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A must-read for all computer users

Computers- A Pain In The Neck.

Repetitive Strain Injury

Statistics state that an estimated 1 in 4 computer users today suffer from chronic RSI, caused by spending several hours performing the same muscular functions on the computer or the typewriter.

Are you a victim? Find out.

  • Do you work on a computer?
  • How many hours do you spend a day on the computer?
  • Does the fatigue disappear when you get off the computer?

If your answer is yes, have you experienced any of these symptoms lately?

  • Burning wrists
  • Stiff hands
  • Aching arms and fingers
  • A backache
  • Fatigue

If your answer is no to these symptoms, but are a frequent computer user, click here to learn how to sit right.

If your answer is yes to any of these symptoms,then you're probably suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury, also called RSI.

Statistics state that an estimated one in four computer users experience discomfort and pain from prolonged computing. Victims include high school and college students who spent a lot of time on the computer. Typically, the pain is caused by awkward posture, repetitive motion, poor circulation, eye strain and glare. Left untreated, these occupational hazards are likely to lead to cumulative trauma injuries.

Consequently, a discipline called Ergonomics was developed in the 1950s to study the relationship between people and machines. Ergonomics particularly examines workstations, furniture and computer accessories in office environments. Researchers have since worked towards finding ways and methods by which worker effectiveness could be enhanced and unhealthy factors eliminated.

Two primary solutions were found to effectively mitigate this problem. Both solutions, however, must go hand in hand.

Solution 1 must be to follow certain dos' and donts' from your side in terms of maintaining the right posture.

Solution 2 is to ensure that you also use the right furniture to minimise the risk of cumulative trauma injuries. In the light of this discovery, ergonomic products were manufactured to help reduce pain associated with frequent and prolonged computer use.

Solution 1

1. Keep your arms parallel to the floor and wrists in a straight, neutral position.
2. Position your monitor so that the top of display is in line with the upper range of your vision.
3. Reduce the glare and low-level radiation from your monitor.
4. Pad the sharp edges on your work surface or get a wrist pad.
5. Make sure your feet touch the ground.
6. Keep your thighs roughly parallel to the floor.

Solution 2

How people sit also largely depends on what they sit on.

Today, special chairs with forearm rests are ergonomically designed to reduce the load on the neck and the shoulders, thereby reducing muscular tension. These are particularly useful for people who spend a lot of time on the computer or the typewriter.

An employee should ideally have rounded work surfaces. A rounded surface will not hurt your wrists. For those, however, who do not have rounded surfaces, a wrist pad will also work just fine.

Ergonomic designs have kept in mind the importance of upper and lower back rests and elbow supports. It would be a good idea to take a look at ergonomic furniture if you're planning to furnish your office or use the computer frequently.

Meanwhile, there are excellent sites on the Internet that tell you how to maintain a good posture. Click here to check if you're sitting the way you should.

Moosa Habib and Sons- Sole Agents for Ergonomic furniture in the UAE. Tel No: (971 4)346101

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