Muscleloskeletal Pain and Suffering from Computer Use Can Be Reduced
A lot of people have heard of ergonomics (the science of designing the workplace to fit workers’ needs) at work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have issued a lot of directives to handle workstation issues but computer related health conditions felt by the people I get to talk to seem to be on the increase. Nothing seems to be working to abate the problem and many have come to expect it as a way of life and what you need to suffer to make a living, put food on the table and have a roof over your head.
I have good news it can be better. Muscleloskeletal pain, Depression, Anxiety, Eye problems and many other issues people are suffering can be minimized.
Sure the computer will always hurt as it is sedentary and exposes us to so many electrical and chemical toxins and violates many of the fundamental coded way of human existence an example of which is that it forces us to look at a source of light at close proximity with little blink function activated.
When we work at the computer our eyes need to focus and refocus constantly because pixels are not the same as words on paper. Words on paper are static and as an IT profession I will tell you pixels are not static hence there is stress involved in viewing things on a computer screens or any other visual display terminal (cell phones, videogames etc.).
This is a big problem, as everything today seems to have a screen as manufacturers try to get us to buy “stuff” because they have come to realize that we are visual people more affected by our vision than anything else. What we see has more sway.
One thing I have noticed is that many people stay glued to their computers, cell phones (sending texts) etc. for too long without exercising the rest up their bodies apart from their fingers. This is contrary to our normal way of exercising most of our body muscles in concert when carrying out most of lives’ activities. This cannot be good for our health.
My advice is to take a bathroom break often. Walk over to a colleague and ask some questions. Look up and wave to someone across the hall with a smile, stretch if you can without drawing attention, walk round the office block during your lunch break, occasionally open the widow or door and take in some fresh air (remember to avoid the smoking sections). Indeed be creative in finding ways to exercise your body part so no part is overused and non underused. This is something you have to make a conscious effort of doing. It will not come automatically or painlessly if you have been guilty of no exercise for a long time. The rewards are however worth it. You will feel better. Your body will thank you for it. This is one of the many things you can do to help minimize the effect of computer use on your health. It is neither expensive nor onerous but it will save you tons of money in medical expenses and you will be a better person to live with.
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Both OSHA and NIOSH have very educational websites. You may want to visit them to see what your employer is expected to comply with in terms of workspace comfort and ensure you at least get that level of help.