Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Question about Ergonomics

As someone who runs her own business and works very hard, I often find that I spend long days (sometimes as much as 16 hours) in front of the computer. Like many translators, editors, and writers, I have suffered from carpal tunnel and other pains in my arms, hands, neck, and back.

I’ve tried different things (physical therapy, buying a more comfortable chair, an ergonomic keyboard, voice-recognition software – well, that was some years ago and I wasn’t patient enough to keep training the software), but I still have the same problems. Now the best thing I’ve come up with is to force myself to step away from the computer and take breaks, either by doing something else in the house or by getting out for a walk. This helps to some extent, but doesn’t really solve my problems.

I saw this website, which offers many products to make your work station more ergonomic. What products do you use and what do you recommend? Do you have any pain-reducing or pain-avoiding tips to share with your fellow translators?


Cora Bastiaansen said...

I have a dog! He takes me out four times a day, and is good company too!


B.J. Epstein said...

Thanks, Cora! What a great idea. I am definitely a dog person, but can't have one because I travel too much and it wouldn't be fair to the dog. I will remember your idea for the future, though!

Best wishes,

Jane said...

I have a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard which I have to say is definitely better for my shoulders, plus a trackman thumb-controlled ball type mouse.
Also a treadmill soon to be installed at my desk...

M said...

I'm using keyboard and mouse wrist pads like the ones here
My chair is a simple office chair with armrests and an adjustable backrest. I'm wearing anti-reflective glasses but I also use herbal eye drops from time to time:)
I hope I helped:)

bonnjill said...

I agree with Cora. As a freelance translator my dog loves the fact that I am home a lot. When I travel she stays with my parents.

I have written several posts on ergonomics on my blog. talks about WorkPace, a breaks and exercise software tool proven to help prevent and aid recovery from repetitive strain injury. offers various tips about ergonomics, including monitor height, etc.


Mayland Writers' Group said...

In my former job as a machine operator, I developed carpal tunnel in my left hand and ended up having surgery. When I left that job and started doing more computer oriented stuff, my husband bought me an ergonomic keyboard and a mousepad with one of those gel filled "pillows" on it. (Hoping not to have the same problems with my right hand.) Love them both.
A friend of mine has one of those backless chairs where your feet go underneath and your knees rest on a pad in front...hope you know the one I'm talking about. It's a bit awkward to get into at first, but she swears by it.
-Susan B.-

B.J. Epstein said...

Thank you for all the advice!

Best wishes,

Iota said...

Dragon has recently released an updated version of their voice recognition software, which is reputed to be excellent.