Friday, 1 May 2009

RSI Troubles

For many who work in the computer industry RSI has become a common feature and annoyance of daily life. There are many forms of Repetitive Strain Injury. The most common form of RSI involves wrist pain caused by either typing or constant arching of the hand when using the mouse. For some people myself included it can be a nightmare to endure and deal with. Working on a computer for 8 hours a day at work and then going home and gaming for another few hours leaves me virtually crippled for the rest of the evening.

Aside from the pain the main problem with RSI is that there is very little treatment available from an advanced medical perspective. Sufferers of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can now undergo a form of surgery to help alleviate the problems, but the majority of RSI patients have no other choice but to deal with it as best as they can. If you are experiencing wrist based pain then there are several steps you should take to help quell the pain.

Step 1: As with most ailments your first step should always be to go to the doctors. A few simple stretches and tests can help discover if you have a more serious form of RSI like CTS or not. It’s best to try and catch RSI as soon as possible, so as soon as you start experiencing discomfort pick up the phone and make yourself an appointment. In most cases the doctor will suggest a course of Ibuprofen to deal with the inflammation in the wrist.

Step 2: The next thing you can do, and the doctor will advise this, is to minimise your amount of time on the computer. Of course this is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, especially if you work in the industry and like most IT professionals you like to mess about on your own computer after work. The best thing you can do is arm up with as many pads as possible, move your mouse central so you are not over extending and stretching. Another sensible step is to try and use the mouse with your other hand, but this is easier said than done and it takes a while to get used to.

Step 3: If you can afford it then another sensible suggestion is to arrange a few massage or physio sessions. These can help with overall muscle problems which will not cure, but will help alleviate some of the pain.

Step 4: Shop on for some ergonomic accessories. Wrist splints are not altogether advisory as they can potentially aggravate your RSI. It’s much more beneficial to change your habits rather than continue with the way you work.

I spent the last few days taking a look at some ergonomic mice on the net. Here’s my top 3.

3G Ergonomic Mouse

For those of you who once held an affinity with old school comps like the C64, Amiga A500 or Spectrum then this is the joystick mouse for you. The unique, ergonomic vertical grip design has been clinically proven to reduce muscle strain and discomfort associated with carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries compared to using a traditional mouse. 3M EM500 Ergonomic Mouse enhances your comfort by keeping arms and shoulders in a more relaxed, neutral position.

Wow Pen Joy

The Wow Pen joy is basically a mouse turned 90 degrees clockwise. The mouse is ergonomically designed to be held in a hand shake like position. This removes the need to arch the wrist which is the main cause of RSI. It contains all the usual mouse functions, but unfortunately is not yet available in a wireless format.

PenClic Mouse

Is it a pen or is it a mouse…. Well it’s just a mouse. The PenClic mouse works as pen; you move the pen inside the unit as you would a pen over paper. The wrist-position when using it means a considerably reduced chance of RSI. The very fast optical sensor reacts immediately to hand movements.


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