Technology has moved us forward in many ways, but it can also have us curled up in pain if we’re not careful. Here are four common tech-related injuries that are as easy to get as they are to prevent (thank goodness).
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
If you use a computer for more than two hours a day, you could be at risk for computer vision syndrome, a condition characterized by eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes. While the condition is temporary, it can be frustrating, especially for people who must focus on computer screens for a large part of their days (and this adds up to about 70% of us, according to the American Optometric Association).
If you suffer from CVS, add frequent breaks to your daily routine, adjust the distance between your computer and your eyes, and keep your doctor apprised of any symptoms that don’t go away.
Avid cellphone users--those who actually use their phones as phones--may be at a higher risk of developing tinnitus, a consistent ringing in the ear. While the connection is up for debate, some studies found that people who talk on cellphones for more than four hours a day were at an increased risk of developing tinnitus, which is difficult to treat.
Tech neck is the catchy name for a condition that refers to degenerative neck changes due to poor posture, namely the shape we take while we are pouring over our smart phones and laptops. Maintaining this posture for long periods of time can lead to disc injury, muscle strain, nerve impingement, and ongoing related pain over the shoulders, down the back, and along the length of both arms.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the reasons why repetitive motion injuries rank ninth for most common work-related injuries. The more time you spend hunched over your keyboard, the more likely you are to irritate the median nerve in your wrist, causing numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in your fingers and hand.
Preventing carpal tunnel, and all of these tech-related injuries, is as easy as maintaining good posture at the keyboard, elevating your wrists while typing to avoid nerve compression, and taking frequent breaks to stretch, focus, and move your body in a variety of ways. Make it a habit to remind yourself and your students to sit up straight, pull shoulders back and down, and place both feet flat on the floor.