Take a break! You may already know that repetitive body movements from sports such as golf, tennis, or running can create wear and tear on muscles and bones that, over time, can lead to serious injuries or de- generative arthritis. But you probably don’t know that working or playing video games on your computer for long periods of time can also lead to bone and muscle problems.
While the types of problems that can develop through lengthy computer use may seem small, failing to recognize the early warning signs of fatigue or injury can turn small problems into serious injuries. Sitting at a computer, whether for work or fun, for long, uninterrupted hours can expose small muscles to thousands of repetitive motions. Without adequate rest between motions, these small muscle and bone groups can become fatigued and more easily injured. When small muscle groups are fatigued, larger muscle groups may compensate, which can lead to other potential problems.
In order to avoid these types of strains and injuries, try to follow these guidelines while using your computer:
● Use an adjustable workstation that allows you to change seating positions and postures. This gives one set of muscles a break while other muscle sets are being used.
● Substitute keystrokes for mouse clicks if your work is “mouse intensive.”
● Take frequent, short breaks; stretch, stand and move around.
● Alternate computer tasks with non-computer tasks to encourage movement as well as rest for different muscle groups throughout the day.
● Learn about posture and ergonomics so you are aware of symptoms and potential problems.
● Make sure your workstation is set up to promote both functionality and a comfortable working posture.
If you develop any pain that is not relieved by rest, call us at (650) 947-8500.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.