Scientific Posturing...

Jul 11 2012 Published by under Lab

Recently Genomic RepairWife booked me a massage as a treat for my birthday and damn it was awesome.  But while laying on the table, having Helga the masseuse use Randy MachoMan Savage atomic elbow drop-like movements on my shoulder blade area, I realized that science is killing my back.  Working long hours hunched over at the bench like the diligent troll that I am has contributed to my poor posture and back strain.  I have even contemplated getting one of those ugly back braces to straighten me up so that I don't pick up a Quasimodo style hunchback.  While I do like swinging from ropes, I do not wish to become a anymore of a social pariah than I already am.

So dear reader, how do you handle ergonomics in science to preserve the body?  For instance my PI, makes the trainees read papers for him and report back to him on them in detail, thus preventing the onset of eyestrain for him.

11 responses so far

  • DrugMonkey says:

    You work for Comrade PeePeee? no shit?

  • Yael says:

    1. A good mattress helps a lot.
    2. I switched from proper shoes to crocs. My lower back pain went away in weeks.
    3. I am short, so standing instead of sitting at the bench also helped (sitting at tall lab stools makes me taller than when I am standing, more hunching over).
    4. For people with small hands, using eppendorf pipettes might be more comfortable than gilsons (my own experience).

  • Dr. O says:

    I adjusted my bench chair so that I didn't hunch if doing lots of pipetting. Also, I always did my damnest to keep my back straight the entire time, although that might be the southern upbringing (sit up straight!!) that never went away.

    To Yael's fourth point - I also have very small hands. For the massive amount of dilution plating I was doing at the end of my grad career, I used a nice repeater pipette and the Rainin pipettes that click up and down. Not great for larger volumes, but perfect for what I was doing. I never liked the feel of the Eppendorfs.

  • Emma says:

    Writing my thesis is ruining my back! Currently thieving every chair I can find in the grad student offices trying to find the best one. And yoga classes at least once a week...

  • jay says:

    i use a hard desk chair in front of my computer to keep slouching from being comfortable.
    also, making time for exercise -- to work the kinks out as well as keep you from huffing and puffing up the stairs -- is essential.

  • Pascale says:

    Using a standing desk at least part of the time has helped my back.

  • TheLabMix says:

    I second the crocs comment. There are enough now that don't look like crocs, it's possible to get away with wearing them and leave your dignity intact. #stealthcrocs

  • scicurious says:

    I always stand at the bench and surgical table, helps a lot, and I feel more mobile. I use a standing desk at home, but I've been thinking of getting one of those ball things you sit on.

  • I switched to a trackball mouse a few months ago after severe tendonitis flare ups. I also alternate between a standard office chair and a kneeling office chair, and have stacked a bunch of old notebooks under my computer to make it a better height. If only my normal chair didn't have arms, I could have my chair at the right height...

  • AD says:

    I always stood at the bench (and still do) while working, even if it was 2-3 hours nonstop. Haven't had any back issues.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Learning to mouse with my off hand saved me a bout of nasty carpal tunnel once.

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