Health and Wellness Newsletter
Your Computer and You
|A Healthy Workstation That Works
Setting-up your computer workstation to be a healthy environment is a key element in avoiding repetitive stress injuries.
Monitor position, seat height, and elbow-wrist placement are the main elements of a ergonomically healthy design.
- Your chair seat height and the keyboard should be aligned so that when your hands are on the keyboard, your elbows are parallel to the floor. In other words, in an ergonomically efficient typing position, your elbows are neither above nor below the keyboard.
- Your wrists should be in a neutral position when typing, neither flexed nor extended. Chronic wrist flexion or extension will result in fatigue and overuse.
- Position your monitor or laptop display so your neck flexes slightly and your angle of gaze is directed downward about ten degrees.
- If you're using a mouse, it should be close to the keyboard, so that good elbow alignment is maintained. You should not have to reach for the mouse. It should be right there.
Windows and Mac users actually do have one thing in common - computer ergonomics issues, namely, pain.1,2
Beyond the usual hardware and software gotchas we deal with on a daily basis, the real bottom-line question is, "how to play nice with my computer".
Doing computer work is a funny kind of work, a type of activity we're still getting used to. It's not physical work in the sense that there's no heavy lifting going on, no truck-driving, no emergency services heart-pounding decision-making.
But computer work is still an intensely physical activity, although the work is pretty subtle. In computer work it's the small muscles that are getting the workout, not the big muscles we're used to thinking about.
Wrist muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Finger muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Shoulder muscles, Neck muscles. All of these are involved in ongoing repetitive tasks when you sit at a computer and one hour turns into two, two hours turns into three, and suddenly half the day is gone and you notice you've got a killer stiff neck.
Or, one day the tendons on the back of your hand begin to hurt, feeling irritated and inflamed. Or your shoulders and upper back are tight and painful.
Your hands or shoulders feel better by the time you go to sleep. But the next day, as soon as you start to type they act up again.
This is all very uncomfortable, because you've got to do your work.
What's going on?
These various pain patterns in your hands, wrists, shoulders, and neck can be grouped together as a repetitive stress syndrome. Repetitive activities, done over a long period of time, can irritate and inflame the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that are involved in doing the work.
But computer work involves repetitive tasks. How can you avoid these painful problems?
The best approach is to prevent them in the first place.3
If such a syndrome does develop, relative rest is indicated. Reduced computer activity, in smaller intervals, is a good solution. A very useful work-around for right- or left-arm pain is to teach your non-dominant hand to use the mouse or touchpad. This training may take a few weeks - the valuable result is the ability to switch hands whenever you like, distributing the workload between the two sides. Much better.
The most important aspect of prevention is to take a quick, refreshing break once an hour. This is a critical habit to develop. Get out of your chair, walk around, get some fresh air if possible. Change your environment for a few minutes - talk to a co-worker for a moment, get a drink from the water-cooler down the hall, seek out a picture, wall-covering, or landscape you've never seen before.
These activities refresh your body AND your brain, and you're ready to do another hour of productive, creative, healthy work. You'll feel much better, you'll be avoiding repetitive injuries, and your workday will be more enjoyable.
1Keyserling WM, Chaffin DB: Occupational ergonomics - methods to evaluate physical stress on the job. Annu Rev Public Health 7:77-104, 1986.
2Computer Workstation Ergonomics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2000. http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/Ergonomics/compergo.htm
3Robertson MM, et al: Effects of a participatory ergonomics intervention computer workshop for university students. Work 18(3):305-314, 2002.
Nutritional counseling is a type of assessment made which analyzes various health needs in regard to diet and exercise. A nutritional counselor helps people to set achievable health goals and teaches various ways of maintaining these goals throughout their lifetime. Nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Without proper nutrition, one does not have enough energy to make it through the day.
This type of counseling assists all ages, ranging from pregnant women, to vegetarians, to the elderly and people with different medical complications. Those who may benefit include those with:
Diabetes; Osteoporosis; Poor nutrition and eating patterns; Eating disorders (some of which may require eating disorder treatment); Digestive complications; HIV; Cancer; Hypertension; Nausea; Nutritional questions; Allergies; Organ problems; Obesity; Hypoglycemia; Menopause; Fitness goals; Heart diseases
Spinal Decompression (IDD Therapy)
The Accu-SPINA is one of the most scientifically advanced back pain treatment systems available today. Designed to non-surgically relieve disc pressure, this device employs force delivery techniques which mimic physical therapy approaches to spinal dysfunction. The Accu-SPINA™ system has the ability to target specific segments of the lumbar spine for treatment. Over the course of a full treatment regimen, this system enables the treating specialist to distract the intervertebral space by a distance of 5 to 7 millimeters, thus significantly decreasing pressure inside the disc.
Spinal Decompression (IDD Therapy) Testimonials
"I endured neck pain for so long, due to two herniated discs. I could not find a comfortable position. My sleep was constantly disturbed. After the treatment, I was back to normal and pain free. I can now sleep through the night without pain. Thank You!" - P.R.
"I had sever pain down my right leg and around the knee area. I'm 62 and I felt like I was 85! Since starting IDD therapy, there has been steady improvement. I was pain free after all of my treatments! I strongly recommend this therapy for anyone with bulging discs and leg pain." - A.E.
Call us now at 908-522-8989 for a complimentary consultation to learn more about the benefits of IDD therapy and how it can help you.
Our Physical Therapists are Licensed Certified Professionals with extensive knowledge and training in anatomy, physiology and the biomechanics of the body. Physical therapy is a branch of rehabilitative health that uses forms of exercise and equipment which are specifically designed to assist people to either regain or improve their physical abilities. Physical therapy helps to restore a person's best ability to function through minimizing physical impairment, disability-related congenital and acquired conditions, and functional limitations.
The type of physical therapy treatment a person receives is dependent upon their condition. Complete physical therapy treatment can include some different elements. Pain reduction might include the use of ice, heat, relaxation, massage, joint mobilization, stretches, or the use of electrical stimulation or ultrasound.
We have on staff Jeff Aleski, Board Certified Acupuncturist who specializes in back pain, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, pain management, irritable bowl syndrome, infertility, face lift rejuvenation, sinus pain and more. The goal of this dynamic and integrated 5,000 year old health care system is to activate the natural, self-healing abilities of the body. Acupuncture is safe, natural, drug-free and effective.
Ten key benefits of acupuncture include:
Improved Health and Quality of Life; Stress Reduction; Pain Reduction; Improved and Faster Recovery from Injury, Illness and Surgery; Emotional Balance; Respiratory Health; Insomnia Relief; Strengthening Your; Immune System; Premenstrual (PMS) and Menopausal Symptom Relief; Reduction of Side Effects of Chemo and Radiation Therapies
We hope to see you soon. Remember, for a better tomorrow, do something about it today!
Do not forget to stop by for a spinal checkup and an adjustment.
Please remember that everyone needs to be free from pain so bring your friends and loved ones for a spinal checkup.