Oct 17, 2017

Kaka-computer mo kasi” is the reason mothers consider behind many of their children’s ailments. When your eyes hurt, blame the computer. When you feel a pang on your lower back, it’s because you’ve been sitting in front of your computer for so long. And even the slightest fever is an aftereffect of “kaka-computer.” That reasoning became a generalization that it even became a meme.

As it turns out, your mother is right: Spending too much time on your computer is indeed bad for your health. These are just some of the common illnesses you can get from “kaka-computer mo kasi.

Straightened cervical lordosis
Last week, I experienced a certain discomfort on my upper back and neck area. This type of sensation is not entirely new to me and it’s something I would easily associate with my scoliosis. However, the tingling sensation that turns to numbness and weakness began travelling to my upper extremities. It kind of alarmed me.

The doctor I visited asked me to get an X-ray of my shoulder and cervical spine. While the radiologist conducted the test, I was already thinking of the possible illnesses I could have—thanks to the internet! When the result came out, it suggests straightened cervical lordosis as the cause of the discomfort.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Our spine has natural curves called cervical lordosis. This C-shape curve helps carry the weight of the head. However, trauma or posture problems may result to a straightened cervical lordosis, which causes pain and other problems. One possible cause is a sitting down and staring at your phone and computer all day. If not treated immediately, the condition may lead to other spinal problems.

Although I haven’t been back for my follow-up checkup yet, the technician who conducted electromyography on me suggested that I position my computer screen at eye level. But further therapy and posture correction will help further restore the damaged area.

Computer vision syndrome
The eyes are the most susceptible to various ailments from spending too much time on the computer. Computer vision syndrome (CVS) presents itself as an eye strain with blurred vision and headache. According to the American Optometric Association, our eyes are not naturally used to the light of digital screens. As a result, the eyes must work harder. And with prolonged exposure to various screens every day, the damage grows. Aside from those symptoms, CVS may also cause neck and shoulder pain.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Prevention is always better than cure. If it is inevitable to work in front of a digital screen, consider taking time off every now and then. It is suggested that you stare at something 20 feet farther for twenty seconds every 20 minutes. You can also fix the settings of your screen or adjust the ambient lighting so that you don’t squint. Also, there are screen filters to lessen the light that reaches your retina.

Sleeping disorders, stress, and depression
These problems are not the first ones that come to mind when you think of computer-related illnesses. However, various studies suggest that it has adverse effects towards the psychological state of a person. Sleeping disorders brought by spending too much time looking at a screen are already known. A British study discovers that working with computers imparts a sense of isolation to many people.

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“We are finding that people are working with machines as opposed to other people,” Professor Cary Cooper from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology said. “The problem is not just sitting in front of a computer but the fact that people don’t take a break and cannot prioritize what they are doing.”

According to Dr. Tetsuya Nakazawa of Chiba University, the best way to prevent those problems is to limit your screen exposure to less than five hours per day. Also, never use your computer and phone before sleeping. Finally, always remember to take time off your digital screens to interact with your colleagues. So if your colleague is only 10 steps away from you, just approach them instead of giving information through apps.

Header image courtesy of Unsplash

Read more:
How to hack health in the corporate world
We only remember mental health when someone (famous) commits suicide
Here’s how your company can keep you fit and healthy
Traditional medicine in Hong Kong is sending users to hospitals



TAGS: back pain computer depression eye strain health nolisoli.ph sleep stress