In this age of technology, our world, our recreation, and our jobs are going digital. As more of our activities require us to be logging hours on our computers, injuries related to computer use are on the rise. There are several different potential injuries that can be exacerbated by computer use that range from overuse injuries and conditions that are a result of poor posture. The upside is that physical therapists can help not only treat these conditions but also work with you to help prevent them as well.
Poor Posture (Upper Cross Syndrome)
The classic posture for working on a computer includes rounded shoulders, slouching, and a forward head. This is also a perfect recipe for neck pain, back pain, and headaches. Upper crossed syndrome is frequently found in those who spend a significant amount of time using a computer. Shortening of certain muscles of the neck and shoulder and weakening of others are often the culprit of neck pain and certain types of headaches.
Physical therapists can work with you to set up an exercise program that addresses your deficits developed due to poor posture. Stretching the muscles of the anterior and lateral neck, strengthening the deep neck flexors, and improving scapular mobility and muscle strength can all help to improve neck pain and headaches. Improving hamstring and hip flexor flexibility, which can both become tight from sitting due to the muscles resting in a shortened position, and strengthening the core can aid in improving back pain that stems from poor alignment. Additionally, they can assist you in adjusting your posture in order to prevent further injury.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) has seen a dramatic increase in occurrences as more time is spent striking keys on the computer. Carpal tunnel is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist that results in pain, numbness, and tingling in the fingers. This compression is caused by inflammation of the tendons that pass through the small space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel.
Physical therapists can help to decrease symptoms of carpal tunnel by working through specific exercises that gently strengthen areas of weakness such as grip, stretching exercise, modalities, and joint mobilizations that may decrease inflammation and which in turn decreases the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Most importantly, physical therapists can work with you on the positioning of your wrists in the most ergonomic position that places the least amount of strain on the wrist while you perform your work or games on the computer.
Don’t Delay – Physical Therapy Can Help
It is not necessary to continue to suffer through pain and injuries. While you cannot just simply stop using a computer, our university trained therapists at Bourassa & Associates can work with you to improve your computer-related aches and pains and reduce the risk of an injury happening all together. We offer quick appointments, so give us a call to get started today!