Musculoskeletal Twinges Related to Technology

Are you guilty of sitting in front of a computer screen for hours without taking a break?
Are you guilty of thumbing thru e-mails or Facebook on your mobile whilst waiting at the Doctors?
Are you guilty of giving your children the iPad to entertain whilst you catch up for a coffee with a friend?

We now live in a very “switched on” technological world that contains many devices that help make all aspects of our lives more accessible and generally more efficient 24/7.

However, with these advances in technology there comes one setback, PAIN. This can occur in many varied forms resulting muscle and joint strain, pins and needles, or numbness related to nerve compression, headaches, backaches, tendonitis and inflammation or eye strain.

Often we sit in positions that are not posturally correct.  Curling up on the couch with the tablet, hunched over the mobile to read the small text, sitting in a chair balancing the laptop on our knees, or cradling the mobile/phone between our ear and shoulder. These are all positions that can result in musculoskeletal health problems and have been noted to be a factor in the alarming increase in presenting complaints described by patients when visiting their health professional.

Technology cannot be avoided in our lifestyle; however, it is all about appropriate usage and maintaining a balance within a healthy active lifestyle.

In avoiding technological twinges it is best to follow the following advice:

  • Change position regularly or use a regular gentle stretching program for neck/shoulders and upper back.
  • Avoid typing for long periods on a tablet; try to use an attachable keyboard or more appropriately a desk top or laptop computer.
  • Avoid using the laptop in bed or on the couch or alternatively sit upright supported by pillows or cushions and angle screen to avoid reflections.
  • Don’t cradle phone between your shoulder and ear; use a headset or hands free device instead.
  • Reduce the time spent on computer games for children, as often they don’t have the capacity to monitor this for themselves.

If pain does occur it is important to consult your health professional. Osteopaths can use a variety of techniques involving soft tissue therapies and trigger point release, joint mobilization and articulation, manipulation stretching, ultrasound therapy, and advice on exercise and self-help rehabilitation to combat these problems.

Technology does not have to be avoided, but maintaining a balance between our interactive lifestyle and our active lifestyle is paramount for GOOD HEALTH.