Computers are great. They allow us to do so much and enable so many cool things that we otherwise would struggle to do. We can explore amazing virtual worlds, sort out a mile of calculations in a minute, automate the tedious processes that happen every day, and so much more. However, every great thing has its drawbacks, and computers are no exception. Without proper attention to posture, self care and other matters we can cause ourselves physical harm that can impact our overall health.
With that in mind, let’s consider some of the factors that can occur from computer use, and how we can help alleviate or counter them.
Many computer users complain about headaches. Frequent use of monitors that are at full brightness, combined with increased muscle tension from the neck, can cause this to be exacerbated. A good way to help stop this from being as much of a factor is to take a 5 minute break from the monitor every hour, and to do regular posture checks. Some people have also found that using a program like Flux can help with their screen brightness, and others even go as far as to buy a neck massager to help relieve tension.
If there’s one big risk every computer user is at, it’s this. The blue light that computers shine out can be potentially harmful if you don’t take any breaks, and while the aforementioned Flux can help, what is better is to take frequent monitor breaks and to adjust the brightness of your screens to be lower. Additionally, don’t forget to keep a good distance from your monitors if at all possible, and keep blinking – We can have a tendency to stare too intensely at screens and not blink. If you feel like your eyesight may be getting worse and you do not want to keep reaching for your glasses, you may want to look into resources such as SharpeVision to discuss potential laser eye surgery. It will mean less worrying about where your glasses are, and more support for your eyesight.
Sometimes when we work at our computers for a very long time we start to grow achy. Our shoulders hurt and are tense, our back feels bad, our chest can even feel sore or our hands can go numb. A lot of this is to do with our posture when we’re sitting at our desks. It may be worth getting an ergonomic chair (probably looking at these can help), or if that isn’t possible then some orthopaedic cushions. We should also try to stand up and do stretches on a regular basis, as well as sit with our backs straight at our desks
Repetitive Strain Injuries
This is one of the common complaints for computer users. Your arms and neck could begin to cramp as you use your computer over time. Adjusting your desk layout can help a lot with this, from moving your mouse with your arm rather than your wrist, as well as learning to type with less force. Fast typing skills can also trigger our hands to have possible carpal tunnel syndrome. It is a disease where we can feel numbness and weakness in our hands which could lead us to contact digital health consultants such as Hinge Health (https://www.hingehealth.com/blog/digital-health-benefits-musculoskeletal-conditions/) and similar others. Keeping on top of stretches and speaking with our doctors about these pains is important, as the damage can increase with time.
Do you use headphones when you’re on your computer? How loud is your volume? Keeping tabs on this is important to help prevent hearing loss from extended periods of loud noise blasting directly into the eardrums. Keeping the volume to about 80 decibels is the ideal range, so find out where that is for your PC. Additionally, make sure that you keep your ears clean, especially if you use in-ear earphones. You can also use anti-radiation air tubes and a laptop mat by a company with the likes of BLUblox to prevent harmful sound frequencies and radiations from entering your body.
With all this said, there are other potential injuries that can occur from computer use. Staying vigilant, keeping mobile and making sure to take breaks are three key ways we can help stay as healthy as possible throughout our time on these machines. After all, we come before our computers, and the better we keep ourselves the better our lives are.