Know the Ergonomics - Straight from a Physiotherapist
- 9 Months ago
Excerpts from an interview with Physiotherapist, Dr. Shruti Sahasrabudhe
Step Up to Life team (SUTLT): As using a computer is unavoidable for the corporate employees, the first question which pops up is - what is better to use, a laptop or a desktop?
Dr. Shruti: Laptops are not ergonomically fit for using for long hours. The reason is that the screen and keyboard cannot be adjusted separately as required. The screen should be exactly at the eye level and keyboard adjusted to the level where the elbows are angled at 90 degrees. The screen and keyboard of a desktop can be positioned according to the required height separately.
If a laptop stand is available, which can help to adjust these things, you can use it. If not, desktop would be a better option.
SUTLT: Could you please tell us what are the problems which a person can face due to continuous or excess computer usage?
Dr. Shruti: Few of the many problems one may face with wrong positioning or wrong use of computers can be -
- Neck pain or stiffness.
- Elbow pain: tennis elbow, golfers elbow.
- Shoulder pain: muscular strains.
- Wrist pain or tingling numbness in the hands & fingers - carpel tunnel syndrome, writer`s cramps, etc.
- Back pain- muscular strains.
- Soreness in the knees or ankles due to long static postures & reduced blood flow.
SUTLT: Can all these problems be treated through Physiotherapy?
Dr. Shruti: Yes, most of these issues can be treated through Physiotherapy. There are different techniques available through which we can give a proper treatment for these problems.
SUTLT: We hear ‘Carpel Tunnel Syndrome` to be a common problem related to extensive computer usage. Could you please elaborate on it?
Dr. Shruti: Carpel tunnel syndrome basically is related to wrist pain, numbness or tingling in the entire hand or few of the fingers. There are very important structures like blood vessels & few nerves which pass through a tunnel around the wrist joint. Wrong positioning of wrists for a long time during computer use can cause this tunnel to inflame & compress these vital structures giving rise to the symptoms. Correct positioning of wrist can help avoid the onset of this syndrome.
SUTLT: Why do many computer users get frequent neck pain? What is the risk of the same?
Dr. Shruti: The continuous positioning of the neck in a certain manner can lead to muscle fatigue which may give rise to pain. Furthermore, wrong ergonomic practices like wrong positioning of neck while using the computer or using it for long hours can place the user at a high risk of developing cervical spondylitis, straight spine syndrome, fibromyalgia, etc. These ailments can get chronic if not treated in time.
SUTLT: How important is the sitting position while using a computer?
Dr. Shruti: The sitting position while working on a computer is very important. If you are not sitting in a proper position, it can lead to a long array of problems related to the neck and back. And sometimes it may take a very long time to treat such issues affecting the normal movements.
SUTLT: Can wrong/faulty ergonomics reduce the productivity?
Dr. Shruti: Ergonomics is related to efficient use of the work environment. A professional works in the office for 8-9 hours or more. If one practices a wrong way of using a computer he/she can be vulnerable to Occupational Hazards like muscular pain, wrist pain, etc. This can affect the physical & mental health & in turn can affect the productivity. It can be avoided by taking small & simple measures in the routine.
SUTLT: Are there any ways to prevent the adverse effects of using computers for long hours every day?
Dr. Shruti: Yes. The ill-effects of using computers for long hours can be prevented through following certain things like:
- Practising good postures during long working hours on the computer is the first & foremost step
-Taking active micro breaks of 1-2 minutes where u can just move around a bit to break the static postures
- Small movements of hands, neck knees or back stretching on the working station
- Eyes need to be rested often by placing your palms on closed eyes or looking away from the screen to distant objects so that the eyes can focus & refocus
- Whenever any kind of strain is felt on the neck or hands take a micro break so that the muscles fatigue can be relived.
With deep gratitude to -
Dr. Shruti Sahasrabudhe
Physiotherapist Email - firstname.lastname@example.org