Why vision is such an important part of ergonomics

Woman trying to see computer

You’ve probably heard or noticed that working on a computer for a prolonged period of time can be hard on your eyes. You may notice symptoms such as burning, tightness, pain, watering, blurring, double vision, or headaches. These symptoms can vary from person to person, and are collectively referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome.

However, viewing your computer screen for prolonged periods of time can also contribute to back and neck pain for one simple reason: your body will follow your eyes. In other words, if you can’t see, you will move your body until you can, by bending forward, rounding your shoulders, or moving your head forward. All of these movements put your body into an unbalanced position, which leads to muscles that are tight and shortened, or stretched and lengthened, joints that don’t function well because the bones aren’t oriented properly, or compressed spinal discs.

Even a well-designed computer work area loses its effectiveness if you can’t see the monitor. (more…)

A Comprehensive, Root-cause Approach to Back Pain

Being free of back pain means doing the things you love

We’ve all heard people talk about how “their back went out”. Something like, I slipped on a wet floor and my back went out, or I bent down to pick up a sock and my back went out. Or maybe there was an event, such as an automobile accident, athletic event, or maybe it started at work. In many – most, actually – cases, the pain just started with no specific triggering event.

It seems intuitive to attribute the pain to the event that occurred at its start. However, with back pain it’s usually more of a “last straw”, in that there were things that you were doing on a regular basis that actually led to the “triggering event”. Primary contributing factors include inadequate movement, imbalanced postural mechanics, and stress; there are also several secondary factors. (more…)

Why does my back really hurt?

Why does my back really hurt?

We’ve all heard people talk about how “their back went out”. Something like, I slipped on a toy and my back went out, or I bent down to pick up a sock and my back went out. Or maybe there was an event, such as an automobile accident, athletic event or maybe it started at work. I think of this not as the “injury”, but as the “triggering event”, meaning that this event did not cause the pain, but designates the time that the pain began.

What many may not understand is that, in most cases, it was not the event that caused the pain, rather the contributing factors that were in play before the initial onset. (more…)

Why movement is more important than exercise for back pain

By Mary A. Williams, MSEd, CPE

November 9, 2012

BACKCoach clients often share with me their anguish over the loss of activities that they enjoy to back pain. They say things like, “I can’t do that any more – I have a bad back,” or “If I do that, I’m going to pay for it later.”

The good news is that their assertions are rarely accurate. Further, for most people with back pain, movement is the very thing that will help them find relief. The only caveat is that movement should be done with proper, balanced mechanics.

I’ve had several BACKCoach clients recently that love to garden, and they report that they have an increase in pain after they spend time in their yards. I can hear the sadness in their voices as they share with me the loss they feel when they think about losing their beloved activity.

And the relief they feel when I share with them that not only CAN they move and enjoy their everyday activities, but that it is beneficial for them to do so and a key component of recovery. (more…)