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Why Computers Are Increasing the Need for Physical Therapy in Parker, CO

April 4, 2018

When people see us complaining of neck, upper back, or arm pain, one of things we will ask is if they have suffered some type of injury. In today’s age of rampant computer use, it comes as no surprise when most of these people are at the computer at least forty hours per week. It doesn’t take long to figure out that computer use has triggered problems in these people, and physical therapy in Parker, CO is likely the only way to resolve their pain issues.

It’s no secret that we as a country have started leading lives that are more and more sedentary, and this is especially true in the workplace. Some health experts are actually calling “sitting” the new “smoking” because its detrimental effects are so severe when it comes to our health. Most of us are sitting at a computer for many hours, day in and day out. This may seem like an occupational injury, but unfortunately, it’s something we have no choice but to deal with since our livelihoods depend on it.

If you find yourself dealing with chronic discomfort because you are staring at a computer all day, try these tips from Time magazine for staying healthy despite spending umpteen hours sitting.

How Computers Cause Problems in the First Place

Posture problems result in injury-like symptoms over time. There is no single event that has occurred, such as what might happen if you were in a car accident. These computer “injuries” occur over a long period of time. Tissue in the affected areas begin to wear down, setting problems into motion.
How does this happen? People start to rely on their internal stability structures to hold them upright when they should be using their muscles. Sitting for long periods of time relaxes the muscles, so instead, people sitting at the computer are using ligaments, discs, and cartilage to stay upright and battle gravity. Over time, these tissues start to break apart, causing areas of damage that translates into aches and pains that don’t heal.

If the muscles were being used the way they are supposed to be, they would break down and repair—and get stronger. (If you are a weightlifter, you know how this works!) The tissues of the body don’t repair themselves the same way muscles do, so the problems for people just continue to get worse.
Computers are not going away, and people will continue to use them. Because of this, we need to figure out solutions for people so they can use the computers for work without injuring themselves. Physical therapy is one way people can get help from chronic pain from use of computers. There are also things you can do yourself to help alleviate these problems.

What You Can Do for Repetitive Strain Injuries From Using the Computer

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are common when you do the same repetitive movements day after day. They particularly cause problems in the shoulder, neck, and upper back. It’s particularly common in the shoulder of the arm we use for our computer mouse. This isn’t surprising since we use our mouse about three times as much as we use our keyboards.

The first thing you should do to avoid RSIs is to ensure your work station is set up in a way as to be ergonomically correct. You don’t want to have to move your shoulder too high—or too low—when reaching for your mouse. Both can cause problems with your upper arm and shoulder.

Other tips include making sure your wrist is neutral or slightly flexed when you are using the mouse or keyboard. Adjust your arm rests to make sure they are offering support to your arms. Use both hands for your mouse, switching back and forth throughout the day.

You can also try to use dictation software to give yourself a break from using the mouse and keyboard. A telephone headset is also useful if you are on the phone a lot and tend to hold the phone between your ear and shoulder.

It’s critical to modify your workspace because even if you undergo physical therapy for your RSI, it will return if you don’t fix the problems that caused it in the first place.

The Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injuries From Using the Computer

If you notice any of the following, this could be an RSI:
  • Pain in your arm or shoulder on the side that uses the mouse
  • A burning feeling in your arm or shoulder
  • Pain and tightness in the shoulder blades and back
  • Tingling or numbness in your fingers and hands
  • Pain in your wrist—especially on the side that uses the mouse
  • Loss of strength in your hand on the side that uses the mouse
You might also find that you are getting frequent headaches. People can experience one or all of these symptoms, depending on the severity of their RSI.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

Physical therapy is helpful for those who have an injury that is preventing them from moving in the way they previously did. It is good for people of all ages. (Read these tips on preparing for your first physical therapy appointment.)
If you are suffering from pain because you are at the computer every day for hours, physical therapy might help you in the following ways:
  • It can reduce or eliminate the pain you are suffering.
  • It can restore muscle and joint function in injured areas.
  • It can improve your mobility.
  • It can help you avoid surgery to treat an injured area.
We live in a computer age where RSIs are common. You don’t have to live with chronic pain. Find out if physical therapy might be the answer for your injuries from using the computer.

Contact us today to find out more about physical therapy or any of our other services. With offices throughout the Denver metro area, including south Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lowry, Parker, Aurora, and Englewood, you can be sure that one is conveniently located near you. We look forward to working with you and helping you live a healthy, pain-free lifestyle!