Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ergonometry and relaxation

I have taken the last week away from computers due to a neck injury from last December. (My monitor was to the right and after a particularly long and difficult randomized algorithms take-home final I was left with a neck spasm/knot that I've gone through physical therapy to heal.) My injury shows that it is very important to have a good ergonomic setup! Thus, I am putting together the following things to help.

Ergonomic setup
  • Having a good chair is very important! Considering companies pay thousands of dollars per chair, you should invest at least a couple hundred. My new floormate Derek Rayside recommended that I get this Zero Gravity chair, which was $180 and came with free shipping. He uses his computer while sitting at this and has his monitor mounted on an arm (which you can pick up at a computer accessors store such as MicroCenter in Cambridge).
  • I discovered keyboards with built in mice. I haven't used mine yet, but I will let you know. (My arm gets tense sometimes from being outstretched all day.) People also seem to like Kinesis keyboards. At Google an ergonometrician (<-- I made up this word) came by and told me to type wiht my keyboard in my lap. I think this is a good idea.
  • Monitor positioning is very important. The top of your monitor should be eye level.

Relaxation methods for once you develop some work-related injury
  • Bikram yoga. This is the hot yoga, where the room is heated to 105 degrees to loosen all of your muscles, help you flush toxins, etc. It really gets your blood flowing, and important step in healing injuries. In another blog post I documented my first bikram yoga experience.
  • Salt-water floatation. You float in concentrated salt water for about an hour. This is an anti-gravity experience that relieves a lot of tension--very good especially if you have spinal problems. It is also very relaxing in general.
  • Massage. Harvard had subsidized massage for its undergraduates ($60 for an hour session). I discovered that I can still get the alumni rate of $70/hour. Massage is very good for relaxing you, but you have to remember to stay relaxed for the effects to last. The Bikram Yoga center in Harvard Square has hour-long (and half-hour long) massages at similar prices.
My masseuse said that lots of runners come in with neck injuries because 1) they don't think to stretch their necks and 2) running doesn't exactly loosen your neck. Be careful!


seth said...

can you suggest good neck stretches?

fiona said...

hi, its very informative, Neck Injury , thanks