Sitting, like breathing or sleeping, is something we don’t often give a lot of conscious thought to, but when it goes wrong it can leave is with serious discomfort. The way we are working and using technology is changing rapidly and doctors are seeing an increasing number of patients with conditions such as “iPad hand”, the name given to the pain which occurs after long periods holding an iPad or other similar tablet. There are however many steps that can be taken to prevent such injuries.
If you work in an office, chances are you spend up to 8 hours per day sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen. Don’t be tempted to use basic dining chairs with your oak computer desks as you need a specially designed chair to do the job. Chairs should be adjustable, so the user can raise and lower the seat as necessary so that their feet are always flat on the ground. This prevents them from being perched too high and getting a sore back from leaning forwards over their oak computer desks. Swivel chairs help people more easily reach things to the sides of the desk without repeated twisting. Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure your seat is up to scratch so if you are suffering back pain, raise it with your Health and Safety officer.
Tablets and Smartphones
As well as the condition of “iPad finger”, doctors are also seeing patients with “Blackberry thumb” which is a strain in the joints and ligaments of the fingers due to repeated swiping movements on a smartphone or texting using the thumb. If using a tablet, invest in a stand or case which means you don’t have to hold it in your hand and take regular breaks, especially if you also find your neck muscles are getting sore from being hunched over. If your fingers or thumbs are causing pain, it’s your body’s way of telling you that you are spending too much time texting.
The fashion among teenagers for carrying their backpack on one shoulder only maybe building up back problems for them in the future. If the weight of the backpack is not evenly distributed it may cause the spine to distort and over time this could cause intense pain. Encourage your children to wear both straps of their backpack, or buy a messenger style bag worn across the body which distributes the weight evenly. Also, make sure kids aren’t carrying more stuff to a school than they really need to.
Our feet are not really designed to wear high heels as they throw the center of gravity forwards and put extra pressure on the balls of the feet. High heels are fine for parties and special occasions, but it’s always a good idea to keep a pair of flat shoes in your bag to slip into at the end of the night and give your feet and calf muscles a well-deserved break.