Monday, April 14, 2008

Setting up your office for pain-free work

Two weeks ago, I attended a workshop held by a professional writer's association that I belong to. One of the speakers was an ergonomics expert who really opened my eyes about a few things.

I think most of us know the basics of good ergonomics in an office. If someone asked us, we could tell them about good posture, positioning of the chair, etc, but how many of us are right? I was sort-of right with a few things, correct about a few, but totally wrong in others.

So, as part of Ergonomic week at Help my Hurt, I'm improving my work station throughout the week and we'll see how I do.

I started complaining of severe neck pain a few weeks ago after I stretched and something "popped." Although when I'm upright, my neck is fairly ok, when I lie down, it's very painful still. While I was listening to the ergonomics speaker, I realized that I probably didn't hurt my neck while I was stretching. I likely hurt my neck a long time ago and was just making it worse with my work habits, until it couldn't take the stress any more. Hopefully, my office changes will help that.

This is what I've done so far. I work exclusively on my laptop. I sit at my big computer desk, with a desktop off to the left and that part of the desk had a keyboard drawer. I had considered, from time to time, using it for my laptop, but it wasn't conveniently placed. It also wouldn't fit where I would have preferred it.

On Saturday, I went to Bureau en Gros (Staples in Quebec) and bought a new keyboard drawer, took off the old one and put the new one where I wanted it. I unplugged the keyboard from the desk top and plugged it into my laptop.

I adjusted my chair so my hands are even on the board - not angled and my footstool is keeping my legs at the right height. I also put my laptop on one of the thickest books I own, the Physicians' Desk Reference. I figured it would come in handy some day when I bought it. :-)

Yesterday, I went back to the store and bought a document holder to hold my papers up so I can see them. Today, to reduce eyestrain, I enlarged the type on my laptop screen so I could push it a bit further away.

Let's see what tomorrow brings!

Today at Help My Hurt:

Company’s calling - an RN speaks about her fibromyalgia
Self-evaluation for RSIs
Ergonomics: crafts and hobbies
Botox is 20 years old
Help My Hurt Ergonomic Week & a Contest!
Are doctors seeking the wrong target when treating back pain?

News for Today:

Older Australians at risk of sun-related skin cancer death
Quebec girls to be offered free HPV vaccine
U.S. hospitals warned about medication risks in children
Mouth may tell the tale of lung damage caused by smoking

No comments: