How Spending Hours on a Computer Can Lead to Injuries

Having an office job comes with a lot of benefits, but sitting at a computer for several hours on end isn’t necessarily one of them. Sometimes, sitting for hours can actually cause quite a few problems. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to correct these issues.

Back Injuries

If you have sat at a computer for several hours, it is easy to slump over, lean back in your chair, and generally just not practice good posture. After all, if your chair doesn’t properly support your posture, it can be quite tiring to sit straight for several hours at a time. But according to ISSA, it is incredibly important to sit properly, with good posture. Bad posture can put your spine out of alignment and can put extra pressure on your spine, overloading the disks and building pressure. Some of the most common forms of bad posture are rounding shoulders, crossed legs, and sinking low in your seat. If this is you, now is the time to fix it. Start by making sure your desk and chair are set up to support proper posture. Set reminders to stand up and adjust yourself and make sure you regularly readjust your posture.

Neck Pain

Similar to back pain and injuries, according to BTOD, neck pain is a common side effect of too much time sitting at a computer. While adjusting your posture can do a lot to help with this, your desk and chair set up can have a huge impact on your neck as well. If your chair is too low or your desk is too high, you may end up shrugging your shoulders in order to type properly. If your monitor is at a bad position, you may end up craning your neck too much to properly see the screen. Make sure you have adjusted your workstation to accommodate a neutral neck position and avoid slouching or shrugging too much.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

According to Bruscato Law, carpal tunnel syndrome results from repetitive stress to the wrist. Repeated stress leads to a pinched nerve in the wrist, which is what causes the pain and discomfort. Common symptoms include tingling, numbness, feeling like your hand has fallen asleep and pain in the inner part of your hand and fingers. While repeated wrist movements like typing don’t always cause carpal tunnel syndrome, they can if the wrists are not properly supported or positioned. To avoid this, make sure your hand and wrist remain in a neutral position while typing. Your hand shouldn’t be angled up or down, and you should originate back and forth movements at the elbow, not the wrist. If you find you are constantly resting your wrist at an awkward position, consider getting a keyboard and mouse pad that have wrist support. If you find your wrist is constantly elevated, you may need to adjust the height of your desk or keyboard.

Eye Strain

You may not realize it during the moment, but according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, looking at a screen for long periods of time can cause quite a bit of strain on the eyes. While you won’t “ruin your eyes” by staring at a screen for too long, you can cause fatigue and end up with some uncomfortable side effects of too much screen time. Normally, people blink around 15 times a minute, but that is cut down by between half to a two-thirds when staring at a screen, so make sure you are actually blinking! You should also make sure your screen is an appropriate distance from your face and that it isn’t too bright. If you find yourself struggling, consider using a screen protector to reduce glare or computer glasses to reduce the strain on your eyes.

Muscle Deterioration

While muscle deterioration obviously happens over time, it is something you need to be aware of. If you spend all day sitting at a computer at work and then go home and sit on your couch, you aren’t using your muscles as much as you would normally. Sitting for long periods of time weakens the large muscles in the legs and butt, which can affect your walking, climbing, and stabilization. Even a little extra weakness in these muscles puts you at a greater risk of injury than you would be otherwise. To prevent this, make sure you are taking regular breaks to walk around and that you regularly dedicate time to exercise. You may also want to look into a standing desk to add some variety to your routine.

Obviously, the best solution is to make sure you prevent these problems from occurring in the first place. Take regular breaks from your computer and make sure you don’t spend your whole life sitting down. Exercise is important, so make sure you work that into your daily routine.

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