Camp with a Ramp 2019

Our East Mesa location, Neuro & Brain Performance Centers, is highly involved in the spinal cord injury community. They have created Neuro & Brain Community Foundation to help provide funding for therapy services & continuing research for individuals affected by neurological disorders. One of the great events they sponsor is the annual Camp with a Ramp trip for those living with spinal cord injuries.

The Camp with a Ramp provides three full days of activities that include; horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, archery, crafts, animal interaction, basketball, over-the-line, quad rugby, morning hikes on the rim, lacrosse, hand-cycling and educational discussion groups.

This year we will be hosting the trip on August 1st-4th. Please visit the Camp with a Ramp website to learn more about how to join us. We are also looking for sponsors and donations to help make this an experience of a lifetime for the campers!

Ergonomics 101: Choosing the Right Ergonomics Work Chair

Office Ergonomics

Our Top Ergonomics Work Chair Picks

Ask any architect and they will say, “The building is only as good as the foundation it is built upon”. This principle applies to the human body. As a provider of ergonomics for over 20 years, we have worked with many different companies, and many evaluating many different jobs. The work chair is the foundation for the work environment for many people that work in front of a computer for a majority of their work day. A good ergonomics work chair, that is set up properly, will support proper posture and provide a safe and comfortable work environment. A poor chair will encourage poor postures that can lead to issues in the back and neck.

What should you look for in a “good” task chair for a computer workstation?

  1. Height adjustable – Make sure the chair is able to adjust to “your” height, not necessarily the desk height. It is important that your feet are able to be placed flat on the floor with a 90 degree bend at the knees with your thighs parallel to the floor.
  2. Seat pan depth suited for your size (prefer adjustable) – Make sure the seat pans depth allows you to sit fully back in the seat with you back against the lumbar support in an upright position. You should have 2-3 fingers widths distance between the back of your legs and the seat pan. Make sure the seat pan is not too wide or too narrow for you to put your arms comfortably on the armrests.
  3. Adjustable armrests – The best armrests are adjustable up and down, but also in and out. This should provide light support on your forearms with your arms a 90 degree angle at the elbow.
  4. Adjustable lumbar support – The lumbar support should be able to adjust up and down so that it can be positioned to fit your back. It also should have the ability to lock in an upright position, so that you have proper support when you begin to fatigue and want to lean back into the lumbar support.
What chair should you choose?

The most important thing is for the chair to have the functionality to adjust to the individual. The chairs included on our list below are design primarily for people who are at least 5’2” to 6’4” and weigh less than 300lbs. If you fall outside these ranges, contact an ergonomist to help you with finding a chair to meet your needs. While we are not particular to any vendor when it comes to chairs. We have used many different chairs to meet client’s needs and there are a few that pop up as our “preferred” chairs. Below is a list based on price and the advantages/disadvantages of these selections.

$100-$200 Range Task Chairs

To be honest anything less than this price point should not even be considered as a work chair. It just won’t have the features needed. You may find a good used chair for less, but make sure it has the functionality. These chairs have limited warranties, so don’t expect them to last as long as the higher priced chairs. This price range is what you will find at many office supply stores like Staples, Officemax, and even Costco.

Staples Hyken Technical Mesh Task Chair ($129.99)

Staples Hyken

Advantages: Price, Adjustable Height, Arms, and Lumbar support, Mesh seat pan and lumbar support offers good breathability.

Disadvantages: Armrests do not adjust in and out, seat pan depth is not adjustable, mesh in chair is not as durable as foam cushions. Durability is not as good as higher priced chairs.


OfficeMax WorkPro 3000 Series Ergonomic Chair

WorkPro 3000

Advantages: Adjustable Height, Arms, and Lumbar support, Foam cushions offer more durability and support than mesh. Arms are width adjustable.

Disadvantages: Foam cushions not as breathable, seat pan depth is not adjustable. Durability is not as good as higher priced chairs




$200-$700 Range Task Chairs

This group is broad, they can be have more specialized in form and features, and differences in quality of materials. This area is the sweet spot when buying a good ergonomics chair. Chairs in this price range will have all the necessary features to adjust the chair to support a proper posture. Some of these types of chairs may be found in local office supply stores, but often they are carried by specialty office vendors or through online purchasing only. Look for companies that have a showroom or offer demos on these chairs to make sure the chair meets your needs and personal preference. Chair warranties are often extended up to 12 years. Quality vendors of these types of chairs are Steelcase, Knoll, and Herman Miller.

Steelcase Leap Chair ($350-450) (Personal all around preference)

Leap Chair

Advantages: Adjustable height, seat pan depth, armrest (in and out too), lumbar support. Seat pan tilt, Multiple fabric color choices, including leather. Very good durability

Disadvantages: No mesh option for improved breathability, cushioning is thinner than in other cushion chairs, heavier and more bulky chair than others.



Steelcase Amia Chair ($640) –

steelcase amia

Advantages: Adjustable height, seat pan depth, armrest (in and out too), lumbar support. Multiple fabric color choices, lighter than Leap and smaller platform

Disadvantages: No seat pan tilt, no mesh option for breathability




Herman Miller Aeron ($500-$800)

herman miller aeron

Advantages: Adjustable height, seat pan depth, armrest (in and out too), lumbar support, seat pan tilt. Mesh for increased breathability, good-looking design

Disadvantages: Few color selections, no foam cushion option, heavier chair, mesh may give over time.





As you can see chair prices can range between $200 to over $1000 dollars. Finding the right chair that looks good to you and feels good for you is going to be a matter of trying it out.

Treating Pain: Why it is different for everyone.

Why is treating pain different for everyone?  Pain is the common reason individuals seek medical care and I would suggest a primary reason people come to physical therapy. It is often an elusive phenomenon that can be disruptive to the quality of one’s life.  *The International Association for the Study of Pain‘s widely used definition states: “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.” There are many classifications of pain including:**

1.”sensory-discriminative” (sense of the intensity, location, quality and duration of the pain)

2.”affective-motivational” (unpleasantness and urge to escape the unpleasantness)

3.”cognitive-evaluative” (cognitions such as appraisal, cultural values, distraction and hypnotic suggestion).

**It has been theorized that pain intensity (the sensory discriminative dimension) and unpleasantness (the affective-motivational dimension) are not simply determined by the magnitude of the painful stimulus, but “higher” cognitive activities can influence perceived intensity and unpleasantness. Cognitive activities “may affect both sensory and affective experience or they may modify primarily the affective-motivational dimension. In other words, your emotional state has a large impact on “how much pain” you feel. An individual’s framing of the painful experience can dramatically influence the intensity of that experience. As a therapist I work specifically to address physiological, biomechanical and postural factors impacting pain. In this blog I want to address other issues impacting pain.

Melzack and Casey suggest pain should not only be treated by trying to cut down the sensory input by anesthetic block, surgical intervention and physical therapy, but also by influencing the motivational-affective and cognitive factors as well. How does one accomplish this?

The first step is to get a clear picture of the physiological stimulus that is at the root of one’s pain. Different tissues will respond with different patterns of pain. Keep in mind, that though all pain is unpleasant, not all pain is of equal urgency.  It has been my observation from thirty years of experience as a physical therapist helping people in pain, that the intensity of one’s pain is most often NOT correlated with the severity of the “problem”. What I mean by that is; many conditions that are in fact life threatening, specifically certain types of cancer and auto immune diseases often offer very little pain.  Conversely conditions that are intensely painful will not threaten your life.  Examples such conditions are child-birth and sciatica.  Understand that this does not mean that one should ignore pain. The mere presence of pain is enough to alter one’s quality of life and negatively impact one’s longevity.  But, an individual experiencing pain can be helped by having a clear understanding of the cause and potential threat posed by that pain.

Another important point to consider is that all pain is mediated in the central nervous system.  It actually occurs in the brain regardless of what part of you body hurts. Take for example “phantom limb” pain, a condition in which individuals who have had a traumatic or surgical amputation of one of their limbs may continue to feel pain in that limb long after it is gone.  The pain is mediated by the brain and is by definition an unpleasant emotional experience.  Finally it is important not to judge yourself because you are experiencing pain and do not compare your pain experience to other. In our country we tend to judge pain as “bad”.  Though it is unpleasant pain is not morally bad.  Additionally, comparing one’s experience to friends and neighbors can often lead to frustration and shame.  Consider a positive emotional experience.  When my wife and I go to see a comedy, “Nacho Libre” for example, I may belly laugh through the entire movie and she may offer a polite chuckle.  Same stimulus but very different responses and neither of us is right or wrong for our response.

So what to do? If you are experience a persistent episode of pain;

  1. 1. Have your condition evaluated by an objective and qualified specialist. This will help establish a plan to handle the physiological contributors to your pain.
  2. 2. Understand your condition and its severity (you may not fully understand the pain itself and that is OK)
  3. 3. Talk to an objective third-party about how you feel. This will assist you in handling the emotional contributors to your condition.
  4. 4. Do not judge yourself, or allow others to judge you, for experiencing pain
  5. 5. Eliminate those external stressors factors that might make your experience more unpleasant.
  6. 6. Do those positive actions that will help reduce the painful stimulus and improve you tolerance to your condition

If you have questions about pain please call me at 480-833-1005.