We all know that too much screen time can be bad for us. Whether it is on a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or monitored computer, excessive use has a poor effect on our posture. As a chiropractor, over the years I have seen firsthand the postural problems caused by device overuse. But what about people that have to use their devices for work? Many professionals, administrative and clerical workers use the computer for 7-8 hours per day. This type of use can have disastrous effects on our physical health.
Probably one of the most common causes of computer related postural dysfunction that I see comes from using a mouse for long periods of time. Traditional mouse position on a desk can cause forward rotation of the shoulder and can result in pain in the back of the shoulder and mid back area. It can also cause headaches and neck pain. Over time the body becomes accustomed to the dysfunctional pattern as it adapts to the computer users position. In some instances it can develop into acute flare ups of a fixed rib and sometime a torticollis when combined with other activities. It can overtime cause long term postural changes which if uncorrected can develop into early degeneration and arthritis of the spine.
What can be done?
By teaching your body to move correctly and releasing muscle patterns your body has developed, chiropractic care can restore the normal biomechanical function to the involved joints and muscles. This is done with a chiropractic adjustment as well as soft tissue techniques to restore the abnormal neurological message to the involved muscles and allow the muscles and joints to function properly.
What can I do?
- Evaluate your computer set up
Going back to your improper computer position will continue to cause stress in your body and cause the problem to reoccur. Talk to your chiropractor about your mouse and monitor position.
- Aerobic exercise
After sitting in a posture for extended periods of time, muscles are fatigued from being contracted in order to maintain your posture. Being sedentary all day these muscles will not have a great deal of blood flowing through them. The contracted muscles will accumulate waste products without having a way to dispose of them. Aerobic activity will help pump blood through your muscles to flush out your waste products and bring nutrients to your muscles. Activities which work the involved muscles like swimming would provide the greatest flow of blood to involved muscle but even going for a 30 min brisk walk will certainly help.
- Strength / resistance training
A strength training program can help your body remain in balance and more resilient to the postural strains of computer use. Ask your chiropractor for an exercise program or recommendation.
Other causes of computer related conditions:
- Screen Height
Improper screen height such as with laptop use or multiple screen use can cause neck and upper back problems.
- Improper chair use
Sitting in a non-supportive chair or just not using a good chair at its correct height can create a number of postural problems causing mid back and low back pain as well as possible wrist and arm problems.
- Improper keyboard height
Having your keyboard on top of a desk or table at a height where your elbow angle is less than 90 degrees can lead to elbow and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
For more information or to discuss any concerns about your posture with a Chiropractor, call 03 95977 7488 and book your consultation today.