We live in a technology driven world and seem to spend much of our lives using electronic gadgets. These include:
- computers (mice/keyboards) for our work, gaming, web surfing, emailing, blogging, socialising
- organisers to plan our lives
- mobile phones for text messaging, web surfing etc
- other hand held email devices
- mp3 players
- digital cameras
- game consoles
- TV remotes and 100’s of channels to hop
What do all these devices have in common?
We spend an ever increasing portion of our daily lives interacting with them, often in a very unergonomic and repetitive manner (small repetitive motions with our arms, wrists, fingers and thumbs). Many of the gadgets themselves require computer interaction.
By interacting with these gadgets, we are maximising our exposure to the causes of RSI-type conditions, when we really should be minimising it. This is especially true if you are one of the many people who uses a computer in your daily job. Using a computer for 6-8 hours a day may already be putting your body at risk from RSI. If you add in interaction with some of the above gadgets, you will be increasing that risk. RSI (or cumulative stress disorder) conditions are indeed cumulative in nature, meaning they worsen over time.
Our bodies have never had to intensively utilise devices in such a way ever before in history, and therefore, day after day, they are not functioning as they were designed to do. We maximise our risk of injury by choosing to interact with the above devices on top of work related computer use. While technology has brought amazing benefits, there is a down-side if we are not careful. To compound matters, we may well be maximising our stress levels if we allow ourselves to become enslaved by it 24/7.
It is sometimes difficult to remember a time when these gadgets didn’t exist in our lives, and how we existed without them, but our future ergonomic health may depend on how we manage our exposure to not just computers, but anything that requires repetitive interaction. Every click can add up over time, and the health consequences can, in the worst cases, be severe. Only time will tell, but unless the human body evolves rapidly to cope with the new demands placed upon it, we may be on the verge of a massive RSI epidemic.
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