Cell phone neck and mouse arm: computers make you ill

Sitting for long periods of time, straining to look at the computer screen, and little movement are all part of many people's daily work routine. In addition to the back, arms and hands are also subjected to high stress during PC work. "Monotonous motion sequences such as keystrokes or mouse clicks are responsible for the development of a so-called mouse arm. The first signs are loss of strength and sensations such as numbness or tingling in the affected arm or hand. Pain does not occur until later," explains Wiete Schramm, a health expert at TuV Rheinland. Regular breaks from typing and clicking and frequent switching between mouse and keyboard are the best preventions against mouse arm. Special hand rests and stretching exercises can also help, for example, stretching out the arm, leaving the hand loose and pulling it toward the body with the other hand.

Looking at cell phones also poses health risks. Many people look at the display with their heads down. In the long run, this unhealthy head posture leads to increased strain on the muscles in the neck and to head and neck pain. "To avoid the so-called cell phone neck, the user should hold the phone higher to keep the neck upright or use the PC for more extensive tasks," Schramm recommends. Another affliction caused by modern technology is the texting thumb. It is caused by the movements when writing messages on the cell phone keyboard. This puts stress on the tendons in the thumb joint, so it can cause tension in the hand and tendonitis. The only thing that helps here is to call more often instead of typing a message.

No improvement in working conditions without assessment "Company physicians and occupational safety specialists advise employers on assessing working conditions to identify potential hazards to the health and safety of employees," Wiete says. This is a fundamental task of occupational health and safety. Identified dangers can be eliminated or reduced by improvements.

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