Computing may seem to be an effortless activity, whether it’s for a job or for fun.
But, if you keep doing the same tasks over and over for a long time in the same position, it may cause damage in certain parts of the body – the PC version of the notorious repetitive strain injuries (RSI).
For instance, most people depend on the mouse while working on the computer.Â Doing this for only a few minutes should not be a problem for most.
However, repeating the same movements over and over again without a break can expose the small muscles and tendons of the hand to hundreds or even thousands of activations (repetitions).
You may not get enough time between activations for rest and recovery, which can cause localized fatigue, wear and tear, and injury to your body.
Similarly, if you maintain one position continuously, such as viewing a screen for hours without taking a break, it can tire the muscles of the neck and shoulder that support the head.
Typical SymptomsÂ of RSI include:
Â – Discomfort or stiffness in the hands, wrists, fingers, forearms, or elbows.
Â – Coldness, tingling feelings or numbness in the fingers and hands.
Â – Weakness or clumsinessÂ in the hands.
Â – Wanting toÂ frequently massage your hands, wrists, and arms
Â – Pains in the upper back, shoulders, or neck shoulders and upper back
You can greatly reduce the risks and pains from RSI by following these tips:
1) Work in a NEUTRAL BODY POSITIONING (â€œA comfortable working posture with a natural alignment of all your joints from head to toesâ€).
Â -Â Make sure that your hands, wrists, and forearms are inline, straight, and almost parallel to the floor.
Â -Â Ensure your head and torso are in-line, with head slightly bent forward, facing towards the front, and balanced.
Â -Â Ensure that your shoulders are at ease with upper arms lying normally at the sides of your body.
Â -Â Ensure that your elbows are close to your body and bent between about 90 and 110 degrees.
Â -Â Your feet should be either supported by a footrest or they should be resting on the floor.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â -Â While leaning back or sitting in a vertical position, make sure that your back is supported fully, particularlyÂ in the lumbosacral (lower back) area.
Â -Â Your seat should be well padded, so that your hips and thighs are well supported.
– your knees and hips should be at almost the same height, with your feet slightly forward.
2). Try to vary your tasks and work areas so that you get enough time for your muscles and joints to recover.
3). Arrange your workstation in such a way that you can easily change your working posturesÂ according to your convenience.
4). Have adjustable furniture for the work area that allows you to shift to different seated positions whenever you want to. This helps different muscle groups give you support, while others rest.
5). Your worktop should be spacious enough to let you use the mouse with either hand alternately. Thus the tendons and muscles of the free hand get enough relaxation.
6). Reduce your dependence on the mouse and use more shortcut keys.Â For example, you can use Ctrl+S to save, Ctrl+P to print etc., where Ctrl is the â€˜Controlâ€™ key.
Certain jobs do require more dependence on the mouse.Â Users in such professions should definitely learn to use more shortcut keys.
7). Jobs that usually involve repeated tasks (or maintaining one position) can lead to muscular strain.Â Escape this by taking several short breaks or relaxed pauses, and stand, stretch, and move around during these breaks.
This increases blood circulation and gives enough time for your muscles to relax.
8). Try to mix computer tasks and non-computer tasks alternately whenever possible.Â This encourages the movement of different parts of the body by varying the muscle groups in action.
9). Exercise gently at your computer, with stretches, turns, and flexes.
Fight the risks from RSI, and you’ll be in an excellent position to continue healthy computing today and into the future!
About the Author: Mick Madigan lives in the UK, has a continual interest in healthy computing, and has recently published aÂ unique detailed guide on the ways computing can harm youÂ – and how you can avoid them – at
A stress- busting audio/text exercise ebook, plus futher articles on staying fitter at your PC, can also be downloaded without obligation from this site.