Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) tend to develop over a number of years (even if their onset can appear sudden in some cases), and the symptoms of RSI often linger for much longer than those of a “regular” injury. Given that RSI is most often caused by repetitive strain encountered on the job, one’s occupation can be greatly threatened if one is rendered unable to perform needed tasks due to RSI. Learning how to effectively manage your RSI without interrupting essential activities is often crucial to maintaining both your health and your livelihood.
While there are many different forms of RSI, the most common forms today are largely a result of our reliance on technology, and tend to affect the hands, wrists, and fingers (such as carpal tunnel syndrome)—these areas take hours of punishment as we type and click away, often with poor posture, improper technique, and equipment that was never designed with preventing RSI in mind.
RSI is more than just painful and annoying; left untreated, RSI can lead to debilitating weakness, muscle atrophy, the need for surgery, and permanent nerve damage. If you notice you have symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation in your hands, or find yourself dropping things more easily and feeling generally uncoordinated when doing fine motor tasks (such as fastening jewelry), it’s important to act quickly before RSI is allowed to progress to a truly crippling condition.
One of the best things one can do to manage and cope with their RSI (or prevent RSI altogether) is practice good posture, take frequent breaks, and perhaps most importantly of all, invest in ergonomic equipment that is expressly designed to prevent, manage, and reverse RSI—while allowing you to continue on with your necessary activities. Ergonomic keyboards are fairly well known today, but it’s of equal importance to make sure your mouse is ergonomic. Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm up into the palm of the hand, is subjected to pressure or “squeezing” at the wrist. It’s not hard to imagine just how much keeping one’s hand tensed and wrist bent while using a traditional mouse contributes to creating exactly this kind of damaging pressure within the wrist joint. Changing to an ergonomic mouse will help in reducing the strain on your fingers, wrists, forearms, and shoulders—thereby lowering the risk for RSI or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- How to Overcome RSI While Building Your Dream Writing Career (lifehack.org)
- Microsoft ‘Manta Ray’ Keyboard Puts Carpal Tunnel on Notice (mashable.com)
- New Fears for RSI in the Workplace (business2community.com)