My Neck is Killing Me... I Need Ergonomic Suggestions

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by SamIchi, May 14, 2007.

  1. SamIchi macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2004
    The past month my neck has had this kink, I can't really turn my head in certain directions and I think it's because of the way I work on my computer. My right shoulder, right where it connects to my neck feels extremely sore, especially when I lift it to use my mouse.

    I have a MB and it's only slighlty raised by some books under it. I think it's a combination of me constantly looking at a downward angle and my right arm slightly higher than it should be. I had an eMac before this and didn't encounter any problems. I don't want to get a new desk, but a new chair with a height option would be doable. You guys got any tips? I was also thinking of gettin a stand for my MB, any cheap ones? There's the mStand for $50.
  2. joshmv macrumors member


    May 14, 2007
    I have a brother that is a big fan of an ergonomic chair, I'll have to ask him the name of it. I would say raising up your MB would be a good idea so your not looking down all the time, I've seen the swivel type, but haven't run across any that raise it up. You might just run by staples and see if they've got anything.
  3. macmama macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2006
    New Jersey
    I'll be watching this thread along with you, Sam. I contort myself in all sorts positions (mostly laying on my stomach on my bed with the MB on the nightstand) and have been having too many neck and headaches lately.

    My husband likes the iCurve by Griffin.
  4. peterjhill macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    I have an icurve also, my mbp tends to slide down. Otherwise okay.

  5. sonarghost macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2006
    I am a casino poker dealer and I always have neck and back problems from my job so I know the pain as well...

    I would suggest going to a chiropractor to first of all be adjusted and second of all to get advice on your posture on the computer, in bed, ect..

    Most of your neck problems comes from your head position (like when looking at a computer monitor) if your head is kept in a forward position, looking downward, for a long period of time it is very hard on your neck. It is the equivelant of tilting a 15 pound bowling ball for several hours on your neck!

    It is also a bad idea to lay on your stomach even when you are sleeping because it is hard on the neck as well..
  6. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007
    get a dads a chiropractor and he's really good at what he does
  7. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    An external keyboard helps a lot, if you haven't one already.

    With a laptop, either the screen is too low and close, either the keyboard is too far (hence a bad position, hurting the neck and back)

    I'd go for an ergonomic pillow too, if you sleep on a side.
    Avoid sleeping face down, especially if you already have neck or back problems.
    I know what it is, and I'm sorry for you. :(
  8. aLoC macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2006
    A chiropractor is not a medical doctor, but a form of alternative medicine. Some people think they are quacks, some don't. Buyer beware.

    First you have to find out exactly what is causing it, so be systematic about it. If you think it might be the height of your arm, change only that for a few weeks. If that does nothing, then change one other thing. Try to isolate exactly what part of your sitting position is to blame.

    Then the rest is easy, just buy whatever you need to allow you to avoid that position.
  9. sonarghost macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2006

    I do understand what you are saying about chiropractors; however, my main suggestion is to find out from someone with years of training to provide some direction for what to do.
    As far as the above advice: First of all you are talking about spending WEEKS to isolate a single problem " If that does nothing, then change one other thing. Try to isolate exactly what part of your sitting position is to blame." What if the problem is actually from TWO different factors? You not only wasted alot of time to self diagnose but also spent even more time in pain! To me this is like saying you have something wrong with your car and for me to tell you to change each part till you find out what is wrong with it..sure it could be done like that but paying a professional (be it a chiropractor, medical doctor, specialist) is like hiring a mechanic.
  10. smokeyrabbit macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2005
    Escape from New England
    And soliciting health advice from complete strangers on the internet is preferred because...?
  11. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    In addition to the chiropractor, you might want to find an Alexander technique teacher and see what they say.
  12. peterjhill macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Are you talking about your home computer or a work computer. If it is at work, find out if they have anyone that deals with ergonomic issues. I work at a University and am lucky enough to be able to request an ergonomics assessment. Someone would come over to my office and figure out how to make things better.

    I am considering switching to a standing desk. Coupled with a chair that is raised up with foot support so that I can either stand and work or sit down and still be at the proper height.

    It might sound crazy to stand up all day at work, but being able to switch between the two has got to be better than sitting on my arse all day.

    As for Chiros, my wife swears by hers, but I will hopefully never go to one. She is finding out that doing yoga at least once a week means that she does not feel the need to go to her chiropracter. I'd rather spend the money doing yoga than at a chiro. I wonder why the chiropracter did not recommend yoga. Perhaps he does not want to lose the income from his customers. He might miss a payment on his BMW.
  13. SamIchi thread starter macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2004
    It's at home so there won't be any expert analysis. I'll probably get a stand and wireless keyboard and see what happens.
  14. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    Here's one out of left field: How do you sleep? Are you a belly sleeper? If you are, you're probably turning your head, and if you do this far enough, all night, you'll get a problem.
  15. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    You say you raise your laptop up some on books- do you also type on it that way as well? That is bad if so. Depending on how high your chair and table are, it could be simply that. There are many sites on the internet that go over proper ergonomics- I am sure apple has a page with proper ergonomics as well as most mouse/keyboard companies will too. Check them out and you will be surprised at how many simple things you can change to improve your ergonomic set up.

    edit- here is the apple link with great info Apple Ergonomics

    Resting your wrists is one thing that is bad when typing- I am doing it now ,but I know it is bad for you. There are many other things such as where on your desk you mouse, how high your screen is, how you hold your hand when you are not clicking but just reading, etc that can affect your whole arm, through your neck and into your back.

    See a medical doctor first!!! A chiropractor is not a medical doctor and everyone I know that goes ALWAYS has to keep going to them to get to feeling better. Just my opinion, but I have never known anyone personally who has gone, had them fix their back and never had to return...kind of like crack...once you get it it feels good (so I hear) but you have to keep going back.:D (Those of you with Chriropractor family members and friends- don't rip me- this is just my personal opinion from dozens of friends and family members who frequent a Chiropractor.)

    Anyway, check out those web sites and see what little things you can change right away. If you are able to change several things see how that improves the sitaution and if it doesn't improve in a week or two hit the Dr. office for a consultation. It may require some physical therapy to heal it up whatever you may have damaged.

    good luck
  16. SamIchi thread starter macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2004
    I don't sleep on my belly. I'm pretty sure it's from computer use.

    Well it's raised at an angle so the keyboard is still at a comfortable level. I don't do a lot of typing, mostly PS stuff when I sit at the computer for a long time.

    I would see a doc if I had insurance.... :( Just lost it last month. It seems like I never take advantage of insurance when I have it but when I need it... yea...

    Thanks for the site, I'll give it a look.
  17. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    having your keyboard at an angle if you are doing any considerable typing is really bad for not only your wrists, but it can continue with pain up your arm. They are now recommending that keybaords not be elevated/angled anymore in most situations.

    I understand about the Dr. thing- then you definately don't want to go to a chiropractor cause that payment would probably never end.:rolleyes:

    anyway, good luck- I would get your screen raised even more if possible and use an external keyboard if you need to type much. I had my laptop so low one time that it really kinked my next up- getting a riser has helped. Setting a timer for 15-30 minutes for a quick break is good- especially when doing constant clicking stuff like PHotoshop.

    One thing I tried when my right side was all screwed up was use my left hand to do basic web surfing clicking to give my right arm a break. I wan't talented enough with my left to use it for detailed clicking in Quark and other thing, but for general surfing it was helpful to give my right arm a rest. Just another idea.

    Was your eMac located on the same desk/table? Were you using the same mouse? I would say ergonomic chairs are great, but not necessary if you end up fixing several other things such as screen height, typing situation, table/desk height, etc. Even making sure your feet are on the ground or on a riser is important for posture and can be done easily with an expensive stool, book or just making sure you are sitting with your feet under the desk and on the floor.
  18. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Sep 25, 2004
    If I might add.. I see these things happening all the time - and various treatments such as chiropractors, ergonomic solutions, etc.. however, one forgets that the most important factor that can relieve.. and actually prevent these problems is simple excercise.

    If you can't go to the gym for whatever reasons.. I suggest you do some simple stretching/yoga routines for your neck and back. I am on the computer most of the time, or making music.. and my setup is quite horrid.. yet I never suffer from any problems (nor do some of my colleagues who regularly work out) Hey, if I can do shrugs with 80 lb dumbells all the time.. I know my trapezius muscle is in good shape..

    There was a time when I wouldn't go to gym for months, and all sorts of problems would crop up - neck stiffness due to the way I slept, or lower back problems. Nothing like good, regular workouts to keep your body in shape.
  19. fuzzwud macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2004
    As a person who suffers from recurring stiff neck/pinched nerve problems for the past 15 years, I'd say go see a good chiropractor to help your current problem as a short term solution. It does help for me, or you can live with the sharp pain for a few weeks. Your choice.

    The ultimate cure is finding a more ergonomic solution. You might just want to lay off working on the computer or as much as possible for a few days/weeks. You might want to try using your left hand if you can swing it and if you really really need to use a mouse. Take frequent breaks to stretch or check your posture. It may also require a lifestyle change if it keeps happening. Mine is stress related. Also, drinking lots of water helps the body ride it of the lactic acid buildup.

    For maintenance, you can learn a few physical therapy exercises to stretch that muscle that's in pain. Sit on a chair and tilt your head to the left toward your left shoulder, tilt the other way, and repeat slowly like you're doing reps at a gym. Running helps loosen my shoulders/neck. Acupuncture may work too especially a very experienced one.
  20. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    I totally agree with working out- even if it is simple workouts at home. If you don't have weights or access to weights, you can use cans of soup, stretching, or something...especially if you can develop some good stretches or relaxation things to do during those short breaks I recommended taking while working for long stretches at a time. It isn't necessary to do heavy lifting, but lightweight lifting using several different muscles can help get your arms, shoulders and back in a more balanced state. Sometimes issues can develop when muscles are out of balance so to speak. Meaning one muscle in an area such as the shoulder is much stronger (relative of course) than others in the area.

    Another thought- how is your current stress level? If you have recently increased your stress level that may be a major contributor to your issues.

    Overall though- it sounds like there may not be one cause but there are several things you can do that are simple (and free) to improve the situation.

    to summarize what has been suggested and others I thought of (notice all the ones I list don't really require money- just time and a change of habits):

    1- take breaks
    2- develop an exercise, stretching, relaxation routine
    3- work on developing an ergonomic workstation area
    4- work on developing ergonomic work habits (this is the hardest by far, but usually the most beneficial if you can break those bad habits)
    5- get plenty of sleep
    6- eat healthy- plenty of protien, fluids (especially water), limit caffiene intake

    7- read more on MacRumors in your ergonimic workstation area using your new ergonomic habits, taking breaks between threads while lifting weights, eating a protien bar, drinking water and...well, you can't really do the sleep one while surfin' that will have to come afterwards! OH yeah, use your left hand more!!! :D

    good luck!

Share This Page