Technology. You can’t imagine life without it. But how’s your body living with it?
Even the fittest woman you know, when bent over a computer or cellphone for endless hours, can begin feeling pain in the neck, back, forearm, wrist, and numbness or tingling in the fingers. If any of this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing “tech ache”, the twenty-first century technology induced over-use condition, RSI: Repetitive Strain Injury.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI): refers to aches and pain in any part of the upper body caused by overuse or poor working posture.
Here’s the problem. We notice it in others but we all do it, aware of it or not!
From dawn till bed, our head stays down, neck moves forward, the shoulders slump and back stays curved to create the perfect recipe for the mysterious upper body aches and pains! This poor working posture is throwing the body completely out of balance and resulting in the now commonly heard terms, “text neck”, “smartphone neck”, and “carpel tunnel syndrome” to name a few.
“So much of what we do is in front of us, not in back, so you get a muscle imbalance”, says professor of orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, and family medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Dr. Robert Dimeff. In the recent Dallas Morning News interview (Arts and Life), August 30, 2016, he advises to a tech break every hour to practice the “elbows back in the pocket” stretch. “It’s a real simple exercise. You just have to remember to do it.”
So, what are the simple things we can do to prevent RSI?
Begin by setting your smartphone alarm to remind you to get up and move and stretch every hour. Proper positioning of the hands, wrists, and computer are a must to prevent future RSI, so make these simple moves part of your daily routine.
If you have persistent symptoms with ongoing pain and discomfort, please consult your physician.
And for more ideas on making your workday “body-friendly”, check out these great ideas from the University of Virginia.