Technology is an amazing tool, and as a geek myself I have several gadgets. I can usually be spotted using two at a time. Over the course of a day, I can easily spend over 15 hours in front of a computer, cell phone, or tablet. Unfortunately, as helpful technology can be, I have learned it can also lead to painful problems. Here’s a list of physical conditions you may get as a result of spending a lot of time using technology, and how to fix each problem:
Computer Vision Syndrome
This occurs when your eyes are focused on the screens of computers, tablets, smartphones, and other digital screens for extended periods of time. This caused me to suffer from headaches, migraines, dry eyes, blurred vision and neck pain.
Fix: I got corrective eyeglasses to correct my vision, which would alleviate eye strain. In addition, my eyeglasses have a coating that resists glare from electronic screens. Turning down the brightness on all my devices also helped. My eye doctor also told me about the “20-20-20 rule”, which means every 20 minutes you look away from the screen at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t remember to do it on your own you can set a reminder.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel is numbness and tingling in the hand and arm caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. This is often caused by repetitive tasks. In my case, I got this from constant use of the mouse and keyboard at my computer.
Fix: In addition to taking breaks from typing or mouse clicking, I got an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, which had padding underneath my wrist. The padding aligned my wrist properly so that it wouldn’t strain at all; it made using the mouse and keyboard feel more natural too.
Lower Back Pain
This one I still experience from time to time, but it’s an easy fix. I used to spend hours hunched over at my computer or sitting improperly on the couch as I texted friends on my phone.
Fix: Sit up. It sounds simple but many of us don’t sit properly. I realized that if I stopped hunching over in my chair my back would feel better. My only problem now is remembering to sit up straight.
Technology is here to stay, so we must always be mindful of how it can affect our health. Luckily in my case these issues resolved once I made small changes. I hope that my experiences can help you too, and if your physical pain continues, don’t be afraid to consult a doctor for a plan that will suit your needs.
Cover Image by Hana Haley