Before the dawn of the computer era, injuries and problems related to computer usage and Ergonomics were not that rampant. But nowadays, people rely so heavily on computers that you would hardly find a home or office without one or a dozen. Because of that, we see a significant rise in carpal tunnel syndrome, back pains, eye discomforts, and any other computer injuries you can think of. The good news is, these health problems can be avoided.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
One of the most common problems associated with long use of computer is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which is a progressive pain felt in the hands, wrists and arms caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. This can be brought about by various factors including wrist anatomy and underlying health problems. But most commonly, it occurs when people use the computer for long hours each day.
To minimize this problem:
1) Keep your hands warm to avoid pain and stiffness.
2) Watch your form while you're working. It's best to keep your hands at elbow height or slightly lower when typing on the keyboard.
3) Don't forget your posture as well since a bad posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward and affect the nerves in your wrists, hands and fingers.
4) Get up and take frequent breaks away from your computer, walk around, stretch your muscles, and breathe fresh air.
5) Even while sitting in front of your computer:
- Squeeze, stretch, rotate and twist your hands and wrists.
- Squeeze your hands into hard fists, then slowly release them. Repeat these few times.
- Pull, bend and twist your fingers and wrists forwards, backwards and sideways.
Another common problem experienced by computer users is eyestrain (synonym: Asthenopia). When people stare at the computer screen for a long time, they tend not to blink as frequently as they usually do. When this happens, the eyes don't get moisture and become dry. In the long run, the vision deteriorates and this leads to visual problems.
To prevent this form of computer related injury affecting your eyes:
1) You need to check the light and reduce glare, as this can cause strain in your eyes.
2) Adjust your monitor so that it sits directly in front of you with at least 20 inches from your eyes.
3) Keeping your monitor clean also helps since dust can contribute to glare and reflection problems on the screen.
4) Frequently pause and look away from the monitor, at least every 30 minutes.
5) Often close your eyes, rub your hands together 20 times, gently cover your eyes with your warm hands, and slowly roll your eyeballs left and right few times. Slowly let your hands go of your eyeballs. Then slowly open your eyes.
Neck and Back Pain
Poor posture while using the computer can lead to neck and back pains. Although these annoying problems will go away quite easily without a need for medication, you would want to avoid them as much as possible because they can build stress and hamper your productivity. You wouldn't last long working in front of the computer if you already feel pain on your neck or back, just half an hour into your morning work.
In order to prevent these types of computer injury:
1) Position the monitor on a comfortable level.
2) You should also sit on a comfortable chair that will help you maintain a good posture.
3) You should not need to tilt or turn your head in order to see the screen as this can result in chronic pains.
4) Take frequent breaks and squeeze, stretch, rotate and twist your neck, shoulders, torso and back.