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Hi friends,

I bought a LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 treadmill. I love it so much. It has changed my life. But sadly, I may have to return it (I'm still within the 2-month return policy period). First, the good points: I'm a novelist and I feel my brain works better when I'm writing while using it, and I don't get as sleepy while working, and I don't need breaks, and so I get MUCH more work done every day, and it even seems to make me more cheerful. Yet I may have to give all that up because it's giving me pain in the lower right side of my back (maybe it's even hip-related, not sure). I don't get this problem when I do normal outdoor walking for the same lengths of time and at approximately the same speeds: 2mph. I've only ever gotten this problem after walking uphill for a while. I've heard that lower back pain is a common problem with treadmill desks. And I've heard there have been studies that have shown that treadmill walking is different from regular walking. Has anyone seen those studies? I would like to read them. I tried looking for some through Google, but can't really find any. When I told a friend of mine I got a treadmill desk, I didn't mention it was causing me pain, yet she sent me this response: "BTW my pilates teacher says be careful about the treadmill desk -- don't use it all the time. Vary your worksite/habits. She says treadmill is not like normal walking but like "having the rug pulled out from under you" (the way the tread works) -- so can cause other problems over the long term! (sigh- no perfect solution)"

Now that I've experienced what it's like to have an incredibly enhanced work day and an enhanced brain thanks to working while treadmilling, I will always miss that state if I can't find a solution to this back problem which I only get after walking on this treadmill or after walking uphill. I don't think it's a question of "getting use to it" because I've used it for almost 60 days and it hasn't gotten better. It only gets better if I stop using it for a day or two. I think there needs to be a serious discussion about this, because I've looked through old threads in this forum and seen that I'm not the only person with this problem.

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Hi Jennifer:

Actually, it *has* improved a bit in the last couple of weeks.  I think this is due to several things. 

1. I started incorporating back and leg stretches before and during treadmill time.  I step off the treadmill every 25-30 minutes, walk around a little (usually when I need to get something from another room or run to the bathroom), and spend about a minute doing some stretches. This is usually as simple as bending forward and just "hanging" for 30 seconds or so to allow my back to stretch out naturally. I also do a few standing waist twists to loosen my waist and hips at the sides. 

2. I'm consciously working to strengthen my abdominals, which I know is part of the back pain problem. I make efforts throughout my time on the treadmill to tighten my stomach muscles for 15 seconds or so, and repeating four or five times.  I don't spend a lot of time on it, and plan to add some floor exercises also, as my stomach muscles need a lot of work. 

3. When I am sitting at my desk or in a chair at home, I do piriformis stretches at least once a day, which sounds like what you need for your issues with your leg and foot (I am not a doctor and I did not sleep at a Holiday Inn last night).  I have sciatica, which usually affects my left leg, and when it gets back, the piriformis stretches help me a lot.  Here is a good video example if you have never done them:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qZ517Rw7ME

I also noticed last week that if I occasionally increase my speed up to about 2mph (I tend to work at around 1.3 to 1.5 but I can still read at 2.0 or more), I have less back pain.  For me, the pain seems to be related to tensing my lower back and hips in an effort to keep my upper body and hand positions stable for computer work.  

Really, I'm not noticing pain nearly as much now, and I'm averaging a couple of hours a day on the treadmill. I do this at home, but I even bought a surf desk to try on our treadmills at the office to see if I can just take a midday walk-and-work break there. 

I'm liking this a lot.  And I just bought a smaller slacks size yesterday, so it must be doing something. 

I hope yours gets better! Keep us posted. 

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: I had a phone consultation with a pilates instructor about this lower back problem caused by the treadmill. She e-mailed me a link to an article called "Junk Food Walking" that claims that this type of exercise is not very good. It was kind of interesting: http://www.katysays.com/junk-food-walking/

Forgot to thank you, Catfiend, for that very interesting response you posted.

Marla, thank you so much for that link to that stretch. I just watched the video and tried it and I think it might help.

Yes, I thought the speed might make a difference, so I'd built up to 2mph anyway. That was the speed I always used, but it didn't help.

Also forgot to mention: last week I went to talk about this problem to two different physical therapists. One of them had never heard of treadmill desks, which surprised me. But she said maybe taking smaller steps might help. And not leaning forward. The other one also said make sure not to lean forward. I don't think I was leaning forward, but maybe it's subtle. And he said keep your abdominals tight when you walk, and also don't rock your pelvis forwards and backwards as you walk. When he said this last thing I recognized it as something the treadmill had caused me to do, slightly. When I walk outside this doesn't happen, don't know why.

Both dh and I have lower back pain. First thing we did was get a GOOD mattress http://jonsguide.org/best-top-icomfort-mattress-reviews/ and box spring that helped alot. The dr told me to sleep on my side with a small pillow between my legs and it takes some of the pressure off. There is also an exercise I do for "instant relief" you lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest holding them as close to your chest as you can for the count of 10. Then you roll over and lift your head up off the floor for the count of 10, and when you get up (Im not kidding) the pain or ache is gone!!Sounds simple but it was uncomfortable the first few times I tried it,but me and exercise dont get along good anyhow,LOL. I noticed lately from riding my stat bike that sometimes my back aches later on.
My dd and SIL bought one of those sleep number beds and they love it.If I had known about them before we bought our new one I would have gotten one, they aren't much more money.

Great suggestions!!

Sorry I'm so late to the party... new here. 

I like the "varying your activity" and the "stretching" and the "ergonomics setup". Some more ideas for you:

  • Try new high quality walking shoes, invest in them as office equipment
  • You can try a posture trainer in case you're slouching over time, or to help you get your upper back in line (a common problem once the hips are lined up). This one is by UpRight
  • You can get a back evaluation to find out if it is straight... a friend or significant other can help with this too. If it's not straight the situation is being stressed by slow walking

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