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Computer fatigue: The cause and effect of data-device burnout

The Washington Times—May 19, 2013

When it comes to iPhones, iPads, iPods, BlackBerrys, MacBooks, Netbooks, GPSs, Androids, PSPs, Kindles, NOOKs, plasmas, cameras—we just can’t disconnect. Every year we are raking in more and more “screen” hours.

Research shows that an average American spends now 8½ hours every day in front of these backlit LCD screens.

Does staring at this many screens, for this long, for so many years, really matter?


Our Hands, Soul and Everything Else

Our hands are also affected by this Digital-Age consumption.

BlackBerry thumb is the most famous symptom of our un-ergonomic devices. It describes the all-encompassing aching, numbness, throbbing or tingling between the thumb and wrist, caused by typing on handheld devices for long periods of time. Courtesy of BlackBerry.

Short term muscle fatigue, muscle cramping, pain and swelling are aftereffects, as is BlackBerry thumb.

Long term, our iPhones can cause repetitive strain injuries (RSI), or cumulative trauma disorders. These conditions can affect muscles, tendons, and nerves. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendinitis, Tennis Elbow, and DeQuervain’s are some of the subsequent disorders.

Our hands were just not meant for this.

Julia Doty, OTR/L, CHT agrees. “Using these devices require prolonged grips, repetitive motion on small buttons and an awkward wrist motion,” explains the Occupational Therapist from Hospital for Special Surgery, one of the leading orthopedic and rheumatology institutions in the country. “The position and posture we assume when we text, use an iPad, and email from mobile devices is unnatural.”

When questioned if our hands will eventually deform and disfigure with electronic overuse, the specialist asserted “it will not cause the shape of the hand to change.”

So, there you have it.

Read the full story at communities.washingtontimes.com.




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