Month: November 2022

Back Pain Solution. The Permanent One.

There are multiple reasons why I hate back and shoulder pain. And it’s not just the PAIN, which prevents me to enjoy the life.

It’s also the constant reminder, that my body is getting older and I’m going to die soon. Of course I have a plan how to prevent that, but lets talk about backpain.

that's how I spend meetings now to prevent the back pain from ever coming back
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Ergonomic Mouse and Shoulder Pain

It all has started in 2017. I’ve been working behind the desk for 20 some years and started to notice, that nothing in my back and shoulders feels right. And so I decide to take the first step and buy myself a fancy ergonomic mouse, which they say helps with posture and should resolve all my problems.

$27 dollars and 2 days later, the new mouse is in my hands, and it feels pretty cool. But is it helping? It almost feels like it does…

But then a few month later, I realize that nope, it doesn’t and we are back at square zero.

Can Chair Help with Back Pain?

The struggle continues and in 2018 I decide to make a slightly bigger investment. After a bit of research I locate the most advance and adjustable chair of them all. Herman Miler Aeron.

One problem, it’s freaking expensive… but for some reason a lot of people sell it on Facebook marketplace for the fraction of the cost. All right, I’ll take it!
$400 later I’m a happy owner of an almost brand new chair! Still have it to this day. Great chair. Not a smidge of improvement in the shoulder or back pain department.

Perfect Mattress

November 2019. Finally I decide to make the ULTIMATE investment, which should work for sure this time!

Everyone knows that backpain is driven by the quality of the mattress you sleep on and how good the sleep is. It took me some time to arrive here, but finally I’m ready to upgrade.

But I’m already on my anti aging and longevity journey by that time, so I’m also into sleeping in a dark cold environment.. Well I’d like to, except that my wife disagrees to sleep “in a freezer”.

Good news  – technology can already make it happen, cold for me, hot for her, kinda expensive though. 2 grands like.
But then I start to think..  I spend almost a 3rd of my life in the bedroom. Significantly more then in my car for example and car doesn’t revert the daily damage of life, like a good sleep does.

So I do some mental gymnastic, adjust for the cooling and heating savings, find a coupon and pull a trigger!

mattress can improve your sleep, but won't help with back pain

In a few days I’m a happy owner of the most cool (pun intended) health and sleep gadget on the planet.
My sleep quality, which I measure every day,  with an Oura ring, skyrockets! My deep and restorative sleep improves, I feel rested and  energetic.

My back pain.. Uh, my back pain, doesn’t improve a single bit.

COVlD to The Rescue

 Welcome to 2020! What a Year.. If you know what I mean.

Bad news – pandemic, god news – I work from home and have some extra time on my hands. So I spend it on educating myself on physiology of the human body and evolution. As it happens I read the book by Dr. John Kirsch about benefits of simple hanging, which is one of the most fundamental primate movements. Every single review says that it helped tremendously with the shoulder pain and improved back pain symptoms. What’s better – it all make sense!

And so – that’s what I start to practice every single day! (and even create a channel called Smart Monkey)

fixing back pain and shoulder pain by dead hanging

But also this time I decide to not spend any more money, so I just get an old shovel to hang on. Later I got some rings too, but that’s a separate story.

And I find another another primal position, which we are all missing in our modern lives – the deep squat. Evolution has never intended us to sit like we do in chairs. But guess what you can sit in a chair in a deep squat. Honestly.

Remember Rule #6? Never take yourself too seriously. So start practicing deep squat anywhere and anytime you can. From a few minutes to an hour. It puts a very nice stretch to the lower spine, which your body going to love.

Anyway – total money investment: $0  total time opportunity cost: 2 minutes a day, results: no pain in less then 6 month and improved overall mobility.

Bottom Line

If you want to improve your sleep: go buy this mattress.
If you want to improve your back or shoulder pain: do the work! Hang, deep squat (and then progress to glute bridges)

Perfect Eight Sleep Mattress

Windy Road to a Perfect Sleep Mattress

The Mattress of Old

My journey to the perfect mattress started when I was 16 years old.

It was the year 1994, well before the war, when I moved from Ukraine to Russia to study in the top technical college: MIPT. Like MIT, or some say even better, but with cockroaches, mice and its share of the most soggiest beds and mattresses you can imagine. The “repressed memory” without any foam you may say.

It wasn’t me who set our old dorm on fire, but I can’t help but smile when I remember that day.

old burned mattresses

The Futons & Springs

Shortly after that, in early 2000, I moved to the states with a total of $260 dollars in my pockets. And the first $40 I spent on the firmest futon I could find on a yard sale and put it right on the floor. It was such an upgrade! Hard as a plank. The only downside, which I have found quite soon – not very girlified friendly (girlfriendly?)

futon mattress on a floor

So a few years later, when I got engaged and married, the futon was the first thing to leave the bedroom. Instead I’ve endowed a more traditional spring mattress and sleep setup. It wasn’t bad, just a bed. And it has served us well, until I’ve started to actually care about my sleep quality.

Why Sleep Matters

If you take a step away and look at the bigger picture, sleep is fundamental to everything in our life:

  • Mood and Energy
  • Creativity and Productivity
  • Memory and Strength
  • Health and Graceful Aging

Before you try to improve anything in your life, first you need to look at your sleep quality. And you might try to ignore it in your 20s and get by, but at some point you just realize that it’s better to work smart, not hard.

If you haven’t read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker – I highly recommend you do so, or listen to Peter’s Attia The Drive episode on Sleep

Latex and Memory Foam Beds

With that in mind I went shopping… Memory foam mattresses were all the rage at the moment, but I wanted something even “bedder”. So I ended up with an organic multi-layered Talalay Latex mattress from SleepEZ . It was a serious upgrade. But something wasn’t quite right. Even with the wool topping, I would wake up sometimes all in sweat. But my wife was quite happy. Apparently I sleep ‘hot’ and she sleeps ‘cold’.

latex mattress on a bed

I wasn’t sure what to do. Definitely not ready to sleep in different beds, but not ready to sacrifice the deep restorative sleep either. Lucky for me at that time I was already entrenched in the longevity and anti-aging communities.
So when I’ve asked, everyone was like:
“Dude, where have you been, go get 8 Sleep Smart Mattress and your sleep won’t be the same. It will adjusts the temperature for you!”

Ultimate Sleeping Machine

optimal sleep performance measure by Oura Ring

Apparently all this time I was “sleeping” on the sleep technology. Which is quite ironic, because my water-cooling computer is using the same principles. I even use the same quiet Noctua fans. And that’s important, because I’ve also tried OOLER chiliPad and it was way too loud for my comfort (and it required two units for each side, if you have a partner)

Usually to improve deep sleep naturally and have better sleep in general, you have to work on it. Exercise, meditate, not eat before going to the bed, wind down etc. This is the very rare case, when you can outsource one critical aspect of a good sleep to a technology.

Today marks an anniversary. It has been 3 years since I have become a happy owner of Eight Sleep Mattress.
And What can I say… it is whisper quiet, sets different temperatures for me and my wife, and, what was unexpected, saves a lot on heating and cooling bills.
My Oura Ring, which I use to track sleep quality, has never been so happy.

And every night, when it texts me that the bed has been adjusted and is waiting for me, my heart skips a beat.

I’ve talked to Eight Sleep support and they have created SMARTMONKEY discount code, just for the readers of this blog.
Give it a try and let me know, if it worked!

smart eight sleep mattress

I don’t understand why mattresses aren’t talked about more.
Seems like people are really sleeping on them.

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