Posts Tagged ‘neck pain’

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Check out this amazingly well designed and useful tablet stand, the Satechi R1 Arm Hinge HolderStand! Only about $49 on Amazon here. This stand allows you to tilt your tablet at a comfortable viewing angle and work hands free.

R1 Tablet Stand

Product Design

Satechi R1 is a desktop stand for any 7″ to 10″ tablet. Constructed from solid aluminum, the R1’s supporting grips are finished in rubber to hold your tablet securely in place. It’s compatible with most tablet cases. The R1 will hold your tablet at the right height and angle you determine to be for desktop use – useful for working with a Bluetooth keyboard, watching movies or video conferencing.

Technical Details

  • Compatible with 7″ to 10″ tablets:
    iPad 2,
    ASUS Eee Pad Transformer,
    Motorola Xoom,
    Samsung Galaxy Tab,
    Galaxy 10.1,
    ViewSonic gTablet,
    BlackBerry Playbook,
    HTC Flyer
  • Solid aluminum construction with rubber pads that hold surface for your tablet
  • Put your tablet in Portrait, Landscape or Flat-Angled orientation, change Height or Angle.
  • 270 degree mount hinge, 180 degree base hinge, folds away compactly into its pouch
  • Package includes: R1 Stand, pouch, user manual with 1 year warranty

Amazon reviewers say:

Bic: This holder was better than I expected.

Nicely machined aluminum with pads in the right places. Very good industrial design. Stiff enough to hold my Asus Transformer tablet securely in place in any viewing angle, but not so stiff as to make adjusting difficult

Fully deserves 5 stars.

Susan A. Ferraglio: The r1 stand is well built, sturdy yet of moderate size. The included carrying pouch is a nice added touch. I like the stand because it has protective rubber linings at all the contact points for the iPad. There are so many comfortable positions for typing landscape or portrait mode. In a folded position the iPad is close to the table surface for typing at a desk, the stand can be raised so the iPad can be held up for movie viewing or photo slide shows.

I use a Bear Motion leather iPad case (which I love) which I DO NOT have to remove when using the stand, Great convenience !

This stand is versatile because other electronics can be used as well. The iPhone fits nicely. It can held high for more comfort.

I also used my 13″ laptop in it but the joints were not strong enough to hold the laptop up high. It worked well when the stand was closed. The laptop was kept at a comfortable angle for use at a desk.

My only concern is the strength of the joints. They are very tight now. They easily hold up the iPad without moving. Over time they may weaken and I don’t see an easy way to tighten them if needed. Hopefully that will be a long way off. Build quality is very good. The finish is a satin-smooth finish – very even and clean.
I would definitely recommend this stand for its versatility, size and multiple positions.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Massage therapists see many people with neck and shoulder pain. In the U.S., a large proportion of people either work at a computer all day. A pain pattern I see commonly from those that place their keyboards far away from the edge of the desk and set papers in front of them on the desk before the keyboard. Then they lean far over the paper to type. This can result in tight and painful muscles in the middle of the back.

An easy and inexpensive fix for this is to buy a document holder and use it to stand your papers or books upright, at a slight angle so that you can see your documents and still have your keyboard closer to you as you type. I’ve provided a list of the best document stands I could find on Amazon below.

Jasmine Book Stand (Bookstand / Bookstands / Holder / Cookbook / Music)

$29.99 at Amazon click here.

Amazon reviewers say:

• This book stand is so amazing! As a graduate student, it has made all the difference in the world with my reading and research. It makes it much easier to take notes; it can accommodate quite thick books; it is very sturdy; and, it is a great size. My reading and note taking are happening with greater ease and speed. This is a wonderful product! C roberts

• I have degenerative disc disease in my cervical spine and I can hold my head in only one direction for longer than 5 minutes–straight ahead. I am a student and have a lot of reading to do. This bookstand has saved me a lot of pain and discomfort, allowing me to maintain good posture while I study. I highly recommend this product to anyone with neck pain.  j hunter

• I purchased this stand to hold thick textbooks, and it is exactly what I wanted. As an added benefit, I also use it to hold my computer tablet. Now I’m considering getting another one.  Sydney

• I’m a nursing student, and I got this stand because I was getting neck aches from studying so much. This stand put a prompt end to that! It is sturdy, easy to use, and it works well at my computer desk for my online class. I can easily set my book at a 45 degree angle to my computer screen and a bit to the side, and I can see the screen, the textbook, and have my binder open in front of my screen to follow along during a lecture. It is lightweight and stores fairly flat, too. I love it!  R H May

• I use this bookstand in front of my computer at work to hold file folders while I type letters and reports, etc. It’s excellent for this. Some of the files can be a little thick and heavy; this book stand holds up. It’s made much better than the one I had before that was made from plastic and had bent under the weight of the files over time. I don’t see that happening with this stand. I do wish the tray was slightly deeper to hold even thicker files (or books), but overall I’m very happy with it. In spite of its strength, it is very light weight, but a little bulky if you plan to carry it around with you a lot. I would definitely recommend this book stand to my family and friends.  SS

• This is a steal for $30. The best part is the smooth surface finish and the solid feel of the assembly. The main hinge assembly is made of black plastic, but it is very rigid and the screws are metal. Another great feature is that the stand folds up flat so that you can put it in a backpack or a large notebook bag. I went to the library today and whipped it out onto a desk. The clips that hold the pages in place are nice too: firm enough to keep the pages down but not too strong so as to be a nuisance when turning pages. I’m definitely recommending this to all my friends who are students or who are serious readers.  Mpay

Fellowes Kopy-Aid Black Letter Copyholder (11053)

$24.88 at Amazon, click here.

I like this stand because its affordable and because it’s metal, it is most likely easier to write on if you need to take notes.

Amazon reviewers say:

• Top of the line document holder. I use the Fellowes Kopy-Aid both at home and work. I’d be lost without it. I do accounting and bookkeeping entries and nothing beats the moveable magnetic line guide. I highly recommend the Fellowes Kopy-Aid. J. Ferrero “MontanaJoe”

• I purchased this after my plastic on broke for the second time. It is very stable and won’t be likely to break or turn over like the ones I have used previously. I like the way the magnetic line guide fits at the side. Easy to use on one sheet or 20 semi-rumpled sheets. Patricia Adcock

• This item was pretty sturdy and help avoid a stiff neck when copying something. It was delivered on time and in good condition. The price is right. Edgardo P. Yamsuan

Portabook Message Board and Multifunctional Book and Laptop Stand (Light Gray)

Price on Amazon $12.99 click here.

Amazon reviewers say:

• This is the 4th or 5th Portabook I’ve purchased. I recommend them to massage clients and give them to friends and family. The Portabook is lightweight and easy to pack into a backpack along with laptop. It holds books, papers and lap taps easily. A set of coated rubber bands holds large books or a laptop keyboard in place. Using the Portabook relieves neck and shoulder pain caused by looking down at papers and books. It can also be used to hold a laptop at an angle that is easier to viewing the screen. However, it’s best to plug-in an extended keyboard in this setup or you ave to type with your arms up to your shoulders!

We only broke one Portabook after 2 years of constant use. For such an inexpensive and lightweight product 2 years of use is pretty good. I highly recommend the Portabook if you want an easy way to hold books and papers at an angle while you read. Wellness Woman

Roberts 732310000 Book Holder

$35.25 at Amazon click here.

Fellowes Flex Arm Weighted Base Copyholder Platinum/Graphite

$26.23 at Amazon, click here.

I am leery of this stand but it does offer the flexibility of allowing you to position your document where its easiest for you to view. the down side is that the stand takes up a lot of room and that these types of arms tend to be flimsy and break often as noted by Amazon reviewers.

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Bundle Up! Image via Wikipedia

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I speak to clients all the time about neck and shoulder pain. I’ve posted many different tips on self massage and workplace tools to help keep you from getting sore and painful neck and shoulders. In the depths of the Chicago winter, I also tell people to keep their necks and heads covered and warm.

When we are too cold, we tend to hunch our shoulders up and this can create tension in the upper back and base of the neck.So wrap an extra scarf around your beck if you need to. Keep your zippers zipped all the way up and add an extra hat or hoodie to keep cold drafts off your neck. Want more tips, read on below.

Read how to bundle up for winter from Ehow here.

Here’s a fun article from Ecofriendly.com on making your own Knit Scarf. Click here for all the woolly details.

Read Chinese medicine tips on keeping your neck and waist warm in winter and why. For the full article at the Examiner, click here.

Read create tips n staying warm int he winter here from Outtakes.com.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Orbus Low Back Seat Support

Recently I’ve had a lot of questions from clients about modifying their desks and workstations to help reduce back and neck pain. So I thought I’d list the top posts for ergonomic workspace solutions in one location.  If you have an uncomfortable chair or need a keyboard tray but your desk doesn’t easily allow for one, read the posts listed below from this blog.

Fit Your Keyboard to You Not You to Your Keyboard!

Save Your Back with a Backrest for Car and Office

Backrest For the Above Average in Height That Need Head and Neck Support

Backrest for Short and Medium Height People

Great Backrest for People of Wider Girth and Gamers Too!

Pair Your Backrest with a Great Seat Cushion

Footrests for the Vertically Challenged

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I have a number of corporate clients that come in for short tune up massages on either the chair or massage table each week. Invariably I hear the same complaints: my neck hurts, my shoulders hurt, my head hurts. Then I ask them, aside from computer work, do you have a smart phone? (iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc.) Often the answer for those with the worst neck pain is: yes.

Megan Bubenyak, offered to let me photograph her in the “bad” iPhone viewing position, then in the modified, more comfortable position I recommend for smart phone viewing on the bus, train or subway.

In the first pic, Megan’s head is leaning too far forward and her arms are doing all the work to hold the phone up to her face.

Poor Smart Phone Ergonomics

In this second pic, Megan has balanced a backpack on her lap and uses it to wedge her elbows in. In this position, she can sit more upright, more comfortably hold her phone in front of her face and her arms and shoulder’s don’t have to do all the work to hold the phone up.

Better Smart Phone viewing position on public trans

If you don’t have a backpack, a purse will do. If you have neither, go ahead and invest in a cheap backpack and a small travel pillow. Stuff the pillow in the backpack and then viola! You have a comfy portable smart phone holder that is lightweight and as a bonus, it holds “stuff” for you too!

Close up of comfy backpack smart phone holder position

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Common shot of iPad showing only users lap. Image from Flickr.

By Sue Shekut, Owner,  Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist,  Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I’ve been noticing iPad advertisements all over town. I see iPads on billboards, ads on my computer and on television. Notice how the ads don’t show people sitting and using the iPad. They show people’s laps and legs and then a close up the iPad. Hmm, why hide the necks and shoulders of iPad users? My guess, because sitting hunched over a small but relatively heavy iPad makes people look pretty uncomfortable.

Ned Batchelder has a great post on the ergonomic issues of the new iPad here. Ned shows a video of someone using the iPad to make slides that shows just how awkward it is to use the iPad for data creation. Commenters say that hey, the iPad isn’t designed to be a data creation device but a data consumption device.  Do we really need separate devices for each use?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Apple fan. I’ve been using Macs since they first came out (Does anyone remember the old SE30’s with the 9″ monochrome monitor. That’s where I started. And interestingly enough that’s about the time I started needing to see a chiropractor, too.) But as slick as Apple’s touch screen iPod’s and iPad s are and are, they really cause a world of hurt for users’ necks and shoulders.

Whats Wrong With iPad?

1. iPad/iPod devices are small and relatively lightweight. So at first glance you may think, hey, it won’t hurt me, it’s a device under 1 pound. But that one pound gets pretty heavy if you hold it up over time.

Try this exercise. Hold a 1 pound weight up in front of your body for 5 minutes. Bet you can’t do it. The 60 seconds may be pretty easy. But as the clock ticks, the weight gets heavier and heavier. Now think about holding that weight for an hour. Two hours.  Even try holding just a real apple for ten minutes in front of you. (An edible apple I mean.) After a while your arm gets too heavy. It’s not so much the weight of the apple or the device that gets you. It’s the weight of holding your arm in front of you for long periods.

A Woman Named Rachel "holding" the Apple logo. Image from Flickr, luckmontague's photostream.

Even though the woman above is not holding any weights, just keeping her arm up will make her arm and shoulders fatigue. quickly. It’s unlikely you anyone would use their iPad in this position, but it gives you an idea of how heavy your arm can be.

2. The “iDevices” are small and to see the screen you have to bend over them. Your neck has to crane to position your eyes over the keypad. I watched a client use her new iPad yesterday. Even though she was sitting in a comfy overstuffed chair, with her legs up, resting the iPad on my knees, she still had to lean far forward and look down at the device.   Thanks Apple for keeping massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors and orthopedic docs busy for years to come!

Even Steven Jobs will need  a neck and shoulder massage after using the iPad!  Notice in the photo below that he is holding the iPad in his hands away from his lap unlike ads for the iPad where we see people holding the iPad on their laps. It’s a trade off in whether his neck gets tired faster from craning forward or his arms and shoulders from holding the iPad closer to his face.

Even Steve Jobs Looks Uncomfortable Using the iPad Image from curiouslee at Flickr.

3. The touch screen is “cool” but it requires you to move your arm in front of your body at an awkward angle. using a keyboard already causes users to tighten their pectoral (chest) muscles a great deal. Tighter pectoral muscles often leads to muscle tension in muscles in the upper back and neck. Why? These back muscles have to compensate for the pec muscles literally pulling your body forward.

Notice how the young man pictured below is leaning far forward over his keyboard? He is engaging his pectoral muscles and the muscles in the back of his neck and upper back are straining to hold him upright. I feel safe to say he may have some neck and shoulder pain from this position. You may think your posture is much better than his But then thick about how you sit if you work on a iPad or iPod!

Image from NatBat at Flickr

I don’t doubt that the new iPad will necessitate a whole slew of new products designed to hold your iPad at a more ergonomic position. Until these come out, I recommend you use the good old Porta Book to hold your iPad at a comfortable viewing angle. The Posta Book is inexpensive, about $20, and lightweight. And it’s available here.

Or if you have a common house cat, you can make use of your pet as an iPad holder. One man did in the pic below!

Image from Flickr.

More articles on iPad ergonomics

The ErgoLab’s Apple iPad Part Deux: Don’t Shoot The Messenger
Donald Clack Plan B, iPAD: ergonomic disaster – end of story

The ErgoLab: The Apple iPad; this Apple has a few worms.

Business Inside SAI: Apple Still Hasn’t Fixed The Big Problem With The iPad: It Looks Really Uncomfortable To Use

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Stretching throughout the workday is essential for good health.

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ASCM Personal Trainer

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve been sitting at a computer for an extended period of time.  Did you know that sitting still for a long time can cause serious health damage? OSHA says that maintaining static postures, such as viewing the monitor, for a prolonged period of time without taking a break can fatigue the muscles of the neck and shoulder that support the head. Additionally, OSHA recommends that repetitive tasks or jobs that require long periods of static posture incorporate several, short rest breaks (micro breaks or rest pauses). During these breaks you should stand, stretch, and move around. This provides rest and allows the muscles enough time to recover. Read the excerpt from Susan Seliger”s article “Stretching Exercises at Your Desk: 12 Simple Tips” at WebMD for a few of the stretches you can easily perform in your workplace to keep limber throughout the day.

Stretching Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

  1. Just stand up and sit down — no hands
    • You might have gotten a gold star in preschool for sitting still, but it just goes to show you (best sellers notwithstanding) that not all of us learned everything we need to know in kindergarten. “If you stand up and sit down (over and over) — without using your hands — it can be a challenge,” says Smith. It’s like doing mini-squats!
  2. Substitute exercise for sitting — while you work
    • Get rid of your desk chair and substitute an exercise ball, suggests Smith. “I used it for a while when I was having low-back problems; it was great,” Smith says. “All day you are engaging all the muscles in the back, legs, butt, everything, to stay balanced.”
  3. Shrug your shoulders — to release the neck and shoulders
    • Inhale deeply and shrug your shoulders, lifting them high up to your ears. Hold. Release and drop. Repeat three times.
    • Shake your head slowly, yes and no.
  4. Loosen the hands with air circles
    • Clench both fists, stretching both hands out in front of you.
    • Make circles in the air, first in one direction, to the count of ten.
    • Then reverse the circles.
    • Shake out the hands.
  5. Point your fingers — good for hands, wrist, and forearms
    • Stretch your left hand out in front of you, pointing fingers toward the floor. Use your right hand to increase the stretch, pushing your fingers down and toward the body. Be gentle.
    • Do the same with the other hand.
    • Now stretch your left hand out straight in front, wrist bent, with fingers pointing skyward. Use your right hand to increase the stretch, pulling the fingers back toward your body.
    • Do the same on the other side.
  6. Release the upper body with a torso twist
    • Inhale and as you exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of your chair with your right hand, and grab the arm of the chair with your left.
    • With eyes level, use your grasp on the chair to help twist your torso around as far to the back of the room as possible. Hold the twist and let your eyes continue the stretch — see how far around the room you can peer.
    • Slowly come back to facing forward.
    • Repeat on the other side.
  7. Do leg extensions — work the abs and legs
    • Grab the seat of your chair to brace yourself and extend your legs straight out in front of you so they are parallel to the floor.
    • Flex and point your toes five times. Release.
    • Repeat.
  8. Stretch your back with a “big hug”
    • Hug your body, placing the right hand on your left shoulder and the left hand on your right shoulder.
    • Breathe in and out, releasing the area between your shoulder blades.
  9. Cross your arms — for the shoulders and upper back
    • Extend one arm out straight in front of you. With the other hand, grab the elbow of the outstretched arm and pull it across your chest, stretching your shoulder and upper back muscles.
    • Hold. Release.
    • Stretch out the other arm in front of you — repeat.
  10. Stretch your back and shoulders with a “leg hug”
    • Sit on the edge of your chair (if it has wheels, wedge the chair against the desk or wall to make sure it does not roll). Put your feet together, flat on the floor.
    • Lean over, chest to knees, letting your arms dangle loosely to the floor. Release your neck.
    • Now bring your hands behind your legs, right hand grasping left wrist, forearm (or elbow if you can reach that far), left hand grasping the right. Feel the stretch in your back, shoulders and neck. Hold.
    • Release your hands to the floor again.
    • Repeat three times or as often as it feels good.
  11. Look up to release upper body
    • Sit up tall in your chair, or stand up. Stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers.
    • Turn the palms to the ceiling as you lift your chin up, tilt your head back, and gaze up at the ceiling, too.
    • Inhale, exhale, release.
  12. Substitute walks for email — and don’t eat at your desk
    • Instead of emailing a colleague “and copying 25 people who don’t want to be copied anyway,” Smith says, “walk over to the colleague you really want to talk to.”

    Read the rest of the article at WebMD.

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