Postural Impacts; Postural Compensation (PC) & New Posture Syndrome (NPS).
Postural Compensation (PC):
This is a mechanism under which different muscles groups are used to cover for damaged muscles, e.g. a limp is a PC for a damaged calf muscle in which the upper thigh and hip are used when walking so as to avoid placing a load on the damaged calf muscle. PC is anticipated as a temporary measure whilst the body repairs. However, and in our opinion, one of the causes of extensive injury migration (or damage creep) of computer related problems is because at the onset of damage PC is invoked and so different muscles are now used to help with the work. Because the primary injured muscles do not heal this new posture now becomes long term and the new method of working and not a temporary adaptation. As these secondary muscles injure PC moves the load along again.
Neck injuries are often overlooked as symptoms of mouse injury for instance. A Workers Compensation Board in Canada performed a limited study on 2 Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) patients. This was following an ergonomic assessment of the subjects with different mice to see what if anything might help. They noticed that the TOS subjects abducted (stuck out) their elbows with ordinary mice and they were unaware that they did. They did this due to wrist injury that reduced their capacity to pronate (twist) their wrists so as to be able to lay them flat upon a palm down mouse. Elbow abduction, biomechanically, allows for the hand to be placed flatter when the wrist cannot twist as far and appears to be a PC response to wrist damage with continuing palm down mouse use. Because they continued to work palm down the wrist did not heal and so the elbow abduction became an established and not temporary working posture. Over time this posture placed strain on the rotator cuff of the shoulder and damaged that. PC kicked in again leading to what is believed to be the cause of their TOS.
In a different example a retired ballerina developed a fluid sac in the arch of one foot. After various foot diagnoses from local doctors it was discovered, when seen by one of the biomechanist's that developed the design concept of our mouse products, that she had a hip displacement. As a result of the hip being higher on one side that leg was raised. PC, in response, invoked an arched foot to compensate, which then caused the fluid sac to form to help support the arch. The knee bone is connected to the.. (and the ballerina's married to the CEO).
New Posture Syndrome (NPS).
This as a concept is one that we at Aerobic Mouse have developed. It was stimulated by the "disappointment" and now suspicion of anything labeled "ergonomic". A web survey we conduct suggests that on average our customers have spent over $400 on searching for a "technology cure" and some in excess of $1,200. This survey also indicates that over 80% who have problems for which they are looking for solutions do not attend a physician! 86% plus have dominant side problems and those we've heard from that switch mousing hands, as many are advised to, develop problems in that hand to the same extent in 40% of the time it took to injury to develop in the dominant side. This is a limited population and not a typical population sample as by the fact that they visit our website (180,000 visitors a month approx) they are having problems.
NPS seeks to explain why, when a new "ergonomic" product is purchased, that after the initial experience of relief some weeks to months later they resume their search for a better product. The issue seems simply due to the fact that any new product that addresses one pain in one muscle group by alleviating the stress upon it while providing immediate relief then places strain on the other muscles now being used that starts the ache and injury cycle all over again. So before too long and usually much sooner than before, these newly used muscles begin to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the new posture that they are in. It is a form of Technology Postural Compensation. A recent influx of so called vertical mice demonstrate this. They do untwist the wrist and provide that relief, but they now and typically require more grip to provide control. Consequently we see an increasing number of vertical mice users switching to Gripless. One of our main testimonies to working Gripless is when an occasional warranty situation occurs. Users are on the phone the same day, having typically switched back to a previous device, pleading on the phone with us to get a replacement out that day. (and we do!)
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The AirO2bic Mouse design has been granted a U.S. Patent.
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