I’ve been having a horrifying time at work these past few weeks, so I can’t record anything before few more weeks. In the meantime, in the spirit of fear and dread that go with this holiday, let me discuss the worst demon of our time, causing the most distress and ruining more lives in musicians and everyone that uses a computer: office posture!
IMS Update – good news:
My treatments are now once a month and things are going relatively well (my last recording shows how comfortable my fingers are playing). Now, after a treatment, I can get severely sore in the places treated during the afternoon. But the soreness does not last long.
This time I got some needles in the shoulder and lower back. IMMEDIATELY after the 1st needle on my left shoulder, it relaxed and dropped something surprizing – it felt wonderful! The right shoulder took 3 needles and the dropping was not as dramatic, but still great.
I get rather bad back pains, especially in the morning: I’ve been getting these for well over 15 years, so I always thought I have a bad back. In fact, X-rays over the past couple of years show disc-degenerative-disorder (including arthritis) in the back and neck. This is normal for my age, but I thought it explained the pain. Well, no it does not explain the pain, and that is the good news! My physiotherapist did a good examination and concluded that my pain is due to nerve compression caused by tight muscles: these can be stretched back into shape!
Get it straight: sitting down all day is the single worst thing you can do to your body, period!
I’ll be drawing diagrams later to how seated posture is responsible for back pain in:
- office workers
- taxi, truck and bus drivers
- heavy machinery operators
- students and musicians.
In the meantime, here are some pictures to show how using the computer keyboard an mouse can injure your arms, cause horrible recurring headaches and seriously compromise your oboe playing! Here are also pictures to show the right way to use computer input devices so you won’t hurt yourself.
|WRONG way to sit at the computer! |
|The single best posture:|
See a study from Cornell University (click here).
How to improve even more:
This image shows how the need to keep the finger up creates extra force. So pressing the mouse means not only resisting against the mouse, but also fighting against the upward force. It is not only the finger that strains, but also the wrist and forearm, as those muscles participate in the lift: they shorten over time. Opposing forearm muscles participate in the click motion and must work even harder when the wrist is crooked this way.
This principle is also applies to the elbows, shoulders and neck. Take some time to observe how your body strains and you will realize a great deal about how computer posture is the single worst contributor to pain in modern life!
Ghouls and Monsters in the “free world”:
Keeping a good posture that encourages your strength is a very simple issue. Apart from a good keyboard tray, no expense is needed. Be very careful: marketing people are really good at convincing health benefits of new gadgets that can actually cause pain and injury.
By definition, capitalism rewards people who have the most capital with even more capital (wealth). The dark side of capitalism is that there is no reward for actually helping people – if people get better, they don’t need to buy more gizmos! Marketing makes its companies look like good Samaritans who really want to help you; they will incorrectly quote studies that were incorrectly conducted to begin with: all for the soul purpose of making money, not helping people in pain!
This is precisely why lawyers quote the principle “caveat emptor”: buyer beware!