Computers - Friend or Foe?

Patient Expert

Computers are a godsend for people living with chronic pain, having the ability to make tasks easier and faster. Computers can also be hard to use if you have physical limitations and can aggravate pain levels.

A few weeks ago, we posted about a study of computer use and its impact on pain for people living with RA, Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia. In this study, "84 percent of respondents reported a problem with computer use attributed to their underlying disorder and 77 percent reported some discomfort related to computer use."

For me, it's typing. Doing too much drag-and-drop with the mouse isn't good either, but typing takes my pain levels from 0 to 60 in no time. If I didn't have Dragon NaturallySpeaking, a voice recognition software that types what I dictate, I wouldn't be able to write more than maybe 200 words a day. Using the computer still hurts, but as long as I respect my limits (currently about 1200 words a day), it's manageable. Dragon gave me my voice back.

We want to ask about your experience. How do you work with computers? Are there any programs, hardware or tips on desk setup that you've found that make using a computer easier? What can we do to improve the features on this site so that it's easy and painless for you to use?

Please leave your stories and suggestions in the comments.