A vast number of people use computers on a daily basis, either for work or for fun and other activities. However, using the computer on a daily basis, in the long run, can lead to injuries due to the repetitive stress on the joints, taking place during these actions.
Taking into consideration that children are using computers quite a lot these days, it is obligatory to prevent these types of injuries from affecting them. Most common situations where computer-related repetitive stress injury may appear in children are during excessive playing of computer games.
About Repetitive Stress Injuries
Basically, as it was mentioned above, the repetitive stress injury takes place once you use your joints too often through repetitive actions which place excessive stress on these parts of your body. Naturally, many different actions can lead to this state of affairs and, therefore, various types of repetitive stress injuries exist.
This condition manifest through pulling of the muscles and the tendons located around the affected joint, not allowing our body the time necessary to recover from this form of stress.
Even though, in modern times, most occurrences of this injury take place due to excessive computer usage, other factors may be the culprits too. Namely, playing an instrument or indulging into sports which involve repetitive actions, like tennis, for example, all are situations which can potentially trigger repetitive stress injuries.
One of the most common types of these injuries is the carpal tunnel syndrome, manifesting through swelling of the narrow tunnel inside the wrist, pressing onto the nerves inside, triggering pain, numbness and tingling in certain situations.
Cervical radiculopathy can also be a form of repetitive stress injury, taking place once the disks in the neck are compressed. Usually, people who often hold phones pressed on their shoulders by their head, in order to keep their hands free, are the main risk group for developing this condition.
Epicondilitis is yet another variant of this injury, once it affects the elbow area, resulting in pain. Alternatively, if any forms of swelling appear on the joints, these are usually related to ganglion cysts, due to the fact that the affected joint or tendon has released jelly-like substances in order to deal with the repetitive stress injury.
Speaking of swelling, if this phenomenon affects the hands, appearing along with a loss of muscle control and pain, it may be a condition called reflex, sympathetic dystrophy.
Finally, once the tendons get inflamed, these signify a condition called tendonitis, leading to pain and discomfort in the affected areas.
Sitting up straight at all times will keep your children safe from RSIs. Slouching or bending over the keyboard in order to observe the screen better can only make matters worse. Thus, teach your children how to keep their shoulders relaxed and their legs flat on the floor, forming a 90 degrees angle with the spine.
In order to prevent any finger or wrist injuries due to violent typing, teach your young ones that gentle touches are more than enough in order to type. Additionally, if the keyboard is far away from their arms and hands, tell them to move it closer, keeping the wrists and upper arms at a 90 degree angle.
After a longer amount of time spent typing or working on the computer, some parts of your body may get injured. Therefore, it is crucial to make short breaks often relaxing your eyes, wrists, back and many other parts of your body. Make sure you teach your children that.
Furthermore, keep in mind that most of the items used for computer work, such as chairs, keyboards and others are all designed to match the body of a 25-year-old man. So, do not purchase these for your child. Rather, make sure you buy adequate pieces of equipment, matching his/her age and needs, especially when it comes to chairs and desks.
Keep the kids about 2 feet away from the screen, with the keyboard about 29 inches above the floor, depending on the height of the child.
Finally, keep in mind that laptops are heavy to carry around and uncomfortable to work with often. Thus, these forms of computers may not be recommended and suitable for children.
Treatment of RSIs
Depending on the type of the RSI you or your child are suffering from, the treatment types may vary. Bearing this in mind, it is best to seek medical assistance as soon as you notice any symptoms of any of the above mentioned conditions.
Most commonly, the doctor may prescribe medications which will do away with the swelling, promoting faster healing and rehabilitation. During this time you will likely be asked to rest and refrain from getting involved with the activities which lead to your RSI in the first place.
Later on, once the swelling is gone, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed for dealing with the pain and the discomfort. Once the problem is treated, you are advised to change your ways, purchasing ergonomic computer equipment and adjusting your computer system in order to prevent RSIs from appearing again.
All in all, repetitive stress injuries or RSIs are injuries which affect the joints in our body, commonly appearing during long-term repetitive actions we perform, such as computer usage, playing repetitive sports or playing a musical instrument.
If the symptoms of any of the above mentioned conditions start affecting you or your child, seek medical assistance as soon as possible and allow your body to get the required rest from these damaging activities.