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Need help please -- Severe Occupational Pain: Design a "floating" arm

  1. Jun 10, 2015 #1
    Hello folks. My name is Louis and I am the owner of a nail salon. I've suffered from pretty severe neck and shoulder pain for at least a year or two now, to the point of tingling and numbness radiating down my arm and leg when I crack my neck to try and relieve the tension. This is a huge problem, as I cannot just walk away.

    This is my life. Please - help.

    I've realized that aside from just posture, which is a big part, the pain comes from my right arm sitting at my desk, raising it and keeping it elevated constantly, while moving it around to work on someone's nails. Constantly keeping the arm raised creates tension in my shoulder and neck, which is causing massive pain.

    I need an arm rest that I can replace the arm rest on a typical office chair with (hand-screw to the bottom) that will cup my elbow, apply a constant (not sure on poundage) upward pressure, and move WITH my elbow in the X & Y axis.

    Issue 1: Z axis (need 6-8 inches of vertical travel, starting at typical arm rest height)
    Instead of a spring that compresses and changes tension, I think a pulley with a weight or something similar might do the trick yes?

    Issue 2: Y axis (back and forth)
    A linear rail seems straight forward.

    Issue 3: X axis (left and right motions)
    I'm not sure what to do here.

    I have access to some machine shop tools, a 3d printer, mostly self taught in "making" things.

    I'm really desperate for a solution, please help. If you set me down the right path, I'll make it, and take pictures/video!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF, Louis.

    Have you spoken to your doctor about this? What does s/he say? There are ergonomics experts that deal with this type of situation all of the time -- I think it would be well worth the fee to have one of them come and analyzed your workplace to make suggestions. Just shotgunning potential solutions on your own may not work, and could actually make things worse.
  4. Jun 10, 2015 #3
    I did a couple of searches using the search string "industrial ergonomic arm lift support device", or variations of those words. Got a lot of different images for ideas. I was thinking of prototyping a counterbalance sling+rope affair over pulleys, holding a bucket of sand.

    But ultimately these searches led me to some store-bought device called "Ergorest forearm support" found here:


    You also need to start a regime of (1) take sufficient breaks to give your muscles enough rest, (2) massage therapy, (3) chiropractic adjustments. You're doing almost irreparable nerve damage to yourself. Who are you going to sell your business to when you can't sign your own name?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  5. Jun 10, 2015 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    @LouisTo -- please PM me about my doctor question, and I'll re-open the thread. It's closed until then.
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