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Computer related injuries

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In the current age, we cannot imagine a life without computers. People who do not follow the ergonomic etiquette are highly vulnerable to causing damage to their health in many different ways. And this is the primary reason behind so many cases of computer related injuries.

What causes computer related injuries?

  • Non ergonomic work station
  • Overuse of hands and fingers
  • Continuous staring at the computer screen
  • Maintaining incorrect posture of back, neck, hands, and feet while working

What are the different types of computer related injuries?

We categorise them as:

Repetitive strain injuries

Doctors say that repetitive strain injury is an injury of the musculoskeletal and nervous system which is a consequence of repetitive tasks. Overuse of computer causes injury to bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons of different parts of the body. Common RSIs related to computers are:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome- Pressure on the median nerve of the wrist leads to numbness, tingling, and weakness in the fingers, wrist and forearm. It mostly happens due to overuse and improper handling of the mouse
  • Tendon injury- Inflammation of the tendons that connect bones to the muscles leads to severe pain in elbows and movement is restricted
  • Bursitis- Inflammation of the fluid sac around the joints of elbow and shoulder which gives rise to sharp pain in the affected parts

Posture related injuries

This is the most common form of computer related injuries. Bad postures like bending the back and neck while typing, leaning forward towards the computer and sitting for hours after hours can inflict upon severe pain in muscles and bones. Problems can occur in your feet and knees also when you don’t rest your feet correctly.

Common symptoms of posture related injuries are:

  • Pain in back (spine), neck, shoulders
  • Headache
  • Stiffness and fatigue in muscles
  • Numbness in feet and knee pain

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Eye injuries

When you look at your computer screen placed at the same distance for a long period, then your eyes are bound to get exhausted. Your eyes are further affected when the lights in your workstation and the resolution of your computer are not proper. The common symptoms of computer related eye injuries are:

  • Strain in eyes
  • Burning, itching and redness of eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurred vision and watery eyes

Diagnosis of computer related injuries

Apart from adults, children who are glued to computers also complain of headaches, eye strain and backaches. The diagnosis involves physical examination of the pain. An x ray will be suggested for general pain while CT scan and nerve coordination tests may be done in a major case of repetitive strain injury.

Eye test may also be done to check possibility of an eye complication

Treatment of computer related injuries

The preventive measures bear more importance to get rid of the pain and inflammation. Nevertheless, there are several treatment options for managing the pain.

  • Pain killers combined with vitamin D tables are prescribed to reduce the pain.
  • Steroid injections in conjunction with a local anesthetic may be administered
  • In case of nerve complications, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can be applied

Alternative treatment for computer related injuries  

Alternative treatments for managing pain and fatigue in muscles involve acupuncture and physiotherapy. Correct exercises, yoga, heat and cold compress, and massage therapies offer great deal of help. You don’t need to depend on painkillers with alternative treatments

How to prevent computer related injuries

  • Know about the essentials of creating an ergonomic work station
  • Sit on a comfortable chair that would support your spine. Use a lumbar support if needed.
  • Sit straight, do not lean forward. Place your feet on a rest board
  • Do not bend your neck while typing, look straight.
  • Place your mouse and keyboard side by side at equal height
  • Rinse your eyes with cold water every half an hour
  • Check out some “at the desk” exercises. Do them regularly for a few minutes

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 29, 2015

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