Google Doc Says ‘Take a Break’
The old saying goes, “the Lord loves a workin’ man.” But, we’re finding out, the body does not – especially working persons whose job has them in front of a computer for the majority of their day. Google’s in-house doc sends out the cautionary tale of RSI (repetitive stress injury).
“We’re not designed to remain as sedentary or perform the fine motor movements for the long uninterrupted hours that we have to do in so many of our jobs. Evidence suggests that prolonged abnormal posture and repetitive movements contribute to neck, limb and back pain,” writes Dr. Taraneh Razavi, M.D. on the Google Blog.
In addition to citing numerous medical studies on RSI, Dr. Razavi quotes the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Sciences to report that US business lose $20-50 billion annually to repetitive stress disorders in the form of productivity, sick leave, and medical costs.
Dr. Razavi offers a few tips (but not necessarily medical advice – people are encouraged to consult their own physicians):
— Breaks should be taken every 30-45 minutes for at least 5 minutes. If you need assistance there are free downloadable timers that will help remind you to do so.
— Stretch your arms, hands, neck, and back during breaks. This yoga site demonstrates some exercises. Other sites are listed below.
— Maintain posture alignment. Don’t slouch on the couch with the laptop.
— Work stations should be reviewed initially and with each office move. Adjust your chair, monitor, keyboard, mouse, laptop. Alternate keyboards and mice periodically.
–Shift your gaze from the computer screen to the distance. And don’t forget to blink!
–Limit non-essential computer use. This may be heresy — but do give the surfing, gaming, emailing, and text messaging a rest.
— If pain occurs or persists, see your doctor, who may recommend wrist brace, ice packs, anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, cortisone injections, physical therapy, and most importantly, rest to allow healing. Don’t procrastinate in addressing your symptoms — the sooner you tend to them, the better off you are.