What could those little pains and aches be that we feel when working with computers? Ian Chong is here to explain what it means when you’ve been bitten by bytes

So you think you know pain?

Do you know what it really feels like to experience high level debilitating computer pain and associated frustration? Have you been “bitten by bytes”?

Many computer users do!

Have you ever felt like:

  • Your wrists have a spike driven through them?
  • Your fingers are squeezed in a vice?
  • Your hands are dipped in alcohol and set on fire?
  • Your elbow got hit with a baseball bat?
  • Your back just had a knife pushed into it?
  • Your neck just met with a karate chop?
  • Your shoulder had an anvil dropped on it?
  • Your eyeballs are sizzling in a frying pan?
  • Your derrière is sitting on a cactus spiked with poison ivy?

Do you feel something gnawing at your flesh causing all these maladies?

That gnawing is you. Yes, you yourself. You are directly responsible for allowing these disorders that attack your anatomy, causing ongoing disruption, pain, frustration and down time. It’s not because of using a keyboard, mouse, stick or whatever. It’s from not paying attention to your health and especially your pain.

These insidious results are injures from everyday use of computer devices, all of which could get seriously worse if unattended.

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Hard to believe, is it not?

You see, all these pains and symptoms affecting your well-being, getting in the way of your work, pleasure, every day activities, are the result simply of your inaction.

Pain is a message to your brain from your body. Are you listening?

Unfortunately, your attention is mostly directed elsewhere to work on:

  • Getting that database done
  • Finishing that report
  • Completing that spreadsheet
  • Polishing up that digital graphic
  • Finalising that design

Your attention is also on playing to:

  • Getting to the next level
  • Shooting that alien
  • Beating the Mario Brothers
  • Texting your BFF
  • Scanning that Facebook
  • Snuffing those Twitter flames

Almost every waking moment you interact with a computer, a peripheral, device or attachment. Your office ergonomics transcends into personal ergonomics.

It is not only the desktop or laptop affecting you. It is also the multitude of other devices to which humans are becoming addicted.

  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets
  • E-readers
  • Gaming devices
  • MP3 players
  • Remote controllers
  • Electronic toys

Yes, the allure of these devices is all around us, hypnotic and enticing.

Currently about 3 billion computers exist in the world. It is estimated they will soon outnumber the Human population and even now many are severely attached to a computer device in some form 24/7, even sleeping with phones as these have moved from the nightstand to the bed. Truly, humankind is becoming inseparable from these machines.

Many cannot do without them for even a moment, as these devices replace:

  • Dinner table conversation
  • Face-to-face social interactions
  • Social graces and manners
  • Needs to see other humans

Entwined in both our professional and personal lives, these have become a constant companion, a friend, a conversationalist, a playmate, and a distraction, one we can access at a moment’s notice. And how do we use the fantastic devices? These things that can show us the universe, that can perform amazing feats and take our imaginations to untold levels?

We adopt bad postures and pain-inducing positions of hands, arms, shoulders and backs. Our children use continual bent thumbs, rounded shoulders and bent necks as they incessantly work their smart phones and tablets.

By doing this, we inadvertently damage ourselves, we invite these painful episodes. We invite the potential to be debilitated in our aging process. We go faster, faster, faster for longer, longer, longer and our bodies pay the price.

Are you reading this now on a mobile phone with a bent over neck posture? Are you reading this on your computer, sitting on the front edge of your chair hunched over or slouched without any back support?

Do you feel a twinge in your neck right now? Or perhaps in your fingers or in your rounded shoulders as you mouse?

These are warnings, which if left unchecked, will get worse, much worse.

Understand, these pain elements and gnawing also take place even when we are not connected to these devices.

Do you feel a twinge here or there when you:

  • Open a jar?
  • Hold a gallon of milk?
  • Button your shirt?
  • Pick up your new born child?
  • Carry a bag of groceries?
  • Brush your hair?
  • Turn a doorknob?
  • Work in the garden?

Do you feel these aches when performing any other innocent task or chore?

These unconsciously triggered twinges or pain symptoms are the residue of our recent interaction with computer devices.

Understand, these twinges and injuries occur when we are both in session with computer devices and when we are away from them.

We cannot escape their influence and should make conscientious effort to mount a rigorous defence against such peril.

Yes, we are killing ourselves and soon these machines will eat us up, literally and figuratively.

Maybe we should call all these little innocuous computer injury events… bites, caused by ”Biters”, more appropriately spelled BYTR.

The name obviously fits.

So, what’s the name of your computer?

Stand Up for Your Life

This article was written by Ian Chong and featured in our Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of Cardinus Connect. Connect with Ian Chong on LinkedIn here.

Ian Chong is a real life, vastly experienced (lots of grey hairs), highly credentialed (plenty of boot marks on the backside), award-winning (numerous wall hangings), Certified Professional Ergonomist AND
performing Magician. Both his books “Ergonomic Mis-Adventures” and the ALMOST R-rated “Ergonomics of the Absurd” (pen name Alex Victor) are available on Amazon.


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