er·go·nom·ics (ûr’ga-nŏm’ĭks) n.
-The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Also called biotechnology, human engineering, human factors engineering. (source: http://www.dictionary.com/)
The computer screen is raised to as to keep my chin at its appropriate level. I use a footrest to keep my thighs parallel with the floor. I have wrist pads for both the keyboard and the mouse pad to prevent carpal tunnel. I have an $800 Aeron Chair that is supposed to be fantastic for my back. Yet the amount of pain and fatigue coursing thru my neck, shoulders and upper back is astonishing. I can barely hold my head up without wanting to let it loll about my clavicle in an effort to relax. This should not be the case.
Granted, I don’t sit correctly in the chair a lot of the time. I’m a sloucher, always have been. When I answer the phone, I hold the receiver to my cheek with my shoulder. But bugger me blind, I should not be in this much pain. Example of how tight my shoulder muscles are:
Me: Honey, will you rub my shoulders?
Husband: Right now?
Me: Please? I’m really in a lot of pain.
Husband: *bitch moan bitch moan* (this continues for about 5 minutes…ah, the joys of married life)
Me: Ouch! That’s the bone!
Husband: Are you sure?
Me: Of course I’m sure! Here (moves his hand to the left) is where it hurts.
Husband: OK, that’s not bone? I can’t tell the difference.
You can obviously see what a giving soul he is. I jest of course, but the point of that nonsense was that my muscles are so tight, they feel the same as bone to the touch. Probably not a good sign. So the question is, do I pay someone a ridiculous amount of money to pull and prod my muscles for an hour once a month, or do I just let this slide? Will my insurance cover a masseuse since it is a work-induced injury? That would be ideal, of course, but improbable. How can I get this pain to go away?
No, Advil and Aleve are not my answers. I want to treat the problem, not the symptoms. Stretch more? Slouch less? Sit taller (which is just about as uncomfortable as slouching)? I’m not sure. Because right now, these ergonomics are not “maximizing my productivity while reducing my fatigue and discomfort”.