours to do and while doing them I will often be sat down and have to constantly bend over a table to move the pieces or a role of a dice or whatever action is required which I can feel does put pressure on my back.


My focus is both on the present and the future and especially on preventing myself from getting back issues in later life or old age as I personally know family members who are in old age and they all seem to have issues with their backs among other issues. I try to avoid going to the doctors unless I feel it is necessary so I will always either endure the pain if it is minor in the hope it is temporary or try to help myself by researching online for useful and helpful information as this has been helpful to me in the past. If I do ever get back pain and it doesn't go away or is severe then I will obviously go to the doctors and get it checked out as that is what you should do and it doesn't make any sense to suffer too long in pain without getting it looked at. The changes I am looking for and hoping to implement for my back are ones that I can easily integrate into my life without it taking up significant parts of my time as I don't have a lot of free time as it is and would still like to have time for either just relaxing or doing something I enjoy such as puzzles. If the changes are not easy to implement or take up a lot of my time but are going to be beneficial then I will still make them but I hope this is not the case. Whatever changes I make I will have to commit to as I have in the past made changes to my life to bring about positive change but not kept at them so I hope the lessons I have learnt there will help me to do a better job of keeping to changes. When I make changes it isn't always that I just can't be bothered to stick to the change that results in me failing to implement the changes but rather I forget to do them and after a while completely forget about them which means I am going to have to think of ways of reminding me either by getting others to remind me or set reminders on my phone or notes on the fridge or some other method which is something else to research.


In summary, I am committed to looking into and making changes that will help keep my back healthy and injury-free for my life in general and that includes my hobbies that involve puzzles and will be researching this matter thoroughly as I hope these possible changes will then put my mind at ease and stop me having issues down the road although I know that no matter what preventative measures I take back issues could arise anyway especially due to old age or through a freak accident.

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