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Oleda's Tip: Careful. Computers Can Make You Sick



Careful. Computers Can Make You Sick

It’s truly amazing what can be done through the computer… and more amazing that it all happens inside a box sitting next to us…it’s still the 8th wonder of the world to me! I love it!

The computer has changed the world...but it can also change our health. There are serious health hazards attached to using a computer over a period of time. Some of these health problems are very difficult to correct after the fact.... but the good news is – they are very preventable problems beforehand.

Computer posture, the height of your computer
and chair, the lighting in the room and, yes, even the position
of your computer box next to you can affect your
body and health... both inside and out.

Most people don’t think about their posture while sitting at the computer. We buy a computer – plop it down on our desk and then plop down in the chair without thinking of the height of either. We, for example, have a tendency to think that the way the computer companies design the height of the computer must be correct. It usually is not... that’s where you come in.

The height of your computer, keyboard and chair, the lighting in the room AND the position of the computer box is most important for prevention of long range serious hazards and illnesses. Some of these might be neck pain, back pain, sore muscles, digestive problems, permanent bone changes that could lead to loss of flexibility, muscle strains, spinal problems, decreased lung capacity, digestive problems, eye strain and dry, tired eyes.

To Start: No More Poor Posture Sitting At The Computer

Good posture, standing or sitting, gives a very healthy energetic appearance; but good posture is more than looks – it’s a must to prevent possible major health problems throughout our remaining lifetime.

If you spend much time at all sitting at your computer, here’s what can happen to your body with poor posture or slouching….and I must say very few people have set up their computer work space properly to prevent such problems.

* Your bones can actually remodel around the poor posture and over time this will become permanent. This can eventually cause permanent loss of flexibility, too.

* Poor posture can result in muscle strains, pains and spinal problems, decreased lung capacity and even digestive problems. It can also bring on such conditions as nerve entrapment syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Nerve entrapment syndrome is the compression of nerve disorders, at specific sites in a limb. These sites are narrow passages where nerves are situated. The nerves are particularly prone to extrinsic or intrinsic pressure.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is normally caused by repetitive use of a hand or wrist. This can happen to anyone who works for long periods of time with steady hand movement. Stressful hand, arm and neck positions only aggravate the potential for damage.

How to Have Good Posture Sitting At a Computer

Your workstation must fit YOUR body size while sitting so that you are not straining or slouching.

Here’s How… My Personal Story

I learned to use a computer only a few years ago. For some reason I did not want to learn…but wow – now I’m so happy I got smart about it!

Before using a computer I never knew what it was to have a neck pain. To make a long story short…I was tense and strained… my head was always pointed down at the computer and keyboard. (My neck muscles had to strain to hold my head up.) My neck and shoulders were aching for weeks. I thought about it – asked myself why am I having to hold my neck up many hours at a time? So I set out to “fix” the problem.

Here’s what I did and it worked beautifully:

First, consider this: The average human head weighs between 10 to 12 pounds. However, if you are constantly bending your head forward in poor posture, you can be exerting as much as 30 pounds of pressure on your neck and upper spine. Think of the damage that can cause over time.

I gathered some books and raised the height of my computer screen 9 inches. Now when I look at the computer my eyeballs are exactly in the middle of the screen… I no longer look down at the screen, therefore I’m holding my neck in a straight, relaxed position looking forward…not straining. You can also compensate by lowering your chair…I’m tall so I adjusted my chair all the way to the down position.

That’s not all I did: Because I have to look down at the keyboard when I type (I never learned how, so I have to look at the keys) my head was still bent down to be able to see the keyboard. So….I moved the keyboard up from the desk with about 4 inches of books. I can now see the keyboard just by looking down with my eyes…not my head…what a difference. You won’t believe me until you try it.

Now, after testing this for a time with books, I’m having a permanent platform built for my desk.

And there is more! And I hope you will at least give this a try….keep a small firm pillow in your chair and put it in the middle of your back just above your waistline.…you will keep a straight back and even feel comfortable with it.

By the way my lady-friends….this also helps to prevent a double chin…that in itself makes it worth it…right? Your chin is up…not down…down encouraging a double chin.

Final note on posture. Bad posture or slouching is the most common cause of kyphosis whereby the shoulders are held forward and the head protrudes out front. This causes the muscles in the back to become tight and weak, resulting in other health problems such as back pain, headaches, and fatigue.

It is important to maintain good posture not only while sitting at the computer but also while sitting, standing, and sleeping. Keeping your head up, directly over your shoulders will maintain the proper curve in the neck and back. Keep your shoulders gently back to correct slouching. You will find that when you straighten your neck and slightly raise your chin, the rest of the back returns to its natural curves.

The Computer box…where it sits has much to do with eye strain or eye burning.

Dry eye is one of most common complaints that drive computer users to the eye doctor.

There are several reasons for computer eye strain and dry eyes: bad lighting - room too bright or too dark - computer screen too bright or too dark - a light bulb glare (usually from behind you) reflected on your computer screen. All these should be checked by you.

But the one reason no one seems to be aware of is the one that I believe to be the worst: the computer box itself placed next to you under the desk or on it.

Take a look behind the box…where all the in and out plugs are. Hear the fan blowing to keep the computer cool? That fan blows out warm dry air continually. You can actually feel it, even smell it slightly. This warm, dry air gently circulating around your eyes, dries them out and causes them to burn and itch…to become tired easily. The air is soft and seemingly harmless…but it is not. YOU SHOULD MOVE THE BOX SO YOU DO NOT FEEL THIS AIR. I had mine under my desk, but the warm air came up from under the desk and into my eyes. I have now moved it to the other side under my desk and TAPED PLASTIC UNDER MY DESK TO KEEP THE AIR FROM COMING UP FROM UNDER IT. What a difference…no more strained or burning eyes for me!!

To test a draft or air circulating around your eyes take a tissue and hold it in different places around you to see if it moves slightly…if so you might want to make a change.

Give your body a break… Relieving shoulder and neck tension at your desk

You can do this simple yoga stretching exercise to relieve your shoulders and neck from tension….sitting right at your computer!

*Stretch arms straight out…all the way left and right parallel to the floor, palms down….remember to keep them shoulder height.

* Keeping head in an upright, normal position, move your elbows straight back as far as you can, feeling the resistance in the middle of your upper back, shoulders and lower neck. Hold the position for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

If you are at the computer for long periods, you can do this when your shoulders or neck begin to feel stressed…or even before. Stepping away form the computer for short stretches helps.

I know…for one who just learned to use a computer at age 66, I sure do have a lot to say about it…I agree…but I hope it helps.


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