All the years with computer and blogging has brought me many things. But with it came RSI. Uninvited guest; if you may ask. Now, you all know what this is. RSI technically is Repetitive Strain Injury. Now if you are confused to yourself what is repetitive strain injury; I got the answer for you here and how you can turn it around if you happened to develop it already like me. Hope it’s not late, but don’t turn it worse.
What Is Repetitive Strain Injury
As the name suggests, Repetitive Strain Injury is nothing but a condition you develop over time when you have had your body parts exposed to, or being a part of stressful activities. You put too much of stress or strain on your body parts, and over time, what you develop is repetitive strain injury. RSI is also known by other aliases, occupational overuse syndromes, sports overuse syndromes, musculoskeletal disorders or motion injuries. Just too much of any strain would bring RSI, maybe not early, but near future for sure. I developed RSI over computers, but why take computers, repetitive strain injury can happen even that you give it a bit strain on your pen or pencil as you write. You are to develop RSI just easy. RSI develops simple as that you are getting your fingers work on pressure against the pen as well each other, but as you strain any part of your body, @work or @daily activities, repetitive strain injury is an un invited guest, be it anyone. It’s more like where there is strain, in the long run there is RSI. It doesn’t end, but gets worse if not handled right. RSI is real, but you can handle it.
Different Kinds Of Repetitive Strain Injuries
Although there are many over a dozen repetitive strain injury conditions, the most common ones with computer personnel are trigger finger and carpel tunnel syndrome. Not leaving out what qwerty mobile texters develop over a short time- the blackberry thumb. Let’s take a look at more of different repetitive strain injury conditions.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome – Affects little finger and ring finger.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome – A very common repetitive strain injury with computer users, the ones that use mouse a lot, this RSI condition affects the three fingers from your thumb to middle finger.
DeQuervain’s Syndrome – Swollen thumb, inability to grip or hold things, called the washerwomen’s sprain or the mother’s wrist.
Trigger Finger – Affects the trigger finger, or the mouse finger(left clicks).
Dupuytren’s Contracture – Affects usually the little finger and ring finger, makes it impossible to straighten the fingers fully.
Raynaud’s Disease – Affects extremities of body, here the blood vessels constrict the circulation, bringing tingly sensation in mild situations and outright pain in moderate or extreme.
Epicondylitis – Affects Elbow joint, called as the tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, a repetitive strain injury seen among people that play body demanding sports.
Bursitis – Affects bursal sack that lets surfaces to slide with no friction, this repetitive strain condition is caused due to persistent friction on the brusal sack.
Tenosynovitis – Affects tendons and synovial sheath and causes them to swell. The above mentioned DeQuervain’s syndrome and Trigger Thumb are different types of Tenosynovitis.
Tendnitis – Swelling of tendons on account to overuse. Epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome can be grouped under this.
Diffuse RSI – It’s more a diffuse kind of repetitive stress injury, can be the strain injury anywhere over body, in most cases, lacks demonstrable physical signs. Common with office based continual work.
How Do I Know If I Have Developed Repetitive Strain Injury
Once a while you get those irritant feelings on your trigger finger, lower palms, the kind of irritation that brings the urge to smack the palms and fingertips anywhere to supersede the irritation. You can call that carpel tunnel syndrome and the trigger finger, but that is something that happened out of repetitive stress injury.
I too have it. But that is okay; we got to start thinking we’ve earned it. Working those longs hours on the computer, well yeah your mouse/ trackpad is the trouble that earned you this. I’ve got this repetitive strain injury to myself as well. The kind of RSI I picked up is trigger finger and carpel tunnel syndrome, not any less irritant of the different repetitive strain injury types. Or who wouldn’t develop something of this sort, on an average spending 10-14 hours on the computer. Now when that happens for a year, two and then more, RSI becomes the uninvited guest.
So How I Should Prevent RSI
As you by now know, RSI happens out of strain and stress for your body parts, the best way to prevent the condition is by not letting the “stress” and “strain” part happen. But most of us work tight and it’s a bit hard to keep up. Here are few RSI saver tips.
Do Not Over Strain – You are fully involved in your work, but don’t let the body parts be strained at the work. Work without applying pressure and be at ease while executing your day to day activities. For example, while you are on the computer, the one place many develop repetitive stress injury fast, ease your fingers while using mouse and also be sure to type soft making use of feather touch keyboard.
Optimize Work Environment – The best, long term way to handle repetitive stress injury is by optimizing your work space. Get your right, ergonomic ‘space’, office equipments and be sure to use something like an air-trapped cushion to rest your hands, palms while typing, using mouse/ trackpad etc. Instead of directly resting your palm to use mouse, rest at least 75% of your lower arms on the desk first and then use your mouse/ keyboard. Such an arrangement makes sure that no direct strain is exerted over your palms, but any stress is widely distributed.
Take Breaks – Split your working hours with break times that will help you relax mentally and physically. Even that you are involved with routine computer activities or with repetitive tasks, it’s inevitable to take needful breaks at regular intervals. Set reminders to make this happen or you can even find RSI management software to help you take breaks at intervals.
Micro Breaks – When it comes to handling RSI, these are as important as the above work splits. Stretch your body once a while still on the chair, give gentle massages where you think is needed, give your arms, wrists and fingers small muscular movements that improve blood circulation. And when you are doing an office job, it’s a must that once a while look objects in a distance as you mostly keep staring on your computer screen.
Few Good To Follow Tips Too – Learn breathing exercises that can help you relax. Stay healthy and be in shape with a healthy diet and a good sleep pattern, avoid habits as smoking, undoubtedly fetches for you deadly troubles and the same time affect your blood flow which is so against your tasks to handle RSI conditions.
Yoga, Meditations – Never stay a workaholic, even that it might not bring any big trouble in the present, the near future brings a lot of them. So stay away being a workaholic, give your mind and body enough time to relax. Take Yoga, Mediations but once a while checkup with an occupational therapist is important as everything else.
Treating Repetitive Strain Injury
If you have happened to develop RSI already, you need to plan out a multi pronged repetitive strain injury therapy so that you can find fast results and can handle the condition effective.
• Heat, cold packs
• Orthopedic accessories (wrist support, wrist braces, finger support)
• Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs
• Soft Tissue Therapy
• Occupational therapy
• Alexander technique
• Tai Che
Can’t run from this situation, but face it bold. Do everything needful to keep RSI at bay, but expert consultation cannot be avoided. Affirming what I said above, meet your occupational health therapist. If you think you are crossed first stage.