11 simple Repetitive Strain Injury prevention tips from our Rochester Osteopaths
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is caused by prolonged repetitive hand movements, such as those involved in using a computer or machinery. Symptoms can include intermittent shooting pains in the hands, wrists, forearms, and back.
You should take a five minute break after every 20 or 30 minutes of continuous activity. If you are suffering from RSI you should take more frequent and longer breaks.
Poor posture is one of the most causes of RSI…and is one we often overlook as the day goes on. Review your posture by adjusting your chair so that you are sitting more upright. Adjust your display so that the monitor is directly in front of you, with the top of the screen at eye level.
When you type, your wrists should be in a neutral position. Typing with your wrists in any position other than the neutral position puts additional strain on the tendons – therefore increasing your risk of repetitive strain injury.
Just because your keyboard has a height adjustment, it does not mean it HAS to be heightened. Your keyboard should be flat and at or below elbow level so that it is easier to type with your wrists in the neutral position. There are a number of "ergonomic" keyboards that make it easier to type with your wrists in a neutral position.
It’s easy to automatically rest your wrists on the hard edge of your desk, which can then cause injury. A gel wrist rest along the edge of the desk may help prevent you from resting your wrist here when typing.
Try to keep your wrist in a neutral position when using the mouse. You could reduce your mouse usage by using keyboard shortcuts instead.
If you spend a lot of time sitting then your chair is VITAL. So if it doesn't give you the support you need or causes you to sit with a poor posture, it can increase your risk of injury such as RSI. Ideally you need to look at a chair with adjustable height, tilt, armrest heights and backrest.
The same old cliché…you are what you eat. If you're overweight, your muscles are having to support extra weight. If you are very overweight, you may also find it difficult to find a typing position which avoids injury.
Another cliché…but lack of cardiovascular exercise can increase your risk of developing RSI.
Avoid searching the internet for treatments or advice. Seek expert advice as soon as possible from an Osteopath or Doctor so that you can start a prevention and treatment plan as soon as possible.
Take on board all of these points…which are less painful and disruptive then developing RSI!