Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

First post: The great (horrible) computer chair search

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello all,

This is my first post on this forum. I'm male, 28 y/o. I thought it might be good to share my recent back/neck pain experience with all of you. Clearly, from what I have read thus far, I can tell my problems are not as severe as some. Nevertheless, I've had quite a lousy past few days and thought it would be therapeutic to share...

I suppose my back has never been perfect. I've never had good posture. I tend to hang my head forwards all the time, especially when sitting at the computer or at a piano (which I play). I also tend to slouch in chairs constantly. I went to a chiaropractor a few years ago that told me I had some scoliosis, and also some problems caused by one leg being slightly longer than the other, in addition to the curved-forward neck I already knew about.

Mainly, this has led to the ongoing problem of aching and numbness on the right side of my neck/upper back. Usually about 20-30 of piano playing and I need to stop and rest my head or else would get very sore and stiff. It also makes me feel the need to constantly stretch my right arm. My sleeping habits include rolling around into different contortions 50 times a night. It's been a problem, I guess, but it's funny thinking back how little thought I really gave to it - it never really distracted from my life or routine.

Recently though, I had my trusty computer chair of about 10 years now break on me. It was a simple yet worked quite well for me: a big, wide, no-frills backrest that leaned back on spring tension. I'd sit up until my neck felt sore, then lean back and rest my upper back on the comfy back rest for a bit. The back broke though, which made my internet-heavy life difficult, so I happily went to scout out a fancy new chair.

Of course, there's a new name in chair design now: '"Ergonomics" - or roughly translated by me: "put a big, painful bump on the lower half of the back that screws up everything". The first chair I bought had such 'Lumbar support', which was adjustable, and which I adjusted while sitting in the chair (bad idea) to try and find a comfortable position. This pushed into my lower spine and made me feel like I needed to throw up. I had a lousy day of stretching and trying to relieve the pain, and returned the chair the next day.

The next one a got had a mesh back, still 'Ergonomic' though, and it's given me an equally horrible experience. As I sit here, I dare not sit back into the mesh even once, lest the past 2 horrible sleep-deprived nights return again. It's amazing how difficult it's been to find another acceptable chair.

What's amazing though, is how this experience has wrecked my whole routine. I feel like there is no place I can go to truly relax my back. Not a bed, not a couch, certainly not a computer (I'm sitting up in pain at the moment, and dare not leaning back into the chair even once). Constant attempts to stretch and relax have made my spine feel like it's on fire, and my back breaks out into cold sweats. I've been overcompensating by trying to keep my neck in 'perfect' posture all the time, which makes my neck feel like it doesn't know what to do anymore. My 'routine' of fixes, like pushing up on the arms of a chair so my torso hangs free (often previously accompanied be the comforting *crack* *crack* *crack* of the problem being fixed) don't provide comfort.

It's so very strange to be in the place that I'm at right now. I'm thinking about all the things I've done in lousy chairs forever (teaching music lessons, taking the train, sitting in classrooms, etc.) while barely giving a second thought to those things now all seem like "how did I ever stand to do that?" I can't stop thinking about the uncomfortableness, and I can't relax - and I'm sure there's a psychological aspect to all of this, but I can't seem to get my mind off of it. Getting to the gym, which in the past has been a wonderful way to get myself sleeping soundly, isn't working either. I just want to go back to my care-free-slouching-poor-posture ways and not have to deal with this anymore, but I don't know quite how to do it, or quite what I need to do to get there...or when and how I can finally find the right friggin' computer chair that I can finally relax in again!

Anyway, that's my story. Comments and sympathy are quite welcome!


  • I have a mesh office chair with arms and I sit with my feet on a small plastic stool from the dollar store. I have my posture pump behind me and my infrared heating pad and it's quite comfortable except I have to stretch once in awhile. Have you had an MRI or any tests? Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I still prefer my very old chair (had special back that was available in a catalogue with lumbar support or a bump in the foam). Found when swimming a lot and gym so back muscles good condition then normal chair at work is OK.

    Watch the chair and the height of the Lumbar support. I need to have Lumbar support is roughly 2 cm higher than that available of the normal Ergonomic chair adjustment. Here in some European countries they have ergonomic consultants (often Physiotherapists and in my case a doctor) and in my case simply sat me down and measured the height where the lumbar support should be for me (then measured the 8 chairs that they had available of which none were right) and documented it. I am just guessing that if the lumbar support is in the wrong position it may be worse than having none at all! As couldn't get chair to that specification the workshop added a plate to one of the chairs to change the start position of the lumbar adjustment and this was already a fairly expensive ergonomic chair.

    In a previous job I used a roll of Gaffer Tape to fix a lumbar support cushion I purchased from the Auto Accessory Shop to the chair which looked very unprofessional (after they ignored the ergonomic advisors letter) and met others that have brought their own chair to work (when company will not supply a good one)! Note that this can be provocative and sometimes causes some political friction.

    In hindsight I have not listened to my body as well as I should have and let the back muscles go (to that of probably most people in the world). This is instead of extra and dedicated exercise program for my back. My current situation has made me reassess a lot and while will watch the chairs I use I will look at a lot more as well.

    Sounds like you may be doing the same.

    Best of luck
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. good luck finding a new chair!! =D> lots of good ideas here on the forum! :D Jenny :)
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    I've been working with computers for over 35 years about the same time frame I started with my spinal surgeries. The past 10 years I've worked from home because I could no longer drive and work at a computer all day.
    I've had so many different chairs. Back in the late 1980's, I was involved with a chair design as part of IBM's ergonomics at the workstation. My chair cost $1500 but honestly, it helped lumbar but did nothing for cervical problems.
    One of the best chairs I have found is using those large exercise balls. They keep your back in the right upright position so it doesnt put stress there.
    But no matter what, the ONLY answer is getting up every 45-60 minutes and do some stretching, walking, etc. Your body needs that. There have been times when I get entrenched in some program debugging, that time goes by and it might be 3 hours in the chair without getting up. It then start to feel it in the neck, in the thoracic area, lumbar, my arms hurt... At that point, I am a goner for about a day.
    When I do remember to get up every hour or so and do the stretching, etc, I can last much longer and do not suffer later on or the following day.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
Sign In or Register to comment.