Here I sit in a long line to get into the United States to pick up my much anticipated ‘stand-up’ chair at a fedex depot in Bellingham. I’ve searched long and hard for yet another option for me to use while writing and illustrating, and of course I couldn’t find anything like it in Canada. If you’re like me, you’ve had issues with back pain resulting from the hours spent in a sitting position. So to avoid the delays and paying for the shipping costs, we drove to visit my son in Vancouver, are now dropping across the border for some shopping at the strip malls, and at the same time we will up my chair at a fedex depot.
Oh, how I took those pain-free sitting hours for granted when I was younger! I would spend almost the whole day, totally engrossed in whatever project I was working on, be it writing my fiction stories, illustrating a book, or researching for that book or a writing project. Little did I know about the afflictions I would soon have from those hours of sitting, and just plain age related changes to my lower back.
Now, I know more than I ever wanted to know how the sitting position is probably the worst for backs. My trips to see physiotherapists, chiropractors, x-ray clinics, surgeons, acupuncturists, naturopaths, personal weight trainers, etc. have given me a good idea what works and doesn’t work for my particular problem. But enough whining, here are some of the solutions I’ve come up with!
1) To decrease the strain on my lower back, health professionals and friends have suggested certain exercises. When I stick to them, (I also have an arsenal of excuses why I don’t stick to my exercises all the time) they help to strengthen the small muscles around the spine so it isn’t taking the whole brunt of the sitting abuse.
2) Drugs! Yes, I take ‘em: herbal anti-inflammatories, glucosamine, MSM, topical creams as well as my prescribed drugs. I do hate them though, so I only take them when needed, or I have a deadline of some sort.
3) I have a stand-up desk to go along with my stand-up chair! Or I simply stand and work making sure I support my arms so my shoulders don’t become my next problem area!
4) I limit my time of pure sitting to about a half hour before I get up and wander about, get a snack, do some stretches etc. Anything to change it up.
5) I have an amazing inflatable ball that I sit on. This is great in that you can change your position by rolling slightly on it, mobilizing your back and strengthening it at the same time.
6) I have a kneeling chair! This distributes your weight on to your knees and puts your back in a slightly curved position. (Which I’m told is good)
7) And now, last but not least, my stand-up chair! It is still eagerly awaiting its new owners in Bellingham. So to show you what it looks like, I copied a picture off the Ergodirect.com site. (It also converts into a kneeling chair, which of course I don’t really need as I already have one.) But the leaning position is great because you aren’t putting your back into the dreaded sitting position, while it distributes your weight down your back to your feet as you stand.
I have also heard of treadmill desks whereupon people can work while walking slowly. This would be great, except many things I need to do require my body to be completely still. (i.e. illustrating.)
So…. Your turn! Have you found anything that helps you work at a computer?