Most people who read blogs, and particularly those of you who stumble upon this one, probably know all about the minor aches and pains that can arise when using computers for long hours.
Most of us also know that those minor aches and pains can, if ignored, sometimes develop into much more serious issues that can cause a lot of pain and potentially threaten our ability to work. OK, so this isn’t a dramatic risk like working on a fishing boat or down a mine, but it can still be career-threatening and life-changing.
These problems are only likely to get more common. Computer use is growing, both in and out of work.
I like to point out the following – when I was growing up, extensive computer use (including gaming) was only for computer geeks like myself. But with the advent of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and CompetitiveUrge.com, even cool kids are using computers for long periods at a time and from earlier ages than ever before.
This has worrying implications – studies of schoolchildren in Scotland and Scandinavian countries in recent years have shown that they start suffering musculoskeletal pain from an early age. Much of this is down to carrying heavy schoolbags and poor school furniture, but they’ve also shown clear correlation between the amount of time spent using computers and experiencing pain symptoms.
The 2007 ViewSonic survey of 1500 computer workers reported 71% of respondents suffered back pain at their computer. But when they looked at the figures for 16-24 year olds, that jumped to 80%.
Either these young peoples’ problems will settle down in time – or the fact they’ve been using computers from a young age, together with other social trends such as obesity, mean that posture-related problems are going to significantly increase over time.
I know which my money’s on…