Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pain in the back: Sit properly-

Creating awareness of ergonomic computer equipment ...

"Last week, I came across an interesting press release. Not that most of them aren’t. But this one caught my attention. It dealt with an issue which may be known in India but is hardly acknowledged as a health hazard, leave alone taking corrective steps. The release pointed out how some big companies such as Microsoft Hardware, Logitech and GE Healthcare have launched campaigns to create awareness about the importance of ergonomically-designed computer products.

Microsoft, for instance, is staging street plays in key commercial places across 12 cities to educate people about the harms of using traditional computer keyboards and mice and the need to begin using ergonomically-designed ones. Interestingly, a recent Microsoft study that measured the computer usage patterns of 88 participants over nine months found that computer users strike the keyboard space bar an average of 669 times per hour of active computer use!

A smart jugglery of numbers? Another marketing ploy? Actually not. Yes, most of us spend hours on the computer, not pausing once to think that it could be dangerous. But the fact is that many of us unknowingly suffer from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) — which is getting common among computer users. One of the main causes of MSDs is repetitive motion which leads to repetitive strain injury (RSI) — a potentially debilitating condition resulting from overusing the hands to perform a repetitive task such as typing, writing or clicking a mouse.

As for health hazards, pain in the neck and back, sleeplessness, irritability and anxiety are the common problems associated with wrong postures, while the serious ones could include spondylosis and severe back pain.

And mind you, this is not just a casual observation. Stats back up the seriousness of the problem: Studies estimate that up to 15-25% of the workforce is affected by posture and back-related problems at any given point in time across the globe. Further, over 500 million man hours are lost every year in the US alone due to posture and ergonomics problems."    (Continued via The Economic Times)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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