Shannon Stacey

Just don’t tell my husband

One of the primary reasons my husband resisted our buying the 27″ iMac for so long was that I rarely worked at the desk. That was due to the fact my shoulders and neck would kill me if I spent more than a half-hour there.

Long story short: I had the chair too high. I liked it up there but, ergonomically, it was a horror show. Thanks to Twitter, I found a comfortable spot, with my knees and elbows making right angles and my neck neutral. I found myself working at the desk a little more and my husband finally realized resistance is, in fact, futile and home we came with the big iMac.

A couple weeks in, it’s not going well. I’ve got the right angles and the neutral neck. I don’t have pain in my shoulders and neck, or hot pokers jabbing between my shoulder blades. But once I get up from the desk at the end of the day, my lower back starts spasming. If I stay straight, I’m fine. But if I bend and then straighten, my lower back freaks the hell right out, just long enough to steal my breath and cause me to make noises that scare the dogs, and then it eases until I bend or sit again. By about 9:30 or so, it starts clearing up and I’m fine when I go to bed.

So I’m curled up on the couch with my Macbook and my dogs, while the iMac sleeps. Just don’t tell my husband.

3 comments to “Just don’t tell my husband”

  1. Karen B
      · January 10th, 2012 at 10:36 pm · Link

    Hi Shannon,
    I was a legal secretary for over 10 years before I had kids and I had terrible trouble with headaches, sore neck and back. I sought treatment from a physiotherapist who came out to the office to check out my work station. He gave me a couple of tips as to how to alleviate some of my problems.
    Firstly, your wrists should be slightly lower than your elbows, kind of hard to explain, start with a 90 degree angle and then dip your hands a little. Its a little harder to do that with a laptop whilst sitting at a desk.
    I also had a cushion made for my chair that was really inexpensive and it was kind of shaped like a wedge. The bit that was toward the back of the chair was maybe 3 inches high and then went all the way to the front of the chair til it was at a point. I’m not very good at explaining this I can tell but you might get some idea. It just made me sit a little straighter.
    The best thing he told me to do was at the end of the day when I got home was to roll up a hand towel, lay down on the floor and place the rolled up hand towel on the floor across ways so that when you lay down it follows your bra line. Then you lay there for just a few minutes and it kind of stretches all your muscles back to where they should be. I still do this 11 years later and its amazing how good it feels. He said you spend all day with your muscles hunching forward and its great to get them pulling back the way they should be.
    None of this may be of help to you but thought I’d share my experience.
    I just got my print copy of Exclusively Yours from Book Depository yesterday and it is so nice to see it in print.

  2. Chrissy
      · January 11th, 2012 at 12:57 am · Link

    I also work entirely on a lappy. I actually got rid of my desktop not too long ago. I really can’t sit up straight like that when I get home. I work 10 hour days in front of the computer, and that is bad enough. Sooooo….I do my best work on my lappy in my recliner. Curling up to WRITE a good book is just the same as curling up to READ one. Glad to see I’m not the only one. :)

  3. Shannon
      · January 11th, 2012 at 10:42 am · Link

    Awesome tips, Karen! Thank you so much for sharing them because I really do want to work at my desk. I need that mental switch. Desk = work.

    I think because I work at home, I also really want to separate my work and my relaxing time, which is one reason I’d like to work at my desk. Then, when I sit on my couch, I can watch TV or read without feeling like I should be working.

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