5 Health Issues You Can Develop at Your Tech Job

December 8, 2015

9:00 pm

Technology is a wonderful thing, particularly in the workplace. Can you imagine trying to type out a five-page brief on a typewriter? Luckily, we no longer have to deal with that kind of manual labor in the office. However, with technology comes a variety of other problems, especially when it comes to your health.

Technology has a much larger impact on your health than you might realize, especially for those who spend eight hours a day at a computer desk. Countless studies have shown that the way we utilize technology directly impacts our mental and physical well-being.

Here are a few of the most common tech-related pains you might experience at work.

1. Texting Thumb

Did you know that the average cell phone user sends and receives at least 10 text messages a day? In addition, the time spent internet browsing amounts to approximately 35 hours per week. All that time on the phone can lead to a condition known as “texting thumb.”

This condition is characterized by painful popping or snapping when the thumb bends or straightens, and might also include stiffness in the thumb joint. In serious cases, the thumb can temporarily lock in the curled position. Over time, this can lead to arthritis and carpal tunnel.

2. Spinal Damage

In an ideal world, employees would have ergonomically designed chairs, custom desks set to the perfect height, and employees who sit perfectly straight while typing. But most employees don’t manage to keep that up for very long when sitting in front of a computer for long hours at a time.

This pattern can result in increased curvature in the spine. When you tilt your head forward 60 degrees, which you often do when texting or staring at a computer screen, it puts the equivalent of 60 pounds of strain on your neck. This is accompanied by neck and back pain, and can lead to scoliosis and other lifelong back problems.

3. Eye Strain

Screen use heavily contributes to eye strain. The effects are brought on slowly, and the process includes blurry vision, headaches, and dry eyes. The result is typically premature eye degeneration, leading to a need for glasses.

It’s also been linked to an increased risk for macular degeneration. According to research, approximately 70 percent of Americans have reported experiencing symptoms of eye strain as a result of too much screen exposure.

4. Headaches

Headaches are also a common symptom following too much screen use, so make sure you take frequent breaks. However, these pains are more often a result of other issues, including spinal curvature and eye strain. Headaches are particularly common when reading dark text on a bright screen or staring at a screen in a dark setting.

5. Anxiety

Having a wealth of information at the tip of your fingers isn’t always a good thing. In fact, too much time spent researching information online can actually lead to anxiety. Whether you’re researching information and statistics for a business presentation or looking up symptoms for a self-diagnosis, the knowledge you gain can result in serious anxiety and depression. Honestly, who hasn’t been sick, researched their symptoms on WebMD, and concluded that they’re on the brink of death?

All of this technology exposure isn’t to be taken lightly. But don’t worry, you’re not doomed by any means. By making a concentrated effort to alter your habits, take frequent breaks, and reduce technology use wherever possible, you can diminish the negative effects of technology on your body.

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Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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