Forum Owners, Beware of Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain!

DChapman

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May 20, 2004
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DChapman submitted a new Article:

Forum Owners, Beware of Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain!

We're here because we're trying to make our forums successful. Articles on SEO, useful hacks, and monetization can be seen left and right. But I recently learned that back, neck, and shoulder pain can set a forum owner back a great deal on their quest for improvement.

I operate a few forums and run a company that requires me to spend upwards of 12-20 hours a day in front of the computer. Unfortunately, our bodies were not made to sit for such long durations. And as I recently found out, if you do not take proper precautions, back pain, shoulder pain, and/or neck pain will present themselves with a fury. I am here to warn you so you can avoid the same fate as me.

Me as of last night:

neck_pain.jpg
(image will be back soon, moving servers)

The pain actually started a couple months ago. A twinge here, a throb there, but nothing too bad. Then it got a little worse and I would take various over the counter pain killers on occasion. I'm not sure if I was too stupid or stubborn to change my habits (probably both) but as of two weeks ago, I found myself to be in some of the worst pain of my life. I literally could not sit in a chair without pain shooting down my arm and through the right side of my skull. My shoulder and back were one solid mass of spasming muscles. My productivity was dropping fast, but I had forums and a company to run! I finally made an appointment to see a doctor.

Long story short, I sit here typing this article in a cervical collar. I am on enough pain killers to knock out a rabid elephant on PCP. And a little stock market tip: buy whatever company makes Ben Gay, because I personally will account for an enormous increase in their quarterly earnings. I don't want any of your to suffer this same fate. I can't articulate how miserable it is and how much it will affect your productifity. Not only will YOU suffer, your forum will suffer.

I'm certainly no doctor and you should always consult a trained professional, but I have learned a few things as i've done research to ensure that this never happens to me again:

1. A good chair is worth its weight in gold. I was personally using the $49.95 Stapes Rebate brand computer chair. I have since come to find out that I shouldn't have been sitting in this chair for more than 16.8 seconds at a time. There is something called, "ergonomically designed furniture" which is a fancy name for "chairs that aren't designed by...

Read more about this article here...
 
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bulbclick44

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Feb 19, 2006
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Sorry to hear about your pains :(

Thank you for sharing those tips. My current computer desk only just has room for my keyboard as its not very deep. After this i think i will look into an erganomic keyboard and chair.

Hope you feel better soon!

Rick
 

lemm

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Aug 9, 2005
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I suddenly started sitting up straight as I read...>< whoa. Hope you get well soon.
 

PalePhoenix

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Dec 11, 2005
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Owwie. Hmm. Sounds like a nerve being pinched. Your posture was OK the last time I saw you (though you might just have been 'at attention' for other reasons). Indeed, sitting position can have a cumulative effect--like carpal tunnel can build up--but I've had pains similar to those you describe, and found they came about more as a result of sleeping in some funny way or with my head at an odd angle. By any chance, do you sleep on a futon, or have you tried any "sun salutations" whilst tipsy/over-tired?
 

Megan

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Jun 30, 2005
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I also occasionally suffer from repetitve stress injuries. Here are my tips:

  • If you start to feel pain, cut back on your computer time immediately. Better to stop the problem now before it gets worse.
  • Also start doing stretches for half an hour a day (look online for stretches to do). You should also stretch areas that are related to your injured area (i.e. if your neck hurts, stretch on your back as well; if it's your wrists then stretch your shoulders and neck).
  • install break reminder software on your computer. This will pop-up a little message at specified intervals to remind you to take a break
  • Make sure your keyboard is at the right height. Invest in an adjustable tray if necessary. I find that almost on my lap is best for me.
 

Teknomancer

Tekno Sorcerer
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Dec 24, 2005
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Nice article, after programmers, forum owners are great contenders for getting such physical pain due to long hours, stress and all that stuff.
 

RoughOcean

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Oct 19, 2005
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Thanks

Thanks for this article, it is very timely for me. I have just started having some neck pains and I thought they might be workstation related.
Can you get the good kind of chair you are talking about at Staples or are they all bad there?
 

silkie

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Apr 14, 2006
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I can relate to what you're going through. A couple of years ago I started having this burning going up the sides of my neck and into my head and it was causing unbelievable migrains. then it spread across my shoulds and of course the carpel tunnel in the arms started flaring up. I did the exedrine thing and then finally saw a doctor. had x-rays and long story short my c-spine is straightening. now I can't hold a small pot of water, peel potatos or other things that require good hand/wrist strength. I just don't have any and after a couple of minutes of repetitive movement the hand goes numb and I'm not capable of holding anything.

This may not be the typical article found posted here, however it is oh so necessary. it does affect your work, productivity and other areas of your life too. I'd like to thank you for posting this and hopefully it will get someone's attention.
 

[Zoints]Paul Kemp

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Feb 6, 2006
Messages
196
Dave is right, as he often is in areas of personal experience. I, sadly, have longer standing pain issues in these areas, and I actually just started physical therapy again to fight back while I've got bennies ;)


I hate physical therapy :(

Dave, you should buy me a real good chair :azh:
The ball just isn't ergonomic for me right now.
 

jstep

Participant
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Mar 23, 2006
Messages
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I definately didnt follow some of those tips before, I slouched alot, will have to work on it now
 

Corn dog

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Apr 16, 2006
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I am with you. I spent till 3:00 AM last night fixing some mySQL errors and the next day my fingers and my left arm really could not move. It has let out a bit but it is killing me right now.
 

zix

Adherent
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Feb 27, 2005
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damn, started to get a really bad shoulder pain.
 

cpvr

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Sep 17, 2005
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That's why I work out now, but neck, my back, and my shoulder has been fine.
 

Jagannath

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Aug 7, 2006
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Even i'm wearing cervical collar now.... but thats altogether a different story.... had a spinal cord surgery but for some other reason and not bcos of sitting b4 the computer for long time........
 

KarlH

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Apr 7, 2006
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I've covered this in ICT, interesting subject. It's amazing what slouching in a chair for hours on end can do to you.
 

ILTK

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Aug 8, 2005
Messages
388
Yeah definately take care of your body, I have a Herman Miller Aeron chair and it's the best thing I ever got for the office, my back and neck was killing me for years and it's mostly gone now, best chair ever made.

Another thing that most people don't think about is your monitor, if you work long hours staring at a screen get the best TFT you can afford, I had a pretty good crt that could run at 100Hertz but my eyes still got tired, after I got a good TFT it did wonders, no more headaches. If you use a CRT make sure you set it to the highest Hertz it can handle, anything below 75 is murder on your eyes.
 
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