REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURY- WHAT IS IT?
A Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an injury that is caused by repetitive movement and overuse. Repetitive Strain Injuries develop gradually over time and can affect muscles, joints, tendons & nerves. You may be familiar with the term but unsure as to how it applies to you. Spending a lot of time using a computer, keyboard, and mouse is a common cause of RSI. Think about all of the activities you do in your everyday life; some you’ll do briefly, others such as sitting at your computer to type or using your phone you may do for hours on end. Today we will discuss upper limb repetitive strain injuries.
SYMPTOMS OF REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURIES
Some of the symptoms associated with RSI include
- Tenderness or pain at the affected area
- Tingling or change of sensation at the affected area
- Weakness in the affected area
- Increased awareness or discomfort at the affected area
HOW TO PREVENT UPPER LIMB RSI
There are multiple reasons that you may develop hand, wrist, forearm or shoulder discomfort in your work setting. Here are some ideas to help reduce the risk of this.
Your desk should be at a height that allows the elbows to be in 90 degrees with your shoulders relaxed. You may need to either lower your desk height or raise your seat height to allow for this, at the same time ensuring your feet remain supported.
Consider using a mouse pad or keyboard shortcuts where possible. Your mouse should be located right beside your keyboard, avoid stretching or reaching for it. Instead of twisting at your wrists, try moving your hand and arm together so that your wrists don’t have to do all of the work. Consider changing the mouse from one hand to the other.
Your keyboard should be towards the edge of the desk, don’t allow your wrists to rest on anything when you are typing. Your keyboard should be flat. This will allow you to keep your wrists straight when typing. A split or ergonomic keyboard can be beneficial.
Use your index finger to scroll rather, do this rather than continuously using your thumb. Use two hands when using your phone; one to stabilize the phone and the other to scroll.
As with exercise of any type, we should stretch the muscles which we are using. Typing and moussing are no different. Try these simple wrist stretches daily.
- Hold your arm out in front of you
- Face your palm forward, or away from you
- Use your opposite hand to bring you wrist into a stretch which looks like a stop sign
- Hold this stretch for 15 seconds or longer
- With the same arm, turn your hand so that your palm is facing you
- Hold this stretch for 15 seconds or more
- Repeat on each side
- Incorporate wrist stretches into your daily routine.
Your body needs time to recover from tasks that are repetitive. Take regular breaks from your desk, get up & move around every 30 to 45 minutes. Try to limit sitting to a maximum of one hour at any one time.
ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY
To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at email@example.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.