Let me take you back to the infamous April of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was officially in full swing.
Like most other people working desk jobs, I transitioned from working in a corporate office to a work-from-home setup. I’d only worked from home sporadically in the past, and my setup was a low-end desk chair, a foldup table, and a cheap plastic chair mat.
After a few short weeks working from home full time, I started to experience pain in my wrists and lower back. As weeks turned into months, the discomfort became more intense – and was soon accompanied by a tingling sensation and a constant, dull ache.
After some Googling, I realized I was facing the onset of issues called repetitive stress injuries - caused by repetitive stress syndrome (RSS).
I came to the conclusion that a) I’m not as young as I used to be, and b) I needed to invest in a better workstation. I started with an ergonomic desk chair, then a legitimate desk, and wrist pads. Surprisingly, it was the last item on the list that made the biggest impact: the glass office chair mat.
In this article, I want to explain how a tempered glass chair mat helped manage symptoms of my repetitive stress injury caused by RSS. Let’s get moving.
Understanding Repetitive Stress Syndrome (RSS)
Repetitive Stress Syndrome (RSS), also known as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), is a broad term that covers a range of conditions affecting muscles, tendons, and nerves in the upper body. It’s most commonly caused by repetitive tasks, awkward postures, or overuse of a particular body part.
In work-from-home setups, the most common causes of repetitive stress syndrome involve:
- Constant typing
- Frequent movements
- Maintaining a static posture for long periods of time
The symptoms of a repetitive strain injury usually start gradually, but may become chronic over time if there is no intervention. The symptoms can be characterized as:
- Persistent pain, stiffness
- Numbness in the affected area, typically the neck, hands, wrists, shoulders, or back.
Other symptoms may include a lack of strength or coordination in the affected body part, or a constant dull ache that gets worse with activity.
For me, the pain in my wrists and lower back were the worst. It began to affect my productivity at work and playing basketball at the YMCA was becoming a painful experience. I tried the common solutions, like icing, compression, and elevation. But I didn’t want to fight the symptoms of RSS – I wanted to fight the cause of it.
I needed a permanent solution.
How a Tempered Glass Chair Mat Helped Alleviate RSS Symptoms
I had a friend urge me to invest in a tempered glass chair mat for my work-from-home setup.
Unlike a traditional plastic mat – which quickly develops ruts and cracks – my glass mat is made from highly durable tempered glass that can withstand significant weight and regular use without scratching, denting, or cracking.
The surface allows for effortless gliding for the chair’s wheels, which ultimately works to reduce physical strain while working – not to mention they look super sleek!
On a basic level, glass chair mats can help manage symptoms of repetitive stress syndrome by facilitating:
First and foremost, a tempered glass chair mat provides a perfectly flat and smooth surface, ensuring your office chair can glide and perform repetitive motions easily with minimal effort.
This is a big upgrade from plastic mats or carpet, which can cause your chair to sink or get stuck, leading to awkward body positioning and poor posture. Maintaining awkward positions can contribute significantly to RSS.
With a glass chair mat, desk chairs can maintain an even and balanced position, promoting better posture all around.
A glass chair mat reduces the resistance against your chair’s casters, allowing for smoother movements. This equates to less strain on your arms, back, and neck when you're moving around your workspace.
The beveled edge tempered glass makes it much easier to maneuver my desk chair in my carpeted office. Once you get used to the resistance-free movement, you wonder why you did not fix the problem earlier.
— Drew (Verified Customer) | Rectangle Glass Chair Mat
When movement is restricted, it can exacerbate symptoms of repetitive stress syndrome. And, if you get the patented 1” beveled edge, you’ll have a smooth roll off and on as well.
My Experience Using the Glass Chair Mat
Within the first few weeks with my glass chair mat, the results were unbelievable. I instantly noticed positive changes in my posture, ease of movement, and reduced pain in my lower back.
With my plastic chair mat and cheap desk chair, I would have to force myself to stand up and walk around every 20-30 minutes – which impacted my focus and productivity. Using my glass chair mat, I could go longer stretches and stay on task without being in constant pain.
Outside of work, I was back to playing pickup basketball games twice per week – without experiencing back pain every few minutes.
The combination of the ergonomic desk chair and the glass office chair mat was a game changer for me.
The Long-Term Impact of the Glass Chair Mats
The benefits of glass chair mats go beyond repetitive stress syndrome. I’ve had my glass chair mat for about three years now, and some of the biggest advantages include:
Comfort and Stability
Tempered glass chair mats provide a firm surface that doesn't indent under the chair's weight – unlike their plastic counterparts. This stability helps to improve comfort during the workday, helping to reduce the risk of muscle strains and fatigue caused by repetitive movements.
Over the years, I’ve moved and changed my office setting twice. Glass chair mats have worked well with each type of flooring I’ve had, including carpet, tile, and hardwood. No matter what flooring material you have, glass chair mats are built to protect it.
I used cheap plastic chair mats for years. I usually ended up having to replace them every few months, due to ruts and cracks. My tempered glass chair mat is in the same exact condition it was on the day I bought it. The durability of these mats will last a lifetime – saving money in the long run.
Lastly, the glass finish adds a sleek and polished look to my workspace.
Struggling with repetitive stress syndrome was a terrible experience.
Fortunately, relief is possible with the right setup. If you work from home – and have a subpar workstation – it’s time to upgrade. You spend too much time at your desk for it to be a painful experience.
Chair mats tend to be a forgotten aspect of a workstation. But the benefit gap between a cheap plastic one and a tempered glass chair mat are insurmountable when it comes to RSS relief. While the initial cost isn’t cheap, it’s worth every penny. Trust me on this. It looks great, rolls great, and lasts forever!