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Prolonged Computer Use: How to Deal with Joint and Muscular Pains

Updated on March 12, 2011

Maintain a Proper Posture:
Avoid a Stiff Neck or Backache

One of the main causes of lower back pain is prolonged sitting during work. This is even more harmful when people don’t adjust their posture while they’re sitting. The poor posture that many people display at the time of sitting can lead to a host of problems. Frequent computer use involves awkward postures. Repetition and forceful exertions may be related to nerve, muscle and tendon, and ligament damage. The advent of computers in our daily routine is a boon but it’s not the computer’s fault but the user’s fault for not taking proper care. Poor posture may result in fatigue, muscular strain and pain, and compression of blood vessels. Prolonged computer use is the proactive cause of a number of injuries related to posture. Overuse related injuries develop over time, and may set in more quickly if one spends long hours sitting in front of a computer at home and at work as well. One should not lean over or slouch in the chair. One should sit straight, with feet flat on the floor, and eyes on level with the screen of the computer.

Warning Bells

If you suffer from any of the following problems, then maybe it’s time for you to rectify the posture you’re normally in while at work.

  1. Numbness in the fingers
  2. Sore wrists
  3. Lower back pain
  4. Eyestrain (redness, dryness, soreness, temporary blurring of vision, and headaches)

You may also develop general aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, arms, back, thighs, and lower legs or persistent pain in muscles and tendons, and in other soft tissues.

The Way Out

Position It Right

Our body is not designed to be in a static position for long time. So make sure your legs aren’t hanging. From your head to hip try to maintain an erect posture.

  1. Adjust your chair to the right height for computer work. Your feet should be flat on the floor, your thighs parallel to the floor and knees forming a 90 degree angle.
  2. Next you’ve to arrange your computer. Your eyes should be level with the top of your monitor. Tilt the monitor for an optimal neck position that will not strain your spine.
  3. Maintain at least a 20 inches distance between your face and the monitor.
  4. Pull the keyboard tray out towards you, level with the height of your elbows when your arms hang loose at your side. Maintain a right angle in the elbow joint.
  5. A straight line should be formed from your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.
  6. Head should be kept at the center point.

Back On Track

  1. If you’re prone to lower back pain, a firm cushion placed in the small of the back will give you support.
  2. Try placing a wedge-shaped block under your feet to tilt your toes slightly upwards.

Wrist Twist

  1. While on the mouse, try to move from the shoulder.
  2. Use reinforced wrist braces if you need.
  3. Avoid wrist pads that create a bend in the wrist.
  4. Keep wrists flat, forearms stiff and parallel to the floor.

Use a Proper Chair

Use chairs with straight backs or with a low-back support. One can also buy ergonomic chairs that can be used for persons of different heights with adjustable lumbar areas.

The Right Key

While working on the keyboard keep the following factors in mind:

  1. Keep your fingers relaxed while typing and using a mouse.
  2. Use a soft touch keyboard instead of pounding keys with unnecessary force.
  3. Avoid holding a pen or something else in your hands while you type or use the mouse.
  4. Relax your fingers and arms frequently.

Comments

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    • andycool profile image
      Author

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      Thanks cceerpp for your support! I really appreciate it.

    • cceerpp profile image

      cceerpp 6 years ago from Ghana

      Excellent hub Andy. Thanks a lot. Voting it UP!

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Thank you Andy, I like the sound of that. Will let you know if it works!

    • andycool profile image
      Author

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      Thanks Johnny Parker for your comment. If you're suffering from RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury : A musculoskeletal pain condition that is caused by repetitive work) of fingers/wrists/forearms/hands you might be mostly recovered by using Sujok/Chinese acupressure/acupuncture. I studied this system extensively and can tell you confidently that the system works. Have a try!

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Nice hub.

      I've picked up rsi in my thumb from clicking on mac mouse bar. Any ideas about treatments?

    • andycool profile image
      Author

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      Thanks Cogerson for stopping by and leaving an inspiring comment!

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Excellent hub...I shared this with my wife and she says thank you

    • andycool profile image
      Author

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      Thank you Pamela N Red... I'm glad to know that you're aware. Increased awareness is what we need to cope with such occupational health hazards.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Good tips, Andy. I try to get up and move around every so often so not to get too stiff.

    • andycool profile image
      Author

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      Thanks RTalloni for your valuable comment!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Great tips. Tipping toes upward on a wedge is new to me. Thanks.