Repetitive Strain Injury has become a common disorder since the advent of the computer. We can type so much more quickly on a computer keyboard than we could on a typewriter. That means that we are requiring our hands to do considerably more work in the same eight hours a day than we used to.
Where are your legs right now as you are reading this? Tucked under you? Crossed? Wrapped around your chair legs? There is no one “correct” position for your legs, but there are some positions which are less likely to create painful issues for you.
Last time we discussed your sit bones. Now let’s look at your head’s role in computer posture—or your posture at any time!
With your upper body balanced over the sit bones, let’s look at your head. Take a moment to be aware of your head. Where is it? Is it balanced over the top of your spine, or is it leaning forward to see the screen? The second option is all too common. The head is at the opposite end of the spine from the sit bones. It counterbalances the sit bones. If either end is out of balance, then the whole upper body is compromised.
No matter how great our furniture is, if we are contorting our bodies in unnatural ways while we are using the furniture, we will still experience pain.
Any time we balance on the correct part of our skeleton, the muscles are not overworked to hold us up. We have several balancing points in our torso. If we allow those to line up, then we will be held upright by the skeleton and the muscles that were designed to do the job. A typical slumping posture may seem to be more relaxed, but it actually leads to more tension.
Today almost all of us love the things technology can do for us. It can help us find the information we need, entertain us, or connect us to anyone in the world. What we don’t love so much is the way we often feel after we have spent time in front of our laptop, tablet or cell phone. Many common complaints today can be traced back to our use of technology: Pain and fatigue in the muscles and joints, nerve injuries, high blood pressure, decreased muscle strength, and muscle swelling have all been associated with long periods of computer use. New terms have even been coined recently to describe some of this. You’ve probably heard of “text neck” or “text thumbs.”
We all hear about the dangers of the chemicals from plastics leaching into the water from our drinking bottles and other containers. So, how do we know which ones are safe? There is no guarantee that any plastic is completely free of leaching. The best choice is to avoid plastics altogether. However, if you do choose plastics, some are better than others.
A few years ago Tom Connellan wrote a book that became a best seller. Its title is The 1% Solution for Work and Life. In the book the author challenges the reader to make just a 1% change for the better in each area of life. It isn’t difficult, and over time 1% plus 1% plus 1%… adds up to a significant change. It’s a great challenge for us to become better than we have been in any area of life.
During the winter we spend most of our time in our offices working or snuggled on the couch with a hot drink. Then spring comes, and suddenly we are bending, twisting, stretching, reaching, digging, chopping, sweeping, kneeling, climbing, pushing, pulling, carrying…and the list goes on! Many times our body will let us know in no uncertain terms that it doesn’t appreciate all this change!