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Computer Ergonomy

Mouse labour can be compared to work of a F1-formula driver or a ballet dancer. Our bodies were not designed for sitting still long time periods. Mouse work will take its toll, sooner or later. You should try to benefit as much as you can from your knowledge worker career while you are still able to continue.

According to a recent Scandinavian study, more than 50% of computer users reported musculoskeletal symptoms in the neck or upper extremities during the first year on a new job.

REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURY

Repetitive strain injury (RSI), also known as cumulative trauma disorder or occupational overuse syndrome, is a physical injury which is most common among assembly line and computer workers. resulting from an extensive computer use.

RSI conditions have many varied symptoms. The following may indicate the onset of an RSI:

  • Recurring pain or soreness in neck, shoulders, upper back, wrists or hands.
  • Tingling, numbness, coldness or loss of sensation.
  • Loss of grip strength, lack of endurance, weakness.
  • Muscles in the arms and shoulders feel hard and wiry when palpated.
  • Pain or numbness while lying in bed. Often early stage RSI sufferers mistakenly think they are lying on their arms in an awkward position cutting off circulation.

As a treatment, a medical professional may prescribe orthopedic hand braces, but the patient should not self-prescribe, or further injury might result. As medication, The medication, one can prescribe Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling, or anti-convulsant medications such as gabapentin to reduce neuropathic pain.

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EYESTRAIN AND PRESBYOPIA

Computer work related eyestrain can be experienced as burning, tightness, sharp pains, dull pains, watering, blurring, double vision, headaches, and other sensations, depending on the person. In addition, your  eyesight will get worse over time - this unavoidable development is known as Presbyopia.

Here are some aspects that you should take into account in your working place, to help your eyes survive longer:

  • Eye-to-screen distance: at least 25", preferably more.
  • Vertical location: viewing area of the monitor between 15° and 50° below horizontal eye level.
  • Monitor tilt: top of the monitor slightly farther from the eyes than the bottom of the monitor.
  • Lighting: ceiling suspended, indirect lighting. Use blinds and shades to control outside light.
  • Screen colors: dark letters on a light background.

How do you set up a computer workstation? Do you buy monitor risers or remove the CPU from beneath the monitor. Will even lower monitor positions cause neck strain? Can you get away with tipping the monitor down to avoid glare or should you invest in indirect lighting? How about viewing distance? 16 inches? 25 inches? Or even farther? Does screen color make a difference? Can ergonomic workstations improve work performance? 

ERGONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS

For more information, check out The Ultimate Test for Fit of ergonomic guidelines from The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association

Mouse labour facts:

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