Ergonomics

Modifications of posture and arm use (ergonomics) are often recommended.

Adaptive technology ranging from special keyboards, mouse replacements and pen tablet interfaces to speech recognition software might be necessary.

Break Timers

Pause software reminds the user to pause frequently and perform exercises while working behind a computer. One such program is Workrave, an open-source free program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury. The program frequently alerts user to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts user to a predefined daily limit.

Mice

Switching to a much more ergonomic mouse, such as a RollerMouse, thumb trackball, vertical mouse or joystick, or switching from using a mouse to using a stylus pen with graphic tablet may provide relief, but in chronic RSI they may only result in moving the problem to a different area. Using a graphic tablet for general pointing, clicking, and dragging (i.e. not drawing) may take some time to get used to as well. Switching to a trackpad such as a Smart Cat trackpad, which requires no gripping or tensing of the muscles in the arms may help as well. Inertial mice (which do not require a surface to operate) might offer an alternative where the user’s arm is in a less stressful thumbs up position rather than rotated to thumb inward when holding a normal mouse. Also, since they do not need a surface to operate (“air mice” function by small, forceless, wrist rotations), the wrist and arm can be supported by the desktop or armrest.

Keyboards and Keyboard-alternatives

Switching to a much more ergonomic keyboard layout such as Dvorak or Colemak may help.
Exotic keyboards by manufacturers such as DataHand, OrbiTouch, Maltron and Kinesis are available.
Dragon NaturalSpeaking is the most popular dictation software. Some RSI sufferers have hired human typists.
Here are some great links for this equipment

Clickless Mouse

Thumb mouse

Vertical Mouse

Keyboards

Break reminder software

RSI Treatment

Chiropractic

Some RSI problems can be made worse by problems in the neck and upper back. Not only can joint problems in the spine cause neck pain and headaches but muscle spasm in these areas can cause referred pain into the arms. If the nerves that exit the spine get irritated, muscles in the arm and hand can weaken increasing the likelihood of RSI.

Medical

A number of medical treatments including non-narcotic pain medications and braces exist. Heat, cold, alternating hot and cold, or TENS are sometimes applied to the hands and forearms. Biofeedback may be used to measure tension in specific muscles, or to track overall stress levels.

Unless effective therapy is started early, recovery can take up to many months without performing activities that might exacerbate the symptoms, and that joint should never be put under severe or constant stress.

Exercise for RSI

Exercise decreases the risk of developing RSI:-

Pulling fingers back gently
Shaking hands out
Massaging forearms
Squeezing shoulder blades together
Fingers opening against elastic band
Squeezing a squidgy ball
Neck side bend with stretch
Shoulder rolling
RSI Prevention

Preventing RSI is easy. A few simple steps will minimise the risk of RSI and if you do start to get symptoms then you know what to do.


The important points to remember are:-

Set up the equipment properly
Take regular breaks
Manage stress levels
Get treatment early
Psychosocial Factors

Studies have related RSI and other upper extremity complaints with psychological and social factors. A large amount of psychological distress showed doubled risk of the reported pain, while job demands, poor support from colleagues, and work dissatisfaction also showed an increase in pain, even after short term exposure.

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