Question: I developed pain in the neck and shoulders 8 years ago, took many painkillers and continued computing with a very heavy workload for another 2 years until I was in severe pain all the time. I had trigger thumb, tennis elbow, cramp and severe neck pain. I was then forced to give up my job and haven’t worked since. I am now left with neck pain which ranges from nonexistent to severe in the space of a few minutes depending on what I am doing.
The worst thing is bending my neck to read or composing e-mails like this! At the moment I can feel the pain spreading across my shoulders. Usually after a short computer session I have to take painkillers. I wonder if I am addicted to the computer or the painkillers!! Does anyone have any thoughts on computer addiction?
Answer 1: If it’s computer addiction then we’re in the same boat. I’m not willing to give it up. and I don’t have to. I’ve done things right, from equipment to exercise and I’ve got my rsi and back problems under control. But that sounds like nothing compared to what you seem to be going through. I’m sure you already know this but, if you can, get yourself one of them damn expensive ergonomic chairs. They are worth it.
Test-ride it as long as they will let you. Only days of sitting in it will show whether it’s the right one for you. The one I use at work was designed by a physiotherapist and cost my very appreciated employer A3430. There are chairs for lower and upper back support. I have no idea if this will help you but it sounds like you are not very comfortable. What’s your workstation like?
Answer 2: If you are bending your neck to read emails, then it sounds as if you could benefit from raising your monitor to eye level, get someone to raise your monitor by putting reams of paper or a big fat telephone directory under it. Otherwise, try voice recognition software, it has come on leaps and bounds since the early days, I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking 5, it has a fat and comprehensive manual, and works with any programme that runs in windows.
With it I can send + receive emails, play music , surf the net, it can also read emails for you(with a choice of voices), use spreadsheets, wp , you name it does it, all I have to do is turn me computer on, unleash my dragon and I am working with my voice from then on. It learns by reading text files you have written, unfortunately this also means, if you was a sloppy speller before , it will also pick up and remember all your spelling mistakes, but you can edit those out.
( I just have been too dam lazy to do so) It took about 15 minutes to get it recognizing my voice, that’s all. But I would recommend raising your monitor, (or lowering your seat) so you do not have to bend your neck to read stuff.