He alth at work: Bracers prevent pain when working on the computer

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He alth at work: Bracers prevent pain when working on the computer
He alth at work: Bracers prevent pain when working on the computer

Bracers prevent pain when working on the computer

Forearm supports combined with ergonomic training are the best prevention against postural problems caused by computer work. They are also effective against shoulder, neck and joint pain.

For about a year, scientists led by David Rempel from the University of California in San Francisco followed 182 employees from two call centers who sat at their computers at least twenty hours a week. The researchers divided the test subjects into four groups: one only counteracted the damage caused by computer work with specific exercises, a second worked in addition to the training with a trackball - a roller ball for moving the input indicator - instead of a mouse, a third trained accordingly and received a forearm support. The fourth group completed the exercises and worked with both trackball and armrests. All subjects filled out a weekly questionnaire asking whether they had pain in their hands, wrists, arms, neck and shoulders and how bad the pain was. In addition, the participants had an orthopedic examination once a week.

The combination of armrests and ergonomic training reduced common damage caused by intensive computer work, such as joint inflammation and tension, by almost half. A trackball, on the other hand, had no effect and also proved to be user-unfriendly. An additional cost-benefit analysis showed that the investment in the two preventive measures paid off the costs of absenteeism due to relevant illnesses after about ten and a half months.

In addition to the recommendation to provide employees at computer workstations with armrests and to bear the costs for ergonomic training, the scientists advise those affected to take enough breaks, sit upright, adjust the seat height and monitor height accordingly, and use a keyboard and mouse to keep within reach.

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