Need a crash course in ergonomics.
January 16, 2012 12:47 PM Subscribe
Advice and a crash course regarding ergonomics (and, to a lesser degree, posture) needed for a young web worker with a Macbook Pro and some signs of RSI.
posted by Ash3000 to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
So, I've had symptoms of some sort of RSI for a while now - some aches in my wrists, weakness in my grip, etc. - but two recent occurrences have caused me to rethink how seriously i need to take this:
1. A bout of lower back pain for the last week that has at times been severe, especially when sitting down at work. (I saw my doctor about this on Saturday, and she personally believes it to be a narrowing of the spinal column that comes with age, and gave me a prescription for x-rays before moving forward. However, in her words, it can't hurt for me to take a look at how I'm sitting at work, and she seemed receptive when I mentioned a standing desk as a possibility.)
2. I realized that it's very difficult for me to write, with a pen, for any extended period of time, even for just a minute or so, if it's continuous writing (i.e. writing an essay) and not, say, making a list, where there's lots of stops-and-starts. I've been thinking lately that I want to write more, and it really depresses me to think that using a notepad/notebook to write won't be an option.
So, I want to start tackling this head-on. The only problem is, I know just about nothing about ergonomics, and I'm not sure where to start on making this better. There are some threads on best ergonomic equipment on AskMe, but the ones specifically talking about RSI seem to be at least a few years old, and I don't know what's been developed since in terms of mice, keyboards, stands, particularly since the "standing desk" phenomenon really got going online.
As for me, 27-year-old male (if it matters), employed to work on the new media side for a non-profit group - so, my day is basically spent on a computer. Currently, I use a Macbook Pro for work, at a simple table-like desk. There are so many questions I have here, but to give a sense of how little I know about this: should I use an external keyboard/mouse? Are there any mac-specific, particularly so I can still do stuff like switch pages by swiping on the trackpad? Is Dragon Dictation worthwhile? (I saw a good review on Engadget of the new 2.5 version.)
What about special gloves while working? Worth getting a weekly massage for my hands at a nearby physical therapy space? (A local spa, Graceful Services, offers something called a Tech Thumb massage.) Is there any ready-made standing desk-like set-ups that can be put on a desk? Is it *worse* for my hands if I'm standing up and still using the built-in laptop keyboard?
Is yoga worthwhile? Alexander Technique? Any new RSI programs for the mac that are particularly? I have a vacation coming up - would it help to take a 2-week break from using computer keyboards, or maybe limiting it to a half-hour per day?
Sorry for all the questions - I'm just a little freaked out by this issue, and appreciate any help I can get.