Dr. Abhijit N Jinde,
Computer Related Injuries are the group of health problems contributed to or caused by computer usage. This disorder involves muscle, fascia, tendon and neurovascular structures, which typically afflict the neck and upper limb, eyes, back albeit any part of the body may be afflicted. They are also termed as repetitive strain injury (RSI), cumulative trauma disorder; work related upper limb disorder and occupational overuse disorder. It is estimated that 20-25 percent of all computer users worldwide are suffering from CRI discomfort.
In context to India the preliminary results of an study among over 1,200 IT professionals in Bangalore (2001-2003) over 75 percent of those reported CRI symptoms of varying severity (Ref: Study by Dr. Deepak Sharan) 500 software professional at Hyderabad in 2000 revealed that over 50% had symptoms of established CRI work force affected by CRI in India includes the IT sector, Call center staff, Biotechnologists, Research scientist, Bank professionals, Receptionists, Newspaper reporters etc.
The common symptoms
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Finger pain
- Arm pain
- Tingling, Numbness, Weakness of hand, wrist, fingers, forearm, elbow
- Visual strain
- Swelling / pedal edema
The most common forms of musculoskeletal affliction caused by CRI are
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is caused by constant rubbing a hard surface of carpel tunnel, which leads to irritation and compression of the Median nerve. Overuse injury, particularly to the finger that clicks the mouse buttons is also common. Symptoms are constant pain in the wrist, swelling, weakness numbness, pins and needles, restricted mobility of the wrist joint.
- Tendon Injuries
Inflammation of tendons of forearm and wrist muscles caused due to repeated tensing. Fibers of the tendon start separating further breaking and leaving behind debris which induces more friction, more swelling, and more pain.
This is the inflammation of the tendon sheath. But in this case the repetitive activity are mild and not enough to cause acute inflammation but the ability of tendon sheath to lubricate the tendon is lost because of which the tendon sheath thickens, gets inflamed. Symptoms are pain in fingers with movement, also felt over the top of the hands and knuckles, burning sensation in the forearm.
- Eye Strain: Focusing of eyes at the same distance point for extended periods of time, less blinking of eyes, air condition or hot atmosphere, causes strain on eye muscles and they are forced to work harder. Symptoms are drying of conjunctiva, blurred vision, temporary inability to focus on faraway objects, headache, fatigue, sometimes-watery eyes.
Hetu (Etiological factors): The various causative factors are Vaata aggravating factors, which induce Doshika imbalance at the complete physical level as well as at the particular body parts like spine, wrist, arm eyes etc. CRI is a complex group of symptoms afflicting one or more body parts at one time. The basic etiopathogenesis is uniform irrespective to whichever body part is involved.
- Vishama S`hareera Sthiti(bad posture) and Atiyoga of Karmendriya
- Wrong body positions and typing technique, which place unnecessary, stress
- Sitting down for extended periods of time
- Forcing to round out your lower back and hunch your shoulders, which leads to loss of S, Curvature of Lower back
- Lack of appropriate breaks (sedentary position)
- Resting the arm or wrist on a hard surface
- Keyboard or mouse placed too high
- Improper leg positioning
- Atiyoga of Dnyaanendriya Overstrain to eyes (Pratatekshan`a)
- Focusing eyes at the same distance point for extended periods of time
- Improper monitor height
- Lack of eye blinking
- Excess illuminated screen
- Dry environment, such as a heated or air conditioned office.
- Environment of workplaces / workstations
Dry environment air conditioned office The S`heeta, Rooksha Gun`a of this working atmosphere leads to more stiffness in muscles, headache, pain.
- Other associated factors
- Night shifts (Call centers)
- Raatrau Jaagaran`a leads to aggravation of Vaata and Pitta Dosha.
- Habits like smoking, tobacco chewing
- Vaata & Pitta aggravation, Oja Kshaya
- Suppression of natural urges
- Vaata aggravation, Digestive disturbances
- Creates further Dosha imbalance
- Mental Stress
Targeted jobs, skilled work requires extra concentration and mental strain, excess talking, excess Chintaa causes Rasadhaatu Kshaya, Oja Kshaya.
The commonest predisposing ergonomic factors were lack of appropriate breaks (86 %), improper monitor height (60 %); keeping the mouse at a higher than recommended height (54 %); resting the arm or wrist on a hard surface while typing (42 %); and keeping the keyboard too high (40 %)(study conducted in Chennai)
All the above factors aggravate Vaata Dosha, Kapha Kshaya in particular body parts.
Sampraapti (Etiopathogenesis): Vishama S`hareera Sthiti and Atiyoga of Indriya exerts overuse strain on certain Snaayu, Asthi, Sandhi, Pes`hee, Siraa, Kan`d`araa which leads to Vaata aggravation and diminution in the normal S`hleshaka Kapha.
- Praan`avaayu: Involvement of Indriya (Karmendriya, Dnyaanendriya)
- Udaana Vaayu: Bala Kshaya (Weakness in the muscles, joints initiation of action and nerve conduction)
- Vyaana Vaayu: Affliction of Snaayu, Kan`d`araa, Asthi, Sandhi of Gaatra involved leading to pain, weakness, stiffness, Chimachimaayana (tingling sensation), loss of sensation
- Tarpaka Kapha: Dryness of Eye
- S`hleshaka Kapha: Sandhi S`hoola, dryness, inflammation of joint structures Asthi Snaayu, Pes`hee, Kan`d`araa.
- Maamsa: Muscle pain and spasm (Snaayu & Pes`hee)
- Meda: Siraa (Mridu Paaka of Meda)- S`haithilya
- Kan`d`araa (Khara Paaka of Meda)- Sankocha
- Asthi: Aas`hraya Aas`hrayi relation with Vaata Dosha
- Majjaa: Involvement of nerves, primarily due to compression, obstruction of normal functioning of Vyaana Vaayu.
How they are wrongly treated?
65% of all cases are misdiagnosed as Spondylolysis, Arthritis, Slip disc, Tennis elbow or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, remaining diagnosed is treated by painkillers, Steroids (cortisone) vitamin B 12 injections or Antidepressants. Most of the MRI done is found normal. No importance to prevention
The right treatment is
Ergonomics for prevention
Ayurvedic therapies: A holistic approach can only treat CRI properly.
Back should be in a slight S-shape
Adjustable seat with good back support
Frequent breaks and change in position.
Your eyes should point slightly downwards to the middle of your computer screen.
Glare free monitor at right reading distance.
Monitor should be just below the eyelevel and tilted up a little
Monitor should be at an angle of 15 to 20 degrees to the eyes.
Frequent breaks are a must.
- Feet: Your feet should rest on the floor to support your legs. The knees should be flexed at 90 degrees angle. Change your body position regularly.
- Wrist and Fore Arm: Wrist should not rest on any hard surface while typing. Forearm should be horizontal and resting on chair support. Elbows should be close to the body.
The Right approach to treat C.R.I:
- Relieve the spasm in the muscles
- Enhance the blood circulation to provide quality nutrients and drain toxins, irritants at nerve endings
- Destroy the root cause of stiffness, swelling, and inflammation
- Provide lubrication to joints tendons, muscles
- Give nourishment to the muscles joints, tendons, bones
- Improve flexibility of muscles and joints.
This can be best achieved by Baahya Snehana (Massage), Naad`ee Svedana, Patra Pot`t`alee, Jambira Pot`t`alee, Shasht`ika Pin`d`a Svedana (in degenerative cases and were nourishments is required). Basti is very useful; to treat the root cause of CRI i.e. Vaata aggravation.
Dr. Abhijit N Jinde,
Last updated on April 1st, 2021 at 04:59 am