The ills of a ‘fixed posture’
After scribbling on ‘political posturing’ of the UPFA constituent parties yesterday, especially the fickle nature of the SLFP, it is a relief to pen something more useful to the general public – those who suffer due to ‘fixed postures’.
A throbbing pain in chest and heaviness and a running pain in the left arm are generally identified as symptoms of a heart attack. However often there are times when somebody with such symptoms is given a clean sheet by the doctor at the end of a series of tests. Daily, dozens and dozens of students, bankers, accountants, young professionals mostly between 25-45 are rushed to hospitals only to be told that nothing amiss.
This has been quite a recurring grievance and they end up feeling miserable having failed to figure out what exactly is wrong with their bodies. A fortunate few get to know the truth behind their aches and pains. Tell the story to a professional physiotherapist and the first question he or she would ask is ‘do you use computers for long hours?’ If yes then comes the second question ‘do you keep you head bent while using its key board?’
The physiotherapist would then treat the patient with a combination of therapy and would ask the patient to correct the posture, lower the computer chair and do a few exercises everyday.
Now how many computer users in this country are enlightened about the fact that one is likely to develop ‘a sort of a heart attack’ symptoms including chest pains if one keeps the head bent for long hours since the posture strains the nerves that head towards chest and arm.
It is indeed unfortunate that Sri Lanka, which has hundred thousands of computer users, lacks a proper awareness programme on the computer related illnesses. It has also been found that there are thousands of Sri Lankans who suffer from Repetitive strain injury (RSI) a variation of the same condition where tissue damage can trigger distress and depression. It may start off with a pain in the arm due to overuse of key board, then followed by fatigue, lack of confidence, an eternal sense of foreboding that something is wrong and many others.
A nearly half a million computer users in the US and about two hundred thousand in the UK are reportedly suffering from RSI related conditions.
The history of the RSI is traced to ‘writer’s cramps’ before the advent of computers and Leonardo da Vinci is among the many high profile personalities who have suffered from the illness. However the condition is not limited to writers or computer users. Anybody who performs repetitive movements for long hours in a poor fixed posture and work under stress can succumb to the illness.
While there is an assortment of treatments for the illness including relaxation techniques, diagnosing the condition and accessing the best treatment still remains a challenge for many Sri Lankans due to poor awareness.