Why Do Software Developers Need a Physiotherapist?

The story

Last week I took a trip to a beautiful city in Spain, Mallorca. Since it was one of those rare times in the year when I disconnect from social media and the Internet I decided to treat myself to a nice massage, which I only do rarely.

While I was taking the massage, María, the physiotherapist, kindly asked me, “How many hours a day do you spend in a chair?” I said “It depends, but it could go anywhere from 6 hours to 12 hours per day. And most of those times I’m writing documents or code on my computer. I’m a Software Developer”. After that, she told me “Well. I didn’t even need you to tell me that, your back and arms are really stiff. Your job is probably one of the hardest for harming your body”.

At first I was a bit shocked cause I’m young and never feel any issues over my arms or back, but she told me that long term I’ll suffer. When she said so, this thought came to mind: “To some extent, Software Developers are professional athletes who need to do high performance using their hands, brain and back. If professional athletes take care of their bodies with doctors and trainers, why am I not doing so?”.

Software Developers are professional athletes who need to do high performance using their hands, brain and back

I’ve experienced headaches on occasion after spending too long at the computer. María told me that when your neck is stiff, that could affect other parts of your body like the head. This shocked me as well, cause I’ve never thought that a bad posture could cause a headache 🤷‍♂️

Action items

After the trip, I decided that I need an plan of action, and here is what I came up with:

  • Getting a couple of armrests for the keyboard and mouse.
  • Buying a mechanical keyboard to help me get more feedback when I’m typing and less hands fatigue.
  • Book a massage once per month. María told me it would be better with two, so I’ll probably try to increase frequency in the long run.

Extended action items

Adding a couple of ideas from Matthias Tretter (@myell0w) he commented on Twitter:

  • Standing desk
  • Stretching breaks (once per hour at minimum)
  • Do some sports or walking for 30 minutes.

Now I want to ask you: How do you take care of your body as a Software Developer? Let me know on Twitter or Linkedin.

Hope this article is helpful. See you in the physio!

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I'm Jorge Ferreiro and I've launched more than four side products and worked in tech companies like Amazon and Eventbrite.
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