Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Right Stuff

About a week ago I received a visit from the ergonomic specialist at work.  She determined that I needed a new chair, keyboard holder, and monitor stand.  I was at first skeptical as I was unsure that any of those things would help with my aching shoulder.  The equipment came, minus the monitor platform, a few days later and it was installed in about 10 minutes.   My chair is more fitted to my stature and quite a bit stiffer.  No longer do I have the opportunity to lean back in my chair without really trying to which helps me sit up straighter.  My chair was at the right height immediately and didn’t really need to be adjusted aside from the lumbar support.  The foot stool has the appropriate height and tilt and is far better than the inverted trash can I was using.  True, I can’t put my feet up all the way, but it does seem to help with the cold feet problem I have recently been having.
Ergonomics is a fairly new science at least as it is concerned in the workplace.  They have found that with the proper adjustments to your workspace you can avoid suffering from repetitive strain injuries keeping costs down for employees who might suffer from disabilities.  I already have carpal tunnel syndrome which was really caused by the repetitive movement of my right arm using a mouse that was not in the proper position for years.  The doctor didn’t realize it was my shoulder until I went to a hand therapist who determined that my hand problem was really due to the shoulder problem and having to compensate.  That was back then and it has never really gone away, but with the new adjustments to the work space will help to keep the pain at bay, I think.  Only time will tell if I can really feel a difference now that the things are in place.
I am really lucky as I am somewhat ambidextrous and when my right hand was bothering me so much I switched to a track ball with my left, a suggestion made by the specialist. That was several years ago and I have not switched back since.  My old keyboard tray had to be somewhat butchered as the mouse tray was securely on the right side not taking into account we left-handers and I had quite a bit of wrangling that I had to do to remove it from the right and put it on the left.  This new tray can have the mouse on either side with no problem.  That alone is a major improvement because I could never really get it right with the old one.  So with the newer equipment, I hope I will see improvements over time in how my shoulder and hand feel.  As my stepfather used to say, it’s only up from here!

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