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Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)

After several months of constant pain in my back, I finally decided to get scans made of my spine. Turns out I have a double lumbar disc hernia (L4-L5 left and L5-S1 right). Luckily they are minor, so there not even talk of needing an operation.

For the hernias to go away, I need to rest. I'm supposed to lie flat on my back all the time with my legs folded in an angle. This should reduce the tension in my back and allow it to cure by itself. This position makes it however very difficult - almost impossible - to program while holding a laptop. I searched the web for appropriate laptop stands and stumbled into 'The Lappyvator', a build-it-yourself project that is easy to execute. The only downside seems to me that your arms are in a vertical position and don't rest on anything at all, which is bound to be very tiring. Luckily, I use the AlphaGrip as my keyboard, so I don't need to touch the laptop, eliminating this problem.

Now I'm able to work regular hours and totally rest my back. I haven't tried it yet, but it also seems like an awesome approach to watch movies or series in bed with the laptop.

Below are the pictures of my own lappyvator. I've built it so that I can easily remove the horizontal feet and take it with my in a suitcase when I travel: at last comfortable computing in hotel rooms!

laptop stand bed 1

laptop stand bed 2

laptop stand bed 3

posted by Geert Bevin in Computing on Feb 4, 2008 11:03 PM : 12 comments [permalink]
 

Comments

Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
whoa. that's crazy. looks like it works, although, it sort of looks like you are turning into your computer.
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
Wow -- that's wild!

Haha -- the AlphaGrip looks like a game controller. :)

Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
Oh yeah -- sorry to hear about the hernias! :(
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
Orion, according to members of my family, that happened almost 15 years ago ;)
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
Josh, yeah, and it's particularly funny when you take it into an office with people that have never seen anyone use it before.
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
Yeah man, I love my AlphaGrip.

That setup's cool... but I'd go one step further and use a portable projector to output the screen onto the ceiling: ultimate freedom without being pinioned to the sofa/bed by the laptop.

There are some wicked ones about now for under £500 that are less than 2kg, so would be fine for travel too. With this as the output and the AlphaGrip as the input, the PC could be tiny...
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
Interesting idea, but I'm not sure that the readability of a portable projector image is good enough to do development on.
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
There is a theory that back pain and other problems can be caused psychosomatically. Last year's summer I was working my first full-time programming job and was suddenly struck with really bad wrist pain. I had to take the driver's seat and do some pair programming with my co-worker for a few weeks. It lasted about 2 months or something I think. In some places it's called "the mind body method" or something and it sounded new age-y enough for me to treat it like bullshit at first. But when I finally started reading about it, it seemed to make quite a bit of sense. And my pains actually started going away at the time I had read a lot about it. One of the best introductions to it is this video on google video http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6660313127569317147
After you watch that you can maybe read some stories about people who have used this "method" (i hesitate to call it a method which you might understand after watching the video). I mostly read about people who had applied it to their wrist pains because that was the situation I was in.
The "method" is not scientifically proven, as they also state in the video. I am generally an incredibly sceptical person but the reasons I believe there is some truth to it are:
My symptoms seemed to start going away round the time when I started reading about it seriously
A large percentage of the patients of the doctor in the video who came up with the method seemed to feel better
Reading people's stories of getting better on the net, not new age people but other programmers who seemed to be pretty intelligent.
The "method" doesn't cost a lot of money and as the doctor himself says, a lot of people can be helped by just learning about the phenomenon.

I hope this could be of some use to you.
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
Hey... I'm thinking about buying AlphaGrip controller, but want to check first your opinion on this gadget.

tnx.
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
The AlphaGrip is wonderful, it has taken me a while to be really proficient with it, but now I can't live without it.
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
this is really great. love the concept and i am sure its a relief for many people looking at this solution.
Re: Programming while lying on my back (lumbar disc hernia)
@sam, thanks a lot for making me aware of TMS. It took a while before I was ready to give the idea some serious consideration, but in October I read two of Sarno's books and now my back and wrist pains are gone! I'm back to doing martial arts also. Great stuff! More information here: http://www.healingbackpain.com and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_E._Sarno

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