Problems experienced by people with Arthritis and Fibro when using a computer
A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, USA have have found that people with people with Fibromyalgia Syndrome have more problems with computer use than people with Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis.
They carried out a study, which aimed to describe the prevalence of computer use problems experienced by a sample of people with arthritis (including Fibromyalgia Syndrome), and to determine anu differences in the magnitude of these problems among people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Osteoarthritis (OA), and Fibromyalgia Syndrome (Fibro).
Study participants were recruited from the Arthritis Network Disease Registry and asked to complete a survey, the Computer Problems Survey, which was developed for this study.
Descriptive statistics were calculated for the total sample and the 3 diagnostic subgroups (RA, OA and Fibro). Ordinal regressions were used to determine differences between the diagnostic subgroups with respect to each equipment item while controlling for confounding demographic variables. In other words, they checked to see whether one of the patient groups (Oa, RA or Fibro) had more issues with 4 specific items of equipment: the chair, keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
A total of 359 respondents completed a survey, of which 315 reported using a computer. Of these, 84% reported a problem with computer use attributed to their underlying disorder, and approximately 77% reported some discomfort related to computer use. 1
Equipment items most likely to account for problems and discomfort were the chair, keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
Of the 3 subgroups,significantly more respondents with FM reported more severe discomfort, more problems, and greater limitations related to computer use than those with RA or OA for all 4 equipment items.
The article concludes that:
"Computer use is significantly affected by arthritis [including Fibromyalgia Syndrome]. This could limit the ability of a person with arthritis to participate in work and home activities. Further study is warranted to delineate disease-related limitations and develop interventions to reduce them." 1
- Baker NA, Rogers JC, Rubinstein EN, Allaire SH, Wasko MC. Problems experienced by people with arthritis when using a computer. Arthritis Rheum. 2009 Apr 29;61(5):614-622. [Epub ahead of print]