Are Computers Really a Risk Factor for Developing Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a very stressful, chronic disease to go through, and if you’re currently suffering through it, the last thing you probably want to hear about are some of the risk factors of making the symptoms become worse.

You’ve probably heard all about the usual risk factors: eating a poor diet, not getting enough, sleep etc.  But here, we’ll introduce an entirely new risk factor that you’ve probably never considered before. You may find that you were taking this risk all along, and if you can correct it, you could see a reduction in your fibromyalgia symptoms and pain levels in the long run.

Well here it is: your body can have a very strong, negative response to the energy field of a computer.  Sounds a little crazy, right?  However, it’s understood that if we have an energy field and the computer has an energy field as well, then it would make sense for the computer’s field to interfere with our own…thereby resulting in the pain we feel from fibromyalgia to reach new levels.

Weekend vs. the Week

To give you an idea of how computers can actually have a surprising, negative reaction on patients, people who have fibromyalgia have reported numerous times that they feel better during the weekend than during the week. Even if this alleviation in pain is ever so slight, at least it’s something. Well, what’s the common denominator here?  Why feel better during the weekend than during the week?

The answer is because we work during the week.  No doubt, stress plays a major role in this finding. Regardless of whether you’re at the computer all weekend or not, you’re going to feel less stressed out during the weekend and that certainly plays a role in the reduction of pain.  But there are still some interesting correlations between feeling less pain and spending less time at the computer screen.

Here are some steps you can take to feel in less pain both during the work week and when you’re at the computer. Begin the work week by evaluating your condition. How energized are you? How much pain are you in?  Do you feel relaxed?  Do your muscles ache?  Do you feel stiff or flexible?

Next, perform a test with your computer.

Turn the computer off and sit in front of it for about a minute.  Then, stand up and move around.  If you work in an office environment, you certainly don’t want to embarrass yourself, but you can walk around your chair.  The point is that you just need to tell what it was like to walk around, and then answer the same set of questions that you asked yourself at the beginning of the evaluation.

Now, sit back down in your chair, start it up, and begin work.

In five or ten minutes, leave the computer on, but get up against and walk from your computer. Now you can answer the exact same set of questions, but in particular ask yourself: how easy was it to get up and move around after working at the computer screen?  Do you feel less stiff or more stiff?  Has your pain flared up again?  Do you feel energetic at all?  Take the time you need to answer the questions, as your body will likely need a few minutes before it can relate back to you the questions.

This may sound like too simple of a test, but it’s a very effective way to evaluate whether or not sitting in front of the computer screen is increasing or decreasing the pain, fatigue, and energy levels that you feel. The beauty of this test is that you can perform it several times a day, whenever you want to, and for whatever duration.  But as a word of advice, you probably won’t want to be performing this test so often that it disrupts with your work performance…

Additional Risks and Studies

Computer technology has advanced at some of the fastest rates in recent years, and while we don’t have a definitive number, it’s estimated that more than three in every five families have a computer in their home, and that nearly the same number of workers use computers to complete their jobs and other job-related tasks. It’s understandable if you’re a person afflicted with fibromyalgia and regretting you found this information out of the relationship between greater chronic pain and more time with the computer.

Nonetheless, you may feel comfortable in knowing that you are not alone.  Sitting in front of the computer screen is actually a risk that exists with other diseases as well, not just fibromyalgia. For example, those with arthritis also suffer from pain, weakness, fatigue, and limited movement.  The same reasons for why a computer is a risk factor with fibromyalgia patients exist with arthritis patients as well. However, arthritis patients are actually more prone to computer-related injuries than those with fibromyalgia.  In that regard, you could be an even worse boat.

Continue Reading… NEXT: Is Your Computer Hurting Your Fibromyalgia Pain?