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Sitting in front of a PC or a laptop for long hours can take  it’s toll on your body.  Especially if you are a gamer, time can fly as you get sucked into your favorite game. Before you know it 10 hours went by sitting in the same position. We at GeekShizzle spend an obscene amount of time in front of our Pc’s, so naturally we know what we’re talking about.  Muscle and joint pain, overuse injuries of the upper limbs and eyestrain can result from playing too long without taking a break.

As much as we don’t pay attention to these type of things, and want to simply brush this off as “not applicable”, we have nothing to lose by applying some of these prevention techniques. This post will give you everything you need to know to avoid any type of injury, from muscle and joint pains to eye strain:

 

Back, neck, muscle and limb pains:

Back and neck pain, headaches, and shoulder and arm pain are common computer-related injuries. These tend to be caused by bad workstation design, bad posture and sitting for extended periods of time. Although sitting requires less muscular effort, it still causes fatigue and requires parts of the body to be held steady for long periods of time. This reduces circulation to the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments and can result in stiffness and pain. If a workstation is not set up properly, these steady positions can put even greater stress on muscles and joints.

Prevention:

  • Keep your mouse at the same height as your correctly positioned keyboard.
  • Position the mouse as close as possible to the side of the keyboard.
  • Use your whole arm, not just your wrist, when using the mouse. (we found this tip to be very unpractical)
  • Type lightly and gently, not possible with the old “bash-the-keyboard” games, but luckily those days have past.
  • Mix your tasks to avoid long, uninterrupted stretches of typing. Take a break between tournaments, or when you get that head-shot, take a quick 2 min breather before re-spawning.
  • Remove the hands from the keyboard when not actively typing, to allow the arms to relax.

 

Eye Strain

Focusing on the monitor for too long can be very bad for your eyes, especially if it is too bright, and too close to your eyes.  Want to keep your eyes strong and avoid getting that typical thick pair of glasses? Try these:

Prevention:

Suggestions to reduce the risk of eyestrain include:

  • Make sure your primary light source (such as a window) is not shining into your face or directly onto the monitor.
  • Tilt the monitor slightly to eliminate reflections or glare.
  • Make sure your computer screen is not too close to your face.
  • Position the screen so that it is either at eye level or slightly lower.
  • Reduce the contrast and brightness of your screen by adjusting the controls on the monitor.
  • Frequently look away from the screen and focus on faraway objects.

 

Most common injury:

RSI or Repetitive Strain Injury has become a very common injury among IT related jobs and kids. Also known as Carpal Tunnel syndrome, In the early 1990s the average age of workers reporting carpal tunnel syndrome was late 30s to early 40s. Now it has dropped to mid-20s and even younger.  RSI is the swelling inside a narrow “tunnel” formed by bone and ligament in the wrist; the tunnel surrounds nerves that conduct sensory and motor impulses to and from the hand, leading to pain, tingling, and numbness

This has been renamed by today’s generation of young people as Blackberry thumbiPod finger, or gamer’s thumb. Read more on RSI here.

 

The setup you need:

Ensure your gaming station adheres to these checks:

Workstation-Setup

 

ergonomic-mouse-position

apple_ergonomics_2

A few depressing facts:

• Recent studies have shown that using computers for three hours a day at a stretch can prompt health risks such as Occupational Overuse Syndrome OUS, Computer Vision syndrome CVS, tension headaches, low back pains and psychosocial stress. Intensive studies are being conducted to explore ways and means of coping with computer -related injuries that are gradually increasing, as reports from all over the world seem to suggest.

• Back injuries account for one-third of all workplace injuries.

• 10 years ago back injuries were associated with heavy lifting. Today they are caused by people sitting in front of computers.

• A 1998 survey showed RSI has increased by 22% in a couple of years.

• In the early 1990s the average age of workers reporting carpal tunnel syndrome was late 30s to early 40s. Now it has dropped to mid-20s and even younger.

• In Bangalore, India, results of a study among more than 1,200 IT professionals (2001-2003) suggest that over 75 percent of those studied reported CRI symptoms of varying severity.

• The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says CRI accounted for 66% of work- related illnesses in the US in 1999.

• Estimated costs to companies due to loss of productivity and compensation due to CRI is 60-100 billion dollars in the US alone