Computer ergonomics is a guideline in using a computer and supporting facilities including the layout at the desk / work station, sitting position, using the keyboard, using the mouse, and using a monitor.
Screen: They're everywhere. Whether laptops, desktop computers, GPS, video games, I-Pads, I-Pods, Tablets, or other variations, technology has greatly changed our lifestyles.
Along with this increasing trend came many consequences, including neck pain, back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, headaches, eye strain, and other symptoms with continuous use.
Changes to your existing computer station can make a huge difference in your overall life.
Background Screen Use: In a 2010 study by the New York Times, “adults were exposed to screens — TVs, cell phones, (computers), even GPS devices for about 8.5 hours on any given day,” according to a study released by the Council for Research Excellence. According to the survey, we now spend nearly half an hour of our wake either online, on the phone, or watching television.
According to a Canadian study, the average adult is awake for 15 hours and 45 minutes each day and 45 percent of that time is spent using the proliferation of technology.
The Importance of Computer Ergonomics
Dangers of using a laptop computer: Many symptoms can develop using a laptop computer, including carpal tunnel syndrome, epicondylitis (elbow pain), neck pain, middle back, and lower back, headache, eye strain, dizziness, fatigue, disc herniation, arthritis, compressed nerves, and many others.
Due to the current configuration and tendency of people to use their laptops for long periods of time, the result of not being caught computer ergonomics these symptoms and hazards are increasing, increasing missed working hours and workers' compensation claims. Proper ergonomic features are changed for portability. Posture, keyboard spacing, screen size, and positioning currently damage ergonomically configured computers.
More and more people are using laptops as desktop computers. When the screen is too low, it causes the neck curve to flatten. When the head moves forward and bends downwards, it puts pressure on the neck muscles and spinal cord.
The Mayo Clinic states, “Forward head posture causes long-term muscle tension, disc herniation, arthritis, and pinched nerves.”
Statistics on various musculoskeletal disorders: Musculoskeletal disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, have the highest incidence of medical conditions in the U.S., affecting 7% of the population.
Work-related musculoskeletal disorder, otherwise known as cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) or overused syndrome, is an injury to the muscles, tendons, and/or nerves of the upper body caused or aggravated by repetitive work. They account for 14% of doctor visits and:
About 260,000 carpal tunnel removal operations are carried out each year, with 47% of cases considered work-related, the 2nd most common operation.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the number 1 reported medical problem, accounting for about 50% of all work-related injuries. Currently, 25% of all computer operators have
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, with estimates that by 2000, 50% of the entire workforce may be affected. Carpal tunnel syndrome results in the highest number of lost days among all work-related injuries.
The National Center for Health Statistics states that “Carpal tunnel syndrome results in the highest number of lost days among all work-related injuries.”
Nearly half of carpal tunnel cases result in 31 days or more job losses.
Daily use of computers and laptops contributes to most of the statistics listed above, so people seek medical, chiropractic, and therapy regularly.
Computer Eye Strain: Every day 140 million Americans spend a lot of time using computers at work. Poor images on a computer screen can lead to repeated refocusing attempts and eye muscle strain, leading to symptoms such as blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes, irritation, and neck and back pain.
Ergonomics Positions Of Computer Use Helps Health
Nearly 90 percent of those who use a computer for at least three hours a day suffer from these symptoms, known as computer eye strain.
Correct Computer Posture: To properly use the computer and/or laptop, the monitor must be 20-24″ away from the patient's face. The screen should be positioned parallel to the eyes. The user's seat should be positioned so that the user's feet are above the floor, with a 90-degree knee angle. The arms should also be bent 90 degrees, parallel to the floor, and the elbows resting comfortably on your side.
A good waist or back brace and ergonomic chair will improve your workstation.
An ergonomic keyboard with space between each hand, and the tilted keys on the keyboard will also help prevent symptoms such as carpal tunnels. Frequent breaks, including stretching at intervals of 30-45 minutes will help increase stamina.
To use your laptop as a desktop, buy a dock station, remote keyboard, and mouse, and raise the laptop's height by placing it in a textbook. This will make a big difference in preventing symptoms.
By making simple lifestyle changes to your computer station, many musculoskeletal problems, and other related symptoms can be avoided. If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact your chiropractor or family doctor.