According to an Australian Government survey of physical activity in 2011-2012, adults watch TV for 13 hours a week and use the computer or internet for non-work activity for nine hours. That’s 22 hours of screen-time right there. And children aren’t far behind, with an average of 14 hours a week in front of a screen. Screen-time can have immediate physical impacts on your body ¬– so if your eyes have been feeling scratchy or you’ve noticed a few aches and pains, maybe it’s time to do something about all those sedentary hours! In the meantime, check out the list below to see how you can get some quick relief.
Contrary to popular belief, screen-time doesn’t permanently damage your eyes, but it can strain them, leading to dryness or irritation, or both.
What you can do
- Make sure the light in your room isn’t shining into your face or directly onto the computer screen. That applies to electric light or natural light through a window. You may have to rearrange your computer or desk set-up.
- Check that your screen is either at eye level or slightly lower and isn’t too close.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, adjust your focus to something about 20 feet (or six metres) away from you, for at least 20 seconds.
- Help soothe tired eyes with an eye spray that can be sprayed onto closed eyes for instant relief.
BACK, SHOULDER AND NECK PAIN
Posture-related injuries in the back, neck and shoulders are common for computer users. While sitting uses fewer muscles, the fact that you’re holding your limbs still for long periods of time coupled with reduced blood circulation can cause muscle fatigue, stiffness and pain.
What you can do
- Sit at an adjustable desk specially designed for use with computers and have the computer screen at eye level or slightly lower.
- Have your keyboard at a height that lets your elbows rest comfortably at your sides, with your forearms roughly parallel to the floor.
- Make sure that your feet can rest flat on the floor, or use a footstool.
- Take frequent short breaks and go for a walk, or do stretching exercises at your desk.
- A heat pack can bring relief to a sore back. Some heat packs have to be heated in a microwave but others, like Nurofen Back Pain Heat Packs, heat up on exposure to the air. They’re handy to have at work as they can sit neatly under clothes, held in place with an adhesive strip.
REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURY (RSI)
If you use a computer frequently and for long periods, you may develop a repetitive strain injury. These typically occur in the hands, wrist or elbows and cause pain, stiffness, swelling and weakness in the overused muscles and tendons.
What you can do
- Have your mouse close to the side of the keyboard and at the same height.
- Try to use your whole arm when you’re using the mouse, not just your wrist.
- Type lightly and gently to avoid overuse of the wrists and fingers.
- Take an anti-inflammatory like Nurofen Zavance to help with pain or swelling, or rub a cream like Nurofen Gel directly on to the skin to help ease discomfort.
Along with physical injuries, an increase in screen-based activities has been associated with a decrease in physical activity, which can lead to weight gain.
What you can do
- Limit the amount of added sugars and fats you consume in your diet.
- Get moving – aim for 30 minutes of physical activity on most days.
- Instead of checking email or reading the news online in your lunch break, take a 20 minute walk around the block.
LIVE WELL RECOMMENDS:
Nurofen Zavance is fast and effective in the temporary relief of pain and/or inflammation associated with headache, migraine headache, tension headache, muscular pain, cold & flu symptoms, period pain, dental pain, sinus pain, back pain, arthritic pain. Reduces fever. Absorbed up to twice as fast as standard Nurofen. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.
Nurofen Gel is gently rubbed into the skin for the temporary relief of pain and inflammation associated with acute soft tissue injuries including sprains, strains and sports injuries. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.
Nurofen Back Pain Heat Packs
Nurofen Back Pain Heat Packs contain natural minerals that heat up when exposed to the air to target pain and stiffness with soothing, muscle-relaxing heat. Heat Packs are held in place with a low irritancy adhesive and can be worn under clothes without discomfort. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.