Sep 30, 2013

I Feel Bad About My Neck

I feel bad about my neck…and my jaw and my temple and my shoulder. So bad that I have a physical therapist who periodically tries to ease my upper right quadrant into peaceful submission.  I’ve had several appointments with her and recently she started pressing the idea that maybe, just maybe, there were things I could do that would prevent my body parts from freezing up in pain. 

According to Miss Smarty Pants, plopping my MacBook Air on my desktop and hunching over it for four to five hours a day is not good for my aforementioned neck, jaw, shoulder, etc. A big word was bandied about: ergonomics. Somehow I (aren’t I the victim here?) was partially responsible for my pain.  Well, I never!

Did you know that your head is ten percent of your body weight? Every time you bend your head forward it’s like you’re dangling a sack of potatoes out front and using the rest of your body as a counterweight.  Since I often have the brain function of a ten-pound sack of potatoes this seems like an apt analogy to what I’m doing to myself.

The physical therapist gave me homework: get myself a platform to raise my computer screen up to eye level and a wireless keyboard to replace the one on the computer. With this new set-up I will become an ergonomic poster child! Using my laptop and my bad-for-me posture, I looked at platforms and keyboards online.  Then I called the Apple store and discovered that their prices were actually cheaper.  My sore jaw almost dropped to the ground. 

I drove over to the Apple store and it was, as usual, packed with energetic customers trying to buy the latest technology, little old lady customers getting lessons in using the latest technology, and much less excited customers trying to get their broken technology to work again. And there were nearly as many sales staff, all dressed in Godawful blue tee shirts, engaged in conversation with the myriad customers.  It was hard to blaze a path though all the people. If the economy is in the toilet, you would never know it from the interior of an Apple store. 

One hundred and thirty dollars later I had my assembly-required computer stand, a wireless keyboard, and instructions on setting up Blue Tooth.  It was just after I set them up and I tried to click on an onscreen option that I realized I had to reach up to use the mouse pad in the center of the computer keyboard.  My head was no longer doing its sack-of-potatoes imitation but my hand was now doing its two-year-old-trying-to-get-a-cookie-off-the-table imitation.   Seems I also need a new mouse.