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You awaken after a not so good night’s sleep feeling as if you’ve been hit in the head by a two-by-four. Your shoulders, neck and upper back are stiff and achy. You struggle out of bed and the day gets started. At work, your jaw is tight; you have pain in your chest, back and shoulder. Your head is throbbing. You’ve nastied off to your co-workers. You have lost your temper two or three times. By four o’clock, you are so tired you can’t keep your head up. What’s going on?

Just possibly you are one of the millions of Americans suffering with one or more of the following execupains:

1. Execuhead: Feels like a tight band extending from the forehead to the base of the skull. May last for several days, by which time exec thinks she/he has brain tumor and has strong death-wish. Usually associated with difficulty getting things done the right way and in the right time. (Or, more commonly, as exec would have it.)

2. Execuneck: Often difficult to distinguish from the above. Stiffness of the neck often extending to the base of the skull, the severity of which is directly related to the amount of time spent on the telephone shrugging it between the shoulder and the ear. May be proportionately increased by non-compliance or other such unpleasantness on the other end of the line.

3. Execushoulder: closely allied to the above conditions, its severity in direct proportion to: a. frustration with performance of direct subordinates; b. time spent at a computer terminal. Is experienced as a dagger between the shoulder blades being drawn upward and outward until it finally becomes a tooth ache in the arm. May be associated with insomnia, great difficulty concentrating or even being civil to business associates, friends and loved ones. Suicidal thoughts frequent.

4. Execujaw: kindred with numbers 1-3 often with a great deal of overlap. Typically characterized by pain on one side of the jaw shooting into the head. Accompanied by clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth as reported by loved ones or other bed-mates. Severity directly proportional to repression of desire to tell business associate to $%^#$%^^ him/her self. Has the potential for causing more angst through expensive and time-consuming treatment for temperomandibular joint dysfunction.

5. Execuback: low back pain directly related to four factors: poor posture, prolonged sitting, lack of exercise (and too much wining and dining), and lack of compliance by subordinates, business associates, friends and loved ones.

Only the smallest percentage of low back pain sufferers will require prolonged or significant medical care. If seen early, almost none will require surgery. Most back pain is due to tight and weak muscles. Principally, the weak ones are the abdominals and the hip flexors. The tight ones are those same hip flexors, the hamstrings and the long muscles on either side of the spine. Those muscles get that way from the causes cited at the beginning of this section. Once more, the answer is exercise and stress and weight reduction.

6. Execuleg: most often known as sciatica. Ineluctably related to the foregoing. Gets worse with sitting. Commonly related to suppressed need to apply foot of affected limb forcibly to posterior parts of friend, loved-one, subordinate, etc.

This complaint could be the herald of a more serious situation. The long-time low back pain sufferer whose back pain suddenly subsides and is replaced by sciatic pain should certainly see a physician. The possibility of intervertebral disc protrusion or herniation must be considered as the cause of this symptom. Night pain and or numbness in the leg or foot is of even greater significance. These conditions are usually muscular in origin, and, as indicated, stress related.

Self management is through correction of desk posture, self massage, and imaging and relaxation techniques. These latter include deep breathing with alternate muscle contraction and relaxation with visions of moonlit beaches, gently rolling surf, etc.

Close your eyes. Imagine a large, red, helium-filled balloon over your head with a string hanging from it attached to a spot in the exact center of the top of your skull. Take a few deep breaths and SEE the balloon rise, carrying your head with it at the end of the string. Now your neck and shoulder muscles don’t have to hold up your head, so they can relax. As a result, your jaw unclenches, your shoulders and shoulder blades can drop, your chest and abdominal muscles relax and you can breathe freely again. Repeat as often as necessary.

Should your problem not respond after a reasonable period (approximately three weeks) of serious effort, including relaxation techniques, postural modification, and massage, it would be appropriate to consult a physician with expertise in the care of musculoskeletal disorders. Such as we have at the Center for Sports and Osteopathic Medicine.

The information contained in this website is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be regarded or interpreted as anything else. Diagnosis and treatment of disease, injury, pain or disability is the province of your health professional who should be consulted in regard to any medical symptoms or conditions before adopting any course suggested in this website. By proceeding to the table of contents page, you agree to accept the provisions of this disclaimer.

Copyright © 1996-2006 Dr. Richard M. Bachrach
317 Madison Avenue, NY 10017 - 212-685-8113

©2006 Richard Bachrach- 
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