Monday, December 17, 2007
I interrupt this blog to bring you an important public service announcement. I've had a few inquiries lately about the foam tubing that I put on my Wacom stylus (people saw it in my 11-Second Club critique and one of my AnimationMentor.com lectures), and that got me thinking that I should use this blog to spread some more ergo knowledge. It's important to take care of your bodies, kids, if you want to be animating for the long-haul! It's not enough to buy an "ergonomic" mouse; you can have all the fancy equipment in the world but you may still get RSI if you don't have proper posture, alignment and work habits.
I first learned about Repetitive Strain Injuries when I started at Pixar in 2000, and wouldn't you know, I got it working on Monsters, Inc. Before that I had worked for 5 years on computers and never had a problem. Self-fulfilling prophecy, Pixar curse, or just a matter of time? Either way, after some physical therapy, accupuncture, ergonomics lessons and regular stretching I'm back to working pain-free. If I push myself too hard the pain returns, so part of the solution is to learn how much your body can take.
There are many kinds of RSI, the most publicized being carpal tunnel syndrome. Mine manifested more in the muscles in my shoulder and neck rather than the nerves in my wrists, but it's no less serious. I found that for me yoga and swimming are really effective in relieving the soreness and stiffness. I was lucky in that I work for a company that is very proactive about preventing and treating RSI, and we have people on staff to help us set up and use our workstations. You may not be so lucky, so please try to educate yourself. Below are some links to articles written by my friend and former Pixar Ergonomist, Shelby Cass. I hope you'll give them a read and evaluate your own work habits. Stay healthy out there!
Are You Ergonomically Correct?
What is Ergonomics?
Shelby's Web Site