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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health How to prevent computer related injuries

How to prevent computer related injuries

The computer is a vital and most important tool in many different occupations at present. However, long periods of working at a computer in an appropriate manner can increase the chances of developing an injury such as muscle and joint pain, overuse injuries of the upper limbs and eyestrain


Computer related injuries:

Long periods of working at a computer can increase the chance of developing an injury. Muscle and joint pain, overuse injuries of the upper limbs and eyestrain can result from inappropriate computer use. The risks can be reduced or eliminated with proper work space design, improved posture and good working habits

Posture related injuries:

Back and neck pain, headaches, and shoulder and arm pain are common computer-related injuries. Such muscle and joint problems can be caused or made worse by poor workstation design, bad posture and sitting for extended periods of time due to  reduction in circulation to the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments and can result in stiffness and pain.

Prevention of muscle and joint injuries:

  • Use an adjustable desk designed for use with computers
  • Position the monitor so that it is either at eye level or slightly lower
  • Position your keyboard at a height that allows your elbows to rest comfortably at your side
  • Forearms should be roughly parallel with the floor and level with your keyboard
  • Adjust your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor
  • Use a footstool if your feet do not rest on the floor
  • Switch to an ergonomic chair, which helps your spine to naturally hold its curve while sitting
  • Use an ergonomic keyboard to offer your hands and wrists a more natural holding position
  • Take frequent short breaks and go for a walk or perform stretching exercises at your desk or Stand often

Prevention of upper limb related injuries:

Muscles and tendons can become painful with repetitive movements and awkward postures and symptoms of overuse injuries in the upper limbs include pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints, weakness and numbness

  • Keep your mouse at the same height as your correctly positioned keyboard
  • Position the mouse as close as possible to the side of the keyboard
  • Use your whole arm, not just your wrist, when using the mouse
  • Type lightly and gently
  • Mix your tasks to avoid long, uninterrupted stretches of typing
  • Remove the hands from the keyboard when not actively typing, to allow the arms to relax

Prevention of Eye strain:

Focusing your eyes at the same distance point for extended periods of time causes fatigue

  • Make sure your primary light source is not shining into your face or directly onto the monitor
  • Tilt the monitor slightly to eliminate reflections or glare
  • Make sure your computer screen is not too close to your face
  • Position the screen so that it is either at eye level or slightly lower
  • Reduce the contrast and brightness of your screen by adjusting the controls on the monitor
  • Frequently look away from the screen and focus on faraway objects
  • Have regular eye examinations to check that blurring, headaches and other associated problems are not caused by any underlying disorders

Prevention in children:

Parents can reduce the risk of children developing computer-related injuries by

  • Setting up the computer, desk, chair and keyboard to suit your child
  • Install a smaller mouse that contours to the child’s hand
  • Show your child how to use the keyboard and mouse properly and safely
  • Encourage frequent breaks
  • Reasonably limit your child’s game-playing time
  • Make sure your child has enough time for other activities, such as sport

Prevention of laptop related injuries:

The growing use of laptop computers has increased the rate of pains, strains and injuries among computer users

  • Use peripheral equipment whenever possible such as a docking station, separate keyboard, mouse and laptop stands
  • Have frequent breaks
  • Use a well set up desktop computer instead of a laptop where appropriate
  • Carry your laptop in a backpack or in wheel-along luggage