Now that you know how sustained postures can affect your health and what you can do to improve your posture, it’s time to talk more about healthy computer habits.
In this highly computerized world, more and more people of all ages are experiencing aches and pains that come from sitting at a computer for long periods of time. Now that we’re all spending more time at home, we’re also spending more time using computers.
These aches and pains are felt in the neck, shoulder, upper and lower back, wrist and elbow joints. In some cases, the nerves to the hand become compressed, causing weakness and/or tingling in the fingers.
These symptoms can occur in the onset of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), which may include irritation of tendons, muscles, nerves and other soft tissues from repeated physical movements over time.
Don’t ignore the early warning signs, such as weakness of your grip, numbness and discomfort or pain in the arms, hands, wrists or shoulders. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to ensure recovery from the symptoms of RSI.
Here are some things you can do to improve your computer habits and avoid injury:
Stretch – Include regular stretching into your work routine. Every 20 to 60 minutes, do three or four stretches – for hands, shoulders, neck and trunk.
The key is to move your joints through their normal range of motion. Inquire about computer software that is set to interrupt work at chosen intervals with appropriate stretches, or set your onscreen timer to remind you to take “micro-breaks” as needed to momentarily change your arm position or to shift your weight.
Move – Get up from your work station for a short stretch or walk around to promote blood flow to fatigued muscles every hour. No one has ever become more fit by sitting at a desk. Get regular daily exercise, away from the computer. It could be as simple as a walk around the office or getting off the elevator one floor early and taking the stairs. Move out of the postural pattern that the work is creating (i.e. stretch the opposite direction).
Add it up – Add variety to your tasks. Take every break as an opportunity to go for a short walk and stretch. Keep track of activity and build up to 30 minutes of stretching and exercise every day. Vary your tasks (keyboarding, filing, telephone, reading documents, etc.).
Talk to us – RSI can be prevented, but if symptoms do occur, early intervention is the best form of treatment. If you are experiencing regular or increasing discomfort while sitting at your computer, take early corrective action. We will listen to your symptoms and assess you to help provide appropriate treatment, including information about correct posture and positioning at your workstation. They will also work towards an earlier return to your daily lifestyle as well as provide guidance on how to prevent recurrence of injury.
The Team at ProActive Rehab