This guide is designed to help you be more comfortable and productive while using your computer. It may also help you reduce your risk of experiencing painful and disabling injuries or disorders described in the following Health Warning.
It only takes a moment to read, but the benefits can be lasting.
Use of a keyboard or mouse may be linked to serious injuries or disorders.
When using a computer, as with many activities, you may experience occasional discomfort in your hands, arms, shoulders, neck, or other parts of your body. However, if you experience symptoms such as persistent or recurring discomfort, pain, throbbing, aching, tingling, numbness, burning sensation, or stiffness, DO NOT IGNORE THESE WARNING SIGNS. PROMPTLY SEE A QUALIFIED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL, even if symptoms occur when you are not working at your computer. Symptoms like these can be associated with painful and sometimes permanently disabling injuries or disorders of the nerves, muscles, tendons, or other parts of the body. These musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tenosynovitis, and other conditions.
While researchers are not yet able to answer many questions about MSDs, there is general agreement that many factors may be linked to their occurrence, including: overall health, stress and how one copes with it, medical and physical conditions, and how a person positions and uses his or her body during work and other activities (including use of a keyboard or mouse). The amount of time a person performs an activity may also be a factor.
Some guidelines that may help you work more comfortably with your computer and possibly reduce your risk of experiencing an MSD can be found in this “Healthy Computer Guide.?You can request the CD version of this "Healthy Computing Guide" at no charge by calling 1 (800) 360-7561 (in the United States only).
For information about arranging your workstation and developing habits that may help to reduce your risk of experiencing an MSD, read this "Healthy Computing Guide". Because there are a variety of factors that may contribute to MSDs, this guide cannot provide everything you need to know to prevent an MSD or reduce your risk of experiencing one. For some people, following the suggestions may reduce their risk of experiencing an MSD. For others, it may not. However, many people experience greater comfort and productivity when following these suggestions. Keep in mind that this guide is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional or an employer health policy or program. If you have questions about how your own lifestyle, activities, or medical or physical condition may be related to MSDs, see a qualified health professional.
Whether you are working or playing, it is important to avoid awkward postures and position your body comfortably. Not only can this improve your overall productivity, it may help you avoid MSDs. Keep in mind that changing your posture during extended tasks may also help you avoid discomfort and fatigue.
When working or playing at the computer, adapt your surroundings and arrange your computing equipment to promote a comfortable and relaxed body posture. Setting up your workstation to avoid discomfort depends on your unique body size and work environment. However, the following suggestions may help to provide you with a more comfortable environment.
Physical forces continuously interact with our bodies. We may think that only high-impact forces, such as car crashes, are likely to injure our bodies. However, low-impact forces may also result in injuries, discomfort, and fatigue if they are repeated or experienced over long periods of time.
Dynamic force: A force that you exert through movement, such as pressing the keys while typing or clicking the mouse buttons.
Static force: A force that you maintain for a period of time, such as holding your mouse or cradling the phone.
Contact force: A force that occurs when you rest on an edge or hard surface, such as resting your wrists on the edge of your desk.
Taking breaks can help your body recover from any activity and may help you avoid MSDs. The length and frequency of breaks that are right for you depend on the type of work you are doing. Stopping the activity and relaxing is one way to take a break, but there are other ways, also. For example, just changing tasks - perhaps from sitting while typing to standing while talking on the phone can help some muscles relax while others remain productive.
A healthy lifestyle can help you perform and enjoy your everyday activities, including the time spent at your computer. Also, learning more about your health is an important step in staying comfortable and productive while using your computer.
Learning more about working comfortably and productively, as well as your overall health, are important ways to help you enjoy your computing experience.