Aches and Pains: From your Organ Console...or Your Computer Work Station?

Susan Emerson

Monday, June 20, 9 AM
Meeting Room 335.A

Organists often experience aches and pains that they attribute to long hours on the bench. Most organists also sit in front of a computer or desk every day, often for several hours at a time for administrative tasks, correspondence or to do research. Is your shoulder, back or wrist pain from the organ console or from your posture at your computer? How can you prevent office or computer related injuries and improve comfort on the bench?

Research has clearly shown that computer posture contributes to a wide variety of musculoskeletal injuries (MSD's) and upper extremity and back pain (Torniquvist et al, 2009). Organ pedagogy emphasizes proper postures on the bench, but organists often pay little attention to the posture they use when in front of a computer. Poor positioning when using the computer may limit tolerance for practice and performance, your primary work function and your passion.

This presentation examines common posture-related MSD's that may result from work either at the computer or on the bench, and how postures at these two "worksites" contribute to injury development. Participants will learn to self-analyze computer workstations and understand optimal posture at the computer. Practical solutions for modifying workstation components (including chair, keyboard/mouse and monitor) will address how to improve computer posture. Through better understanding of how to apply the good posture you use at the console to your desk, you will improve stamina and comfort for your primary focus, playing the instrument you love!

Susan Emerson is a Registered Occupational Therapist and certified Hand and Upper Extremity Therapist and Ergonomic Evaluation Specialist. With over 35 years of professional experience treating upper extremity injuries and evaluating workstations, she also has a passion for and has worked with many musicians, including organists. She has lectured nationally on ergonomics and all aspects of upper extremity management, especially those that relate to musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries and computer workstation ergonomics. Ms. Emerson owns Rehab to Work Medical Consultants, which provides injury management and industrial consultative services in the states of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts. 

Click the links below to get copies of Ms. Emerson's handouts.