Getting Computer Creaky Syndrome

I hurt my shoulder a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been a bugger ever since. I hurt it when I tripped on something on the ground and threw my arms out to try and hold my balance. There was a sharp pain, deep inside the shoulder. Now it’s gotten to the point where I can’t pick up my cat, open or close my windows, or reach above my head.

My left knee, which I injured when tripping over computer cables at the dot-com I worked at years ago, is also giving me problems. Both it and the shoulder seem to be permanently swollen and achy.

I’m getting creaky, and sitting at the computer as many hours as I do in a day accounts for much of it. There is no sitting on your butt, hunched over a small machine, gene. It’s an unnatural act, and no amount of ergonomic keyboards and chairs is going to make the act more natural.

No matter how busy I am, I’m going to have cut back the time at the computer. I don’t know how people can do it, with twitter and blogs and work programming and mailing lists, but I can’t.

Quality, not quantity. That’s the ticket you know. Now I just have to figure out which of my online addictions I can eliminate. Well, aside from the obvious.

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10 Responses to Getting Computer Creaky Syndrome

  1. From my personal experience, while a good chair does not ‘fix’ these problems, it does help. A lot.

    Caveat: Most ‘ergonomic’ chairs are crap, with ‘ergonomic’ just being some marketing speak. You can’t actually tell the difference from trying it out for a few minutes to an hour. You have to use it for at least a whole day to be able to tell whether it doesn’t make you ache.

    I swear by my Aeron, which I have used every day for the past 7 years (except when my GF swipes it), sometimes 10-12 hours a day. It has a 12-year warranty, which I have used twice to replace the lumbar support (free and no-hassle, I didn’t even pay shipping).

    I know Aerons (and equivalents like the Leap chairs) are pricey, but considering the health advantages of a better chair and the fact that many typical office chairs can break within a year or so the price is not actually unreasonable.

    As far as keyboards are concerned, rather than an ergonomic one, I use one from Unicomp with the same buckling spring technology that used to be in the IBM model M.

  2. Oh, and if you’re really ‘hunched over’, you’re definitely sitting wrong.

  3. Melinda says:

    Hope you feel better soon, an injury to both the arm and leg area sounds like a real hassle.

    ["...an unnatural act..."

    Heh. Insert bawdy comment here.]

  4. Doug says:

    Would it be silly to suggest seeing a medical professional about your shoulder and knee? It sounds to me—as a non-professional—that something is inflamed. If so, you usually want to get the inflammation knocked down (perhaps with ibuprofen or naproxen) before it gets into a vicious cycle of become ever more irritated from rubbing against whatever the swelling is contacting.

  5. Court says:

    Hi, a student of Learning Javascript here. It’s easy to tear cartilage when sustaining an injury to a joint. Often, small tears in the cartilage can interfere with joint movement, and result in inflammation. Naproxen (allieve) is a nice joint remedy, but it sounds like you need a couple x-rays (or MRI if youre lucky), as Doug recommends. Yoga and pilates are also fantastic in this situation, especially when stuck in a chair all day and night. Take care.

  6. ralph says:

    I’ve been feeling this way a lot lately too. Sore, achey, nasty. The thing that’s generally been cut back is reading blogs. Too damned many in my feed reader. Time to cut back. This one makes the cut. :-)

  7. Shelley says:

    Whoa, that’s good to know, Ralph. But I hear you.

    Melinda, naughty naughty.

    Doctor and new furniture are out of the question right now (no insurance, and the Aerons are worth more than my car). However, Pilates and yoga are within my budget.

    Also thanks for the suggestion Allieve. I never would have thought of that one, and I’m pretty wary of taking too much pain meds.

    One thing I’m doing differently now, is no more than 3-4 hours without taking an hour break. And no more than ten hours a day. At least until I don’t feel like the Tin Man after a down pour.

  8. Elaine says:

    Yes, take Aleve (or the generic equivalent); I used to have a bottle of what amounted to double-strength aleve from my bike/knee injury. I still take an aleve before I go to bed when my knees are particularly creaky. (Goddamnit, I’m too young to have arthritis!)

    That shoulder sounds really bad, though. That’s some pretty serious loss of range of motion. A couple of weeks?! Ouch. I wish I had some advice. Definitely take it as easy as you can.

  9. Shelley says:

    Well, as I found today when I went to the park, it impacts on driving, too. Aleve, must get some Aleve.

  10. Dave Pawson says:

    Sorry, but please reconsider the Aeron.
    Not as a bit of furniture, but as a way you earn your crust?

    Yes, expensive.
    Luxury? No.

    A necessary piece of the office, like a decent monitor
    if you value your eyesight.

    Especially if you spend so much time at the screen