Developer Body Issues

We don’t usually compare our professional lives to those of athletes, but often our careers end in the same way – a slow whittling of our bodies through minor and repetitive injuries, followed by sudden debilitation.

This talk will detail the various ways that developers and IT Pros destroy their bodies as they work, and provide simple ways to help correct these problems before they become serious or even career-ending. We will focus on four specific body areas that can impact developers and computer-users in general: posture, sight, hands and wrists, and breathing. We will discuss the anthropological reasons why humans walk upright, and how that impacts the way we use computers (or more precisely, the way that computer use injures our bodies). Specific attention is given to how the spine and nervous system interact, creating subluxations under stress that can cause any number of issues from allergies to miscarriages. We examine how the human eye works to focus and transduce light into neural impulses, and how the visual needs demanded by computer use work to destroy this system. Common hand and wrist injuries are covered, as well as their early warning signs and ways to avoid them. Finally, we cover the phenomenon of “screen apnea,” where people tend to hold their breath in stressful situations (such as receiving an email or having a test fail), and discuss how this type of breathing contributes to a host of serious ailments.

30 years of computer use has left parts of my body in constant pain or completely numb. Come to this talk to learn what has taken me that long to figure out and start to fix.

Jim Christopher

Jim Christopher is an independent software consultant with 19 years of professional experience spanning highly-regulated industries such as defense, education, and casino gaming systems. He currently runs Code Owls LLC, a Charlotte NC company focused on automation and integration projects. Jim is a Pluralsight author, three-time PowerShell MVP, Blue Diamond Technology award winner, and manages about a dozen open source projects. In his off time he plays guitar, ukulele, and participates in various acts of nogoodnicking.