IT Manager quit job due to pain, now manages with Unknotify.
Zed Marican (not his real name) was in so much pain he left his job as an IT Project Manager in 2009. A shift from the desktop computer to the laptop left him on an arduous journey of frequent leave of absence, painkillers and medical consults. After a decade of hits and misses, he has learnt to manage his aches and pains through self-massage.
Q: Tell us about yourself.
I used to work as an IT Project Manager, which demanded me to be at the desk most of the time, working at a computer. Back then I used to have a fairly active lifestyle and enjoyed exercising. I would cycle 10km to work 2-3 times a week and jog 6-8km twice a week. Since suffering from neck pains and headaches, I have stopped most of my exercise routines.
Q: How did your neck pains and headaches start?
My neck pains started in my early 30s. I was working with a government agency and felt fine for the first five years. Back then we were all using desktop computers. However, there came a shift to using laptops. It was good initially as it was more convenient. I was not stuck in a cubicle and I was more mobile. I could even work from home when necessary. But six months later, I started getting neck pains and headaches. Not knowing the cause then, I depended on painkillers for relief.
The pain got worse and it started affecting my job. I couldn’t work efficiently. I had frequent intense headaches. I was frequently on medical leave and taking painkillers, which I knew wasn’t going to be good for my body in the long term.
Q: Did you see a doctor?
Yes. I consulted an orthopaedic doctor and a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) practitioner. None of them could give me a proper diagnosis nor explanation for my pain. Nothing showed up on the scans. It was most frustrating.
Later on I also developed dull yet intense ear pain and consulted an ENT (ear-nose-throat) doctor and a pain management clinic. I felt my world falling apart.
Q: Was the pain a hindrance to your daily activities?
Definitely. It got worse to a point where I felt pain even when lying down. It affected my sleep and I endured sleepless nights. I could not function during the day. My pains ultimately became the reason for me leaving my job. That was in 2009, after about two years of suffering. I held on to my job for as long as I could.
Q: Did you find out the cause of your pains?
Yes. After I quit my job, I had more time to myself and slowly eased back into sports and recreation. I figured out that my poor work posture and work stress had contributed to my chronic pains. With this awareness, I began watching my posture and the pains became more manageable. I also moved on to a logistics job that allowed me to move around. But I still had intense episodes of headache from time to time.
Q: Did you try any other treatments?
Yes. I started going for deep-tissue massages every other month. I find that it helps with my neck and shoulder tension, which is where I accumulate my stress mostly.
Q: How has Unknotify helped you?
There’s a particular spot in my shoulders that I release frequently using the T-stick – it really helps with the headaches. I also started getting lower-back pain and use the ball occasionally to massage my glutes and lower back.
The instructional videos make it clear to me which muscles to target precisely for which aches and pain. And with the tools in the box, I could self-massage effectively without getting tired so easily.
Q: Why would you choose self-massage over a professional massage therapist?
The great thing about self-massage is that I can do it right there and then, anywhere. I can be sitting, driving, or watching TV and I can have my massage. Whenever I sense my pain coming, I can quickly treat myself.
To get a professional therapist, I would need to arrange for an appointment first, all the while enduring my pain. And good massages don’t come cheap!
Q: What are your personal pros and cons with self-massage?
I’ve spoken a lot about the pros, but one con is that self-massage is not a magic pill. You will need to put in some effort to practise before you become good at it. It will definitely pay off but you must be persistent.