Arthritis can be exacerbated by computer use

According to researchers in the United States using a computer can have an impact on those suffering from arthritis.

Although computers have become increasingly common in daily life, little is known about how their use on a daily basis might affect those with arthritis; it is estimated that both the percentage of 56% of the computers of the use of labor at work and 62% of households has one.

Arthritis is a leading cause of work disability, and those with the disease may have difficulty performing physically demanding jobs, and may opt for jobs that appear less vigorous but require intensive computer use.

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The use of the Computer is a known risk factor for pain and musculoskeletal disorders and arthritis sufferers are more at risk because of difficulties performing tasks due to pain, movement, muscle weakness, or quiet fatigue.

A new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh has examined this issue in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and fibromyalgia (FM).

The study involved 315 arthritis patients who completed a special-designed survey that contained questions about computer use, discomfort experienced while using a chair, desk, keyboard, mouse and monitor, and the problems associated with each piece of equipment.

The results showed that many people with arthritis experience the discomfort and problems that could lead to work limitations: 84% of respondents pointed out that a problem with the use of the computer attributed to their disorder and underlying 77% indicated a certain discomfort related to the use of the computer.

Of the three categories of the disease, significantly more sued with FM reported severe discomfort, more problems and greater limitations related to the computer use than those with RA or OA.

Nancy A. Baker who led the study says that those with arthritis may experience pain and discomfort even under ideal economic conditions, it is not surprising that the incidence of respondents who report discomfort with computer use is considerably higher than the population in general of computer users.

The problems they experienced included finding a comfortable position while using the computer and in manipulating the keyboard and mouse.

The researchers say that it was anticipated that those with RA and OA would have more problems manipulating the keyboard and mouse than those with FM due to their quiet movements but in this study those with FM reported more problems.

The researchers suggest that this may be due to several reasons – people with FM may have increased clumsiness due to abnormalities in processing or sensory fatigue, it has diffuse rather than localized pain that may affect handling, or because those with movement limitations, such as RA and OA, have found it easier to adapt their environment than those with unpredictable diffuse pain, such as FM.

Researchers say in recent years, numerous products have been designed to reduce discomfort and problems during computer use, such as adjustable chairs and monitors and adapted keyboards and mice, and by providing arthritic people with appropriate strategies and equipment for prevent computer problems, it can reduce important work limitations and prevent those with arthritis from using the computer.

They also suggest that the use of the computer in the home appears to have a greater potential to place people at risk of musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremity, since most people do not set their personal computer environment to reduce risk factors – those with arthritis they must therefore have their work and personal computer settings evaluated to ensure that problems are diminished.

People point out that since the ability to use a computer is a method of preventing work limitations and eventual disability, as well as a vital tool for work and home activities, health professionals should work with people with arthritis to determine the problems experienced during the use of the computer and to execute modifications of the workstation of the computer to ensure safe, effective and comfortable use of all the computer material.