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Is Your Computer Hurting You?
What is RSI and should you be concerned about it?
RSI stands for Repetitive Strain Injury (or cumulative trauma disorder). Repetitive motions, excessive force and/or extreme motions can stress soft-tissue resulting in tiny tears in muscles and tendons which leads to irritation, inflammation and reduced circulation. Severe cases can cause permanent tissue damage and disability.
It can be caused by a variety of activities but writers are at high risk for it because of the number of hours we spend typing on our keyboards every day.
Symptoms of RSI:
Like computer eye strain, the symptoms of RSI can be prevented or lessened. Keep in mind that RSI is far easier to prevent than to cure.
Check the position of your workspace.
1) Taking a one minute break every 20 minutes or at least 5 minutes ever hour can help reduce the strain on your body. This is recommended for RSI and computer related eye strain.
2) Do not grip your mouse tightly. Even track balls can cause injuries. Keep your mouse as close to your keyboard as possible so you're not reaching or putting your neck, arms or shoulders in an awkward position.
3) If you're already spending hours a day working at a computer, consider reducing your recreational computer usage. Email may be simple and inexpensive, but if you're already suffering from RSI, you may want to consider replacing some of those emails with phone calls. Computer games typically involve long periods of time in intense concentration and tense keyboard or controller usage. While these games are a lot of fun, you may have to weigh the enjoyment of the game against your health. You health should come first.
4) Consider voice recognition software. It's not a cure all but it can help reduce the amount of typing you do each day.
Stress is a major contributing factor to RSI. Learning
relaxation techniques will improve your health in many areas and not
just with repetitive strain injuries. Yoga combines stretching with
relaxation and is an excellent way to improve your posture.
Do NOT cradle the phone between your shoulder and ear. This
twists your neck and spine and can quickly cause serious problems. Many
stores carry headsets for the phone that make it possible to use the
phone practically hands free.
9) What other activities are you engaging in that may be contributing to your symptoms? Keep in mind that sports, hobbies and mundane tasks like vacuuming can exacerbate RSI symptoms. Unfortunately some of the things we enjoy most can cause more pain. Many writers are also avid readers but holding a paperback novel in one hand for hours at a time can put undue stress on your tendons and muscles.
10) Braces can help. So can ergonomic keyboards and desk chairs, but nothing can replace common sense. It does no good to use an ergonomic keyboard if your monitor is so far away you have to hunch forward to read the print.
Below are several helpful links over RSI, how to prevent it, how to lessen the symptoms and exercises that can help you feel better quickly.
© Copyright 2004 Tina Morgan
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