Monday, November 26, 2012

There Goes My Career in the Major Leagues

Okay, besides the fact that I am a) too old, and b) female (though that didn't stop Jackie Mitchell from striking out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, just sayin'), I never really sat up nights dreaming of wearing a professional baseball uniform.

Maybe just the hat. And possibly, the jersey, after stripping 'em off some hot ballplayer.  Roz Lee's fantasy identical twins Jeff and Jason Holder come to mind.

Anyway, I never imagined *I* would be in any danger of a rotator cuff injury, seein's I'm not throwing a 90+ mph fastball.

I thought wrong.

What I thought was a pulled muscle in my bicep, turns out to be... rotator cuff tendinitis, created by many hours at my lovely yet less than ergonomically correct desk at the day job. I also discovered that it's not nearly as much fun having a hot young thing put his hands all over you when a) you're paying him to do so, and b) when every place he touches makes you whimper, and not in a good way.

The National Institute of Health says:
The shoulder joint is a ball and socket type joint where the top part of the arm bone (humerus) forms a joint with the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff holds the head of the humerus into the scapula and controls movement of the shoulder joint.

The tendons of the rotator cuff pass underneath a bony area on their way to attaching the top part of the arm bone. When these tendons become inflamed, they can become more frayed over this area during shoulder movements. Sometimes, a bone spur may narrow the space even more.

This problem is called rotator cuff tendinitis, or impingement syndrome, and may be due to:
  • Keeping the arm in the same position for long periods of time, such as doing computer work or hairstyling
  • Sleeping on the same arm each night
  • Playing sports requiring the arm to be moved over the head repeatedly as in tennis, baseball (particularly pitching), swimming, and lifting weights over the head
  • Working with the arm overhead for many hours or days (such as in painting and carpentry)
  • Poor control or coordination of your shoulder and shoulder blade muscles
The culprit, in my case, is a less than ideal chair.  I need one that is higher, AND, a keyboard that is lower.

Below is the ideal arrangement.


1. Are your feet flat on the floor? Otherwise use an ergonomic footrest
2. Is your backrest supporting lumbar area?  Not enough.
3. Are your knees at a somewhat 90 degree angle?
4. Are your thighs parallel to the floor?
5. Are your elbows at a somewhat 90 degree angle? It can be slightly over but it shouldn't be less.  Mine is, in fact, less - my elbows are below the keyboard, even with the chair raised as high as possible. I thought if this would give me any problems, I'd get a warning twinge or pains in my wrists, first, some achiness there. Didn't happen for me that way.
6. Are your wrists in a neutral position? That means you can put a ruler under your lower arm to your palms. Your wrist is level with your lower arm.  Nope, they've a slightly inverted V.
7. Is the top of the monitor at eye level or just slightly lower? Otherwise there will surely be neck strain.
8. Is the monitor off at an arm's length? 

Mind you, my desk at home is perfect. Do I spend as many hours at it? No. Should I have paid more attention to my day job workstation?  D'uh.  Do I work for a great company who is happy to address the matter the moment I opened my mouth and asked? Yes.

Because I do get up from my desk to do other things around the office, I foolishly did not realize, until such time as the pain - which started in the middle of my bicep, not my shoulder - kept getting worse and worse, and had no clue it could be related to the goofy chair I use in my day job.

Now I am doing exercises and icing this bad girl, and going chair shopping at the earliest opportunity - but it will be weeks, if not months, till I can pitch for the Dodgers again.

Or just sleeping through the night. This business is no joke, so please, be smarter than I was and do not wait until you are hurting, even a little bit, to take care of your body.

Have you ever let an injury go, because it was no big deal?
And then it was?
Your thoughts?

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