Writers and Ergonomics

If you are a professional writer that spends many hours sitting at your keyboard pounding away at the keys to produce written product you have probably become painfully aware (pun intended) of the need to pay attention to the way you hold your body when you work.

Recently I started to deal with numb fingers, primarily in one hand, tendonitis in both shoulders, and lower back tension which has affected a nerve in the outside of my right thigh. Does any of this sound familiar to your situation?

Because I did not want to give up my new and successful freelance writing career I decided it was time to hire a professional ergonomics specialist. As I was seeing a physical therapist (PT) for the shoulder tendonitis, I asked for a referral to a physical therapist who made ergonomic house calls. It was well worth the $130 for the one hour appointment.

The PT sat with me as I worked, and for the first ten minutes took notes and also measured the distance of numerous things, such as the distance of the top of my desk from the ground, the distance of my elbows from the ground, the distance to the top of my head from the ground and the distance of the top of my two monitor from the ground. She observed my position in my chair as well as the configuration of the dual monitors I work on. Then she made her recommendations.

My new sit-stand desk with an under-table adjustable, forward tilting keyboard tray arrives today, my new chair is about two weeks away from arrival, my left monitor has been lowered so the top of the two monitors is equal and neither are above eye-level, and my new split keyboard, though it has taken me about two weeks to get used to, has provided a measure of relief from the wrist problems. Also consider an ergonomic mouse, where the wrist is in a more natural, tension free position. Lastly, if you don't already have a super comfortable mattress, consider memory foam style mattress or mattress pad to help relieve shoulder compression while sleeping.

If you are beginning to experience any physical discomfort from sitting for so many hours at your keyboard, it's time do some research and find the combination of equipment and exercises that will allow you to work in a pain-free fashion. Don't wait too long, after all we have to inhabit out bodies for a long time and you might as well do it in comfort!

Share this post