What Is the Use of Technology Doing to Your Body?
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.”
However, it is not the computer itself that causes the problems; it is the way we work at the computer that is the issue. If we can correct the way our work station is set up, and correct the way the sit or use the mouse, we can go a long way to preventing or correcting these problems.
Throughout the day we use both static and dynamic movements. Dynamic movement happens when our body is moving—when we are walking, exercising, gardening, etc. The dynamic movements allow our muscles to contract and relax regularly. When we are moving dynamically, we will naturally breathe more deeply. Blood flow is also increased so that the active muscles are being replenished with the nutrients that they need.
Static load refers to the pressure we put on our inactive muscles, especially those around the shoulders and spine. When we sit still for too long (as we do at the computer), those muscles are kept constantly tight, rather than lengthening and contracting regularly. Breathing becomes more shallow, and blood flow is decreased.
Through the next few weeks we will be discussing things you can do to help avoid or eliminate pain as you work at your computer, phone, or tablet. Some topics we will discuss include setting up your workstation properly, how to use your body to its best advantage, how to use the mouse, issues specific to ipad, tablet or cell phone use, and adaptations for children as they use technology.
If you have had any issues or concerns about your use of technology, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.