Regular computer users perform 50,000 to 200,000 keystrokes each day. Under certain circumstances and for vulnerable individuals, frequent computer use that involves awkward postures, repetition, and forceful exertions may be related to nerve, muscle, tendon, and ligament damage.
If you use a computer extensively (several hours each day), many experts recommend that you consider proper workstation layout and posture techniques to minimize your risk of developing injuries of the hand/arm, shoulder, neck, and back.
Overuse injuries develop over time, and may set in more quickly if you spend long hours sitting at a computer at home, as well as at work.
Symptoms of a problem can include numbness in the fingers, sore wrists, lower back pain, or eyestrain (redness, dryness, soreness, temporary blurring of vision, and headaches).
You may also develop general aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, arms, back, thighs, and lower legs (postural fatigue) or persistent pain or discomfort in muscles, tendons, and other soft tissue (repetitive strain injury).
Injury Prevention: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Avoid most computer-related overuse injuries. Some experts suggest that to reduce your risk:
* Use a properly set-up workstation.
* Use correct posture including keyboard and pointing device techniques.
* And most importantly, take frequent rest breaks.
Workstation Set Up:
If you're like most people, you are more productive and efficient at a workstation that fits your body size.
Chair: Many people find that a good chair is one that adapts to their bodies. You may want to choose one that is stable and adjusts easily for height and tilt. Consider a chair with a backrest that supports the curve of your lower (lumbar) back. Sit back in the chair when you work at a computer.
Work Surfaces: Many people may be most comfortable when the height of the desks is at about elbow level when sitting down. Check that there is enough room below the work surface to comfortably fit your knees and thighs.
Monitor and Source Documents: Correct placement of your monitor may help some individuals prevent eye strain, neck pain and shoulder fatigue by keeping your head and neck as straight as possible. Some experts suggest that your monitor should be separate from your keyboard and centered directly in front of you.