Computers and Postural Stress

It seems inevitable, given the world we live in, that a vast majority of people spend a lot of time in front of a computer. Therefore, it’s logical that we see that a large number of people come through our clinic with postural stress related to computing and sitting at desks.

The problems we see at Walkerville Chiropractic are varied – anything from forward head posture, ligament damage, carpal tunnel, soft tissue damage, elbow pain and general strain.

Just as the causes are varied, so are the treatments. They range from spinal adjustment, soft tissue work, varying physiological modalities, right through to workplace ergonomic assessment.

In fact, this is the best way of addressing the problem and preventing further or re-occurring damage.

Let’s start with the elbows – the joints that bring us the most repetitive stress injuries. Resting the elbows and the wrists on hard surfaces is not only painful, but can can cause tenderness of the bones. Using a simple wrist support, or adjusting the work bench so that you’re elbows aren’t resting on a hard surface is often enough to prevent any unnecessary problems and pain.

Postural issues, particularly sitting all day, also present themselves as major issues in Australian health today. Rounded, slouching shoulders and forward posture create undue stress on theneck, back and limbs. Excessive strain over a long period of time can lead to weakening of the bones and muscles, loss of hydration around the ligaments and joints (leading to tenderness and inflammation) and headaches.

Furthermore, the body simply wasn’t built to sit all day long! The lower back and lower extremities are weakened and more prone to injury when assuming this position without change on a repetitive and frequent basis. Joint function is also jarred and reduced, also. Regular exercise can combat this, but if you’ve been sitting for far too long without movement, the risk of injury or stress when doing physical work is significantly increased.

There are many ways to improve posture and physical health in the workplace, or wherever you may use a computer. Positioning the screen to keep the neck in a neutral and natural position as often as possible can reduce stress on the spine and limbs. Getting proper lumbar (lower back) support, with a good chair, can also reduce the chances of pain and discomfort. Ensuring that your vision is clear (i.e. you are not straining or leaning in to see the screen) is also key in ensuring an ergonomically sound work space.

It’s not just computers that pose a problem, though. Many Australians do not exercise regularly or frequently enough and believe that just because they’re not in front of the computer, they’re not doing any harm to themselves. If you consider the lifestyle of many – this is simply not the case. Millions of Australians spend the day sitting at a desk in front of a computer, then sit in the car/bus/taxi/train/tram on the way home and spend the rest of the evening on the couch. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and ongoing systematic health care is important to maintain a health lifestyle and optimal health. Regular chiropractic maintenance care will ensure that you get the best out of your health and also helps to alleviate the problems associated with today’s relatively immobile lifestyles.

If you believe that your work space needs a change, but you’re not sure where to start, why not discuss your concerns with any of the chiropractors here at Walkerville Chiropractic. They will talk you through the process and are able to make recommendations based on your health, personal needs and concerns.

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