Have you ever had pain or headache and no one could find the cause? You have been to the doctor and all the most imaginative tests have been negative.
Believe me, the chair you work from may well be the culprit, alternatively the way in which you sit on the chair or the way you go about your everyday tasks.
I was plagued with a burning pain in my right shoulder, pain in my chest and stiffness in my neck, which from time to time caused severe headaches. After many investigations and eliminating possible causes, I ended up at the physiotherapist for treatment. She recommended that I assess my posture, consider an ergonomic chair and appraise the way I sit whilst working. According to her one should always remind oneself that there is a balloon tied to the hair at the center of your head lifting it up and tucking your chin in.
According to Wikipedia:” Ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities. Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.” Might this be it?
I soon realized that the chair I was working from was not remotely close to the recommendations I had researched. The typical question arose; ‘do I really spend so much time in front of the computer to warrant an expensive ergonomic chair?’ In search for answers and correct posture, I found the following helpful checklist in http://sydney.edu.au/ohs/ohs_manual/ergonomics/ERGO2.shtml and a couple of potential causes for my troubles:
- Chin poking forward towards the monitor to see the document properly.
- Screen not positioned correctly
- Arms uncomfortable, shoulders tensed
- Not taking enough breaks between tasks and alternating tasks
- Incorrect chair, no footrest
Now that I had found the potential culprit, the search for an ergonomic chair began. I felt like Goldilocks, trying to find a chair to suit me; they were either too high, too narrow, too deep, too soft, too low, no lumbar support etc. and even though they were all claimed to be ergonomic, they were not right for me!
I was just about to give up, when I met a salesperson who actually took the time and listened to understand my dilemma. I was told about chairs with height adjustment, adjustable back rest, adjustable seat tilt, adjustable armrests and adjustable lumbar support assembled to my exact needs. I could even choose the fabric. Alarm bells started ringing though; ‘money, money, money’. To my astonishment however they came without the hefty price tag. Even cheaper than some of the ‘wanabe’ ergonomic chairs at the big chain stores, that could not meet my ergonomic need.
Now that I have the chair and an ergonomic footrest; I ask myself was it worth it? I must admit; most certainly, my aches and pains are waning – if only I had started listening to my body earlier… Like with all change, I have to remind myself constantly to take breaks, to correct my posture, to stretch and to do exercises.
If you are similarly afflicted, consider my writing before you inevitably hurt your body, hurt that could/should have been avoided, by just being aware.
“Look after your body … if you don’t, where will you live?” – Marie Farrugia
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