Are you sitting comfortably?

We all learned to sit at a young age, but bad habits creep in very easily, and the way you are sitting could be contributing to Repetitive Strain Injury(RSI).

There’s no one way to sit correctly, as we are all different shapes and sizes. However, there are guidelines that can help you determine if you are, and how you can fix it if you aren’t.

First thing is the height. Start by checking your height so that your arms are level when using the keyboard. Hopefully you’ve adjusted the monitor height as recommended by the earlier post. Keep in mind that you want your feet sitting level, so if they’re not touching the floor, try resting your feet on a phone book or foot rest. Gas lift chairs are a good option as they are adjustable.

Choosing your chair should be done with some care. Are you leaning slightly back? Do you feel each part of your back is properly supported. Check that the support is not just for the lower back, and that it’s not too much. Generally speaking you want the back rest to come up to your shoulders

If finding a chair is proving difficult, there are companies that make custom chairs, so you can get all the support you deserve. 

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How you’re probably using your monitor incorrectly.

So, as the title so clearly explains, when it comes to computer related injures, many fail to see the damage an incorrectly angled monitor can affect you.

Eyestrain is the most common complaint from people who work long hours at a computer. It can cause dry eyes, headaches blurred.

How to avoid these kinds of pains is pretty easy though.

1. Location, location, location

How you position your monitor can greatly affect how it affects you. Make sure it’s at a good distance form you, about 45 to 75 centimeters away, directly in front of you and at a little lower then eye level. This leaves your neck in a neutral position and means your eyes don’t have to strain to see the screen clearly.

 

2. Too much light? 

Turning down the light can decrease how harsh the light is on your eyes. It’s also a good idea to have the room lighting at  a similar level to the screen. Try closing your blinds and dimming the light, don’t use fluorescent lights either as they can hurt your eyes. This will mean the eye won’t get so over powered from excessive light.

 

3. All that glare 

If you can’t cut out the extra unnecessary light, an anti-glare screen will do that for you. Not to mention it also adds a layer of privacy. It’ll help cut down on harsh you can’t actually control.

 

Avoid eye strain is simple enough, though the lower lighting will take some getting used to. When you do though, you will no longer feel the dull ache behind your eyes and can live a full and happy computer life.

For more information, click here.

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Ergonomics

After the fulfilling post on RSI and the troubles and pains it can cause you, I’m sure most of you should be getting concerned about it. But how can we avoid this? How can we prevent the pain in our eyes and wrist from overusing our laptops and PCs?

Simple.

Pay more attention to your environment.

Ergonomics is all about studying people’s efficiency in their working environment. So, not only could you prevent strains, but also work better in your office. Everybody wins! Having a good position at the workstation can make you more comfortable during the long hours of work, being more beneficial for your eyes, wrists and back.

So how can we make this happen?

We’ll cover some simple ideas to get you doing this.

1. Height and Orientation

Having your keyboard, for example, flat on your desk would mean you would need to ‘over bend’ your wrists or keep your arms unnecessarily elevated. An easy solution would be to bring your keyboard up at an angle. Key boards now a days have small legs at the back of each corner. Another way to do it is to elevate your chair, making your elbows or wrists slightly higher than the desk. Shoulders should be kept relaxed at all times.

 

2.Placement

This is probably very over looked. Something as simple as your mouse being slightly further up and away than the keyboard means one would have to stretch out, affect elbow and back. You could even have your mouse too close, leading back to over bending of your wrist.

Instead the keyboard should be placed directly in front of you. The mouse close to that with the arm close to the body. Again, everything should hang loose and easy. A great little thing is a mouse platform, which rotates above the keyboard while keeping the same plane.

 

3. Use

Bending your wrists at sideways or up as you type can affect and wear away at your joints. The solution is more of a memory thing here as it means you need to keep in mind that you should reduce bending of the wrist and instead using your entire arm. Wrists should be kept straight, not up or down, using a mouse pad can be used with this. There are also trackballs.

 

So that’s pretty much it. Much of the prevention of computer related injuries comes down to the user remember how to position themselves correctly. If you can do this, you’re mostly in the clear.

Happy computering(yes I know that’s not a word)

 

–Alex

 

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Repetitive Strain Injury: Wrist Exercises

This video provides in-depth instruction on exercises you can do to treat Carpel Tunnel and other wrist-related RSIs. Comprehensive and informative.

-Matthew

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Repetitive Strain Injury: Cause & Treatment

A quick and handy video guide to what leads to the development of computer-related RSIs, and simple methods to prevent and treat them in future.

-Matthew

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And so it begins…. with RSI

Welcome one and all!!

I would like to simply say thank you first of all for your time on this blog. We aim to provide simple information on a topic many of you, i.e. avid computer geeks, would know. And if you don’t? Well then, lucky you.

In this post I would like to simply explain what it is we aim to cover over all in our blogs: Computer related injuries. No, I do not mean when one gets attacked by a computer, or ones happens to fall on one, but injuries relating to repetitive and excessive use of keyboards, mice and the like. It’s not something you would think would be a major problem, or even a particularly significant one, but it IS common and mostly passes by us unnoticed. So, let’s begin.

RSI Repetitive Strain Injury

Yes. This is as simple as it sounds.This isn’t even solely a computer related injury as it can occur to anyone doing a repeated action such as manual work or even playing guitar for long periods of time. Some symptoms can include:

  • stiffness
  • tenderness
  • cramps
  • numbness or even tingling

Long hours at a keyboard, long days and weeks, means that your tendons will tear little by little and straining the muscles. Each tendon is covered in fine lubrication to keep it smooth when it comes into contact with the bones and constant use of your computer can mean that this lubrication gets worn away and has little time to recover, leaving tendons open to damage. Eventually the tendons will become inflamed and pinch on the nerves. Now it’s starting to sound pretty bad right? I thought so. It can even go beyond your hands and wrists, affecting your eyes from staring at a computer screen, your back from slouching, and your neck from the awkward way many of us are guilty of as we lean over. Even gamers can experience ‘gamer’s thumb’, which is when your thumbs pretty much gets a cramp right in the middle of the most important battle of your life, making you pause and have to stretch it out. Tennis players can get tennis elbow and similarly, golfers get golfer’s elbow due to the repetitive stretching and bending of the elbow.

So, now that you know what causes a repetitive strain injury, and that not all of us are safe from it, what do you do? Tune in to the next post to find out! (Don’t worry it won’t be long. And you certainly won’t keel over as a result of waiting)

How the NHS sees it

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–Written by Alex

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