If there is one thing that I would have to say has sustained and helped me the most, it would be yoga. My real progress on bringing back pain and structural problems under my control came when I started doing yoga on a regular basis. A friend of mine who also sat at a desk all day, woke up one morning and couldn’t move. She went into total panic, jumped into surgery, and now is permanently mobility impaired. It was a wake up call for me. It was time for serious intervention.
I took stock of my habits and my chronic pain and the acute pain flareups that would put me under for days or weeks, even months at a time. I committed to counteracting my chronic bad posture habits with yoga 2-4 times a week to stretch and strengthen the muscles and connective tissue. In short order I felt an amazing difference. The weeks I did yoga, the pain subsided. If I got too busy and dropped out this gentle regular restorative exercise, I would usually lapse into chronic, then acute back pain.
Yoga stretching gives the most immediate relief. For me it is like getting a 1 hour massage.
Yoga strengthening takes longer, but it is critically important. Muscle strength is what helps to hold the structure in place. Muscles are strengthened by holding a posture, like standing on one leg, then tilting forward into the dancer pose. You just hold as long as you can, and the time keeps increasing as you get stronger. Leg strengthening really helps balance and mobility.
And last, yoga relaxation at the end of each class is a time when the mind and body settles into a moment of peace. It is incredibly refreshing.
At first some yoga postures will feel odd and may reveal a tightness that is painful. A basic yoga principle to to take it slow and always work at your own pace. You push into the discomfort, but back off the pain. So done properly, it should not be painful. I remember at first that my feet and ankles would restrict certain movement. Those things totally worked out over time. But I am still always pushing into my own places of discomfort to release the tightness.
I recommend going to a class where you can just follow and learn. At my health club, I can go to all the yoga I want. The classes make it fun and keeps it simple. You will find different yoga styles and different teachers, so just find one you like and make sure it is a time you can look forward to .
I found a good overview of yoga at the link below. I hope you’ll check it out and consider treating yourself to yoga classes.