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Thread: Dealing with back / neck pain? Ergonomic office chairs? Etc.?

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  1. #1
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    Dealing with back / neck pain? Ergonomic office chairs? Etc.?

    First off, one thing I'm learning is that a lot of back and neck pain is stress related. I'm a pretty anxious person in general so that sucks. I'm already doing certain things to control anxiety though, and that's probably more an issue for health professionals than a computer forum.

    As to what you guys / girls might be able to help me with. Essentially I've had back and neck pain for years but recently it has gotten incredibly bad. Like, "I might not be able to stay in this field longterm if I don't find a solution" type bad. Which is a scary thought because I don't have many other skills I could make a career out of.

    It seems ergonomic chairs can help out a lot with back and neck pain? Has anyone gotten any real relief from this? They seem pretty expensive to just buy one to try it out, but at this point I feel like I'm comparing the cost of a chair to like... the cost of the future of my career. In that respect it seems worth trying it out.

    One thing though, I'm 6'4 so I generally can't just walk into a store and find something that fits me. I'm not even sure how to figure out how to find a chair specifically suited to my body, and if it's an expensive chair I want to make damn sure it suits me specifically.

    Anyone have any ideas?

  2. #2
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    My back and neck pain was caused (I think) by mousing all day with my arm extended outwards on my desk. I got a finger mouse and that helped quite a bit as I can keep my arm across my chest or on my thigh. Also exercise of course makes a difference...at least for me.

  3. #3
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    I do daily exercising... usually walk at least 2-3 miles a day and ride my bike about 4 miles. I used to jog but my back and neck problems have kind of made that counterproductive now.

    See something like this LOOKS nice, but being 6'4 my head tends to extend a bit over the head rests on these things...

    http://www.viaseating.com/Palmer-HighBack-0-4.aspx

  4. #4
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    See a physiotherapist
    Do regular exercises (see above)
    I use a Verksam. Adjust it correctly and you should have no problems.
    Riding a bike is not the best form of exercise if you have a back complaint. Most people have the wrong size bike anyway.
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  5. #5
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    As mentioned above, seeing your doctor and probably a specialist can help to determine the exact source(s) of the pain, and then determine the best ways to avoid it. An extreme example would be something like an inflamed disc, arthritis, or scoliosis, which might require a lot more than just the right chair to take care of.

    Also, don't forget your eyes. If your vision is less than 20/20 and you have the wrong glasses for working at a computer, you can end up with your head and neck in awkward positions trying to read the text on your screen. Having the screen at the correct height/angle can also make a difference.
    "Please give us a simple answer, so that we don't have to think, because if we think, we might find answers that don't fit the way we want the world to be."
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  6. #6
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    Yeah the bike isn't the best for my back, but it is better than jogging. I do a lot of walking though. The problem is even with walking, there is a certain point (generally fairly quickly... a mile or two) where my back just starts killing me. At that point it's like... any further benefit going on? Not really. But then I don't get as much exercise as I would like.

    I have been to a doctor about it in the past, didn't get very far into it. X-rays came out fine (though I wonder if that could have changed since.) In the end I didn't get much except a list of some neck stretches to do, which I do every night. I know I should get back to a doctor but the lack of medical insurance and / or much income makes that a *tad* bit tough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fang View Post
    I use a Verksam. Adjust it correctly and you should have no problems.
    One thing I have noticed is a lot of these ergonomic chairs have no actual upper back / neck support. Is that normal? That is precisely the areas I have it worst. In fact, I feel like EXACTLY where my current chair ends (about the bottom of my shoulder blades) is where my pain starts. I can imagine how having a better chair that forces better posture would help either way, but it still seems like some upper back / neck support would be even better. Though there has to be some reason the chairs never seem to have it?

    Of course, being 6'4, every chair I go sit in in an Office Depot or Office Max or whatever that has a headrest like... the head rest is where my neck is.

  7. #7
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    The only chair I ever found that helped alleviate back pain was the Kneeling Chair, but after several months, my hip began to hurt. It became a toss up between back pain and hip pain.

    My solution? I rotate chairs every couple weeks. I either have moderate pain in one place or both places, or no pain at all. It depends on how long I sit/kneel.


    Having said that, you really should see someone to find out just what the problem is before you attempt to solve it.
    The Old Sarge

  8. #8
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    Well, maybe Obama will get national health care going soon, I dunno. Our country isn't too kind to those without health care and money.

    Still though, whether or not there are other major factors, it is very clear to me that sitting in front of a computer all day is at least PART of the problem, and I don't think many chairs could be any worse than the one I have. It's really just difficult to sit for even an hour or so now, let alone all day every day.

  9. #9
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    How about a Lazy Boy recliner (with heat and massage ) and a lap board to hold a notebook PC?
    "Please give us a simple answer, so that we don't have to think, because if we think, we might find answers that don't fit the way we want the world to be."
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  10. #10
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    I think maybe I should have just focused on the chair advice. I understand the whole "go to a doctor" thing makes sense but I don't have much money to do so right now. My parents have spent over $15,000 out of pocket on doctors for me from traditional to alternative and whatnot over the years and I never really got anywhere with it. I have little money and no health insurance.

    What it comes down to is, I KNOW sitting in front of a computer is a major cause of my pain. There might be some other damage I don't know about (though I have had x-rays and a spinal evaluation which both came up "ok") but it's a very noticeable thing when sitting in front of a computer. Before this job I was teaching PE and my back and neck were the best they had been in years. But that was a job I sort of fell into, I don't have a teaching degree or anything so I can't really just decide to go do it again. Before that was more computers, and yes, more back and neck pain.

    Maybe longterm I need to get out of computers. I dunno. But if so I'd probably need more schooling in some other field or something, so that's not really going to help me in the shortterm.

    ANYWAY... as for the ergonomic chairs, anyone have any real experience with them? Everything I read is glowing and there seems to be real science behind them, but it's also tough to trust online reviews.

    (Oh and I'm not overweight. About 170, which is probably underweight if anything.)

  11. #11
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    See a physiotherapist, a sports physiotherapist preferably, doctors aren't specialists in back problems. A physiotherapist will also give you exercises to alleviate the pain and strengthen torso muscles.
    Spend your money on finding the cause of your problem.
    Overweight? For your height your weight should be under 200 lb.
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  12. #12
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    As previously and repeatedly stated, seek medical attention to your condition.

    I have been in constant pain for years and I put it down to having a bad back... It turns out I have had a Kidney problem for 20 or more years that has been misdiagnosed as back problems when my back is perfectly fine. So your back and neck issues can be from more than one problem... So seek medical guidance.

    Since staring meds for my kidney problem, no back pain.
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  13. #13
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    Read up about sitting properly at a desk. That is all, no need to spend money on hyped crap.

    Companys use science to market products all the time. DO you really believe that anti-age wrinle creams work? That your shampoo can nourish your hair? Ergonomic chairs cure back problems?

    Start simple, buy a book and read up about posture, how to sit correctly... This is no instant fix and can take weeks before you start to notice the changes. It will mean that your then not wasting $1,000's on a chair that you most likely do not need and the book is cheapest option.

    When you understand how sitting properly can cure most back related problems... Job done.

  14. #14
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    What if the book you're reading is the hyped crap? :0)
    The Old Sarge

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkMale View Post
    Companys use science to market products all the time. DO you really believe that anti-age wrinle creams work? That your shampoo can nourish your hair? Ergonomic chairs cure back problems?
    I dunno, but I do know that even the first day I started this job I HATED this chair and had pretty big problems from the start. The chair ends right at my shoulderblades and just digs right into them. Whereas my slightly better chair at home is... slightly better. And my uncle has some fancy high-backed executive computer chair and I can sit at his house and screw around on his computer for hours... but he's rich and I would bet his chair cost a lot.

    I think, when you're right on the cusp, a decent chair can matter a lot. Whether ergonomic chairs specifically actually work, well... I don't buy into marketing hype, that's why I'm trying to get real opinions from real people, though I don't seem to run into anyone who ever actually tried one.

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