Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a condition caused by prolonged repetitive hand movements, such as those involved in computer use. Symptoms include shooting pains in the hands, wrists, forearms, and back.
Here are 6 simple tips to prevent RSI and reduce the symptoms.
1. Type with wrists in the Neutral Position
In Ergonomics, Neutral Wrist Position is defined as:
2. Adjust or replace your keyboard
The correct keyboard adjustment is one where the keyboard is flat and at or below elbow level. This position makes it easiest to type with your wrists in the neutral position.
A gel wrist rest placed along the edge of the desk can help prevent you from resting your wrists on the hard edge of the desk or table. However, you should never rest your wrists while typing even with gel rests. Only use this when you are no longer typing.
3. The mouse is often to blame
Many people develop RSI in the hand they use the mouse with as they tend to rest their wrist and flex it upwards in the Dorsiflexion Position when it should be in neutral, as when you are typing. Using a mouse pad with a gel can promote elevation in the wrist while using the mouse.
4. Take regular breaks
To prevent developing RSI, it is recommended to take a 5 minute break every 20 or 30 minutes of continuous desk activity, and more frequently if you have the condition. Set a reminder on your computer or mobile device and use this time to walk around and stretch your wrists.
5. Sit at the computer with good posture
Bad posture while at a computer can lead to numerous aches and strains in your neck, back, and even wrists. Bad posture is a primary risk factor in RSI because leaning forward instead of sitting up straight leads to resting your wrists while using the keyboard and mouse. Choose and adjust your seat so that you sit up straight, rather than leaning forward over the keyboard.
Refer to this article if you aren't sure what constitutes good posture.
6. Get treatment
The final step to reducing symptoms of RSI is visiting a physiotherapist where you will benefit from a prognosis, hands on treatment, and a program to help reduce your symptoms when you're sitting alone in front of a computer. The key to less pain could be as simple as changing your habits.
These exercises can be done as way to accelerate recovery at home. Ask your physiotherapist how many sets and times per day you should be doing each exercise based on your needs.
1. Pendulum stretch
Relax your shoulders. Stand beside a surface and lean over slightly with the affected arm hanging down. Swing the arm in a small circle — about 30cm in diameter. As your symptoms improve, increase the diameter of your swing and use a small weight.
2. Towel stretch
Hold one end of a three-foot-long towel behind your back and grab the opposite end with your other hand, holding in a horizontal position. Use your good arm to pull the affected arm upward to stretch it. Hold the bottom of the towel with the affected arm and pull it toward the lower back with the unaffected arm.
3. Finger walk
Face a wall three-quarters of an arm’s length away. Reach out and touch the wall with the fingertips of the affected arm. With your elbow slightly bent, slowly walk your fingers up the wall until you’ve raised your arm as far as you comfortably can. Your fingers should be doing the work, not your shoulder muscles. Slowly lower the arm and repeat.
4. Cross-body reach
Use your good arm to lift your affected arm at the elbow, and bring it up and across your body, gently stretching the shoulder. You may do this either sitting or standing.
5. Armpit stretch
Using your good arm, lift the affected arm onto a shelf at chest level. Gently bend your knees, opening up the armpit. Deepen your knee bend slightly, gently stretching the armpit, and then straighten. With each knee bend, stretch a little further without force or pain.
6. Outward rotation
Hold a rubber exercise band between your hands with your elbows at a 90-degree angle close to your sides. Rotate the lower part of the affected arm outward 5cm and hold for 5 seconds.
Although sometimes used interchangeably, sprains and strains are two different types of injuries resulting from soft tissue damage to the musculoskeletal system. Both strains and sprains result from sudden twists or jolts that apply more force to the tissue that it is able to tolerate.
A sprain is a joint injury that involves tearing of the ligaments and joint capsule. It occurs when a joint is twisted while bearing some weight. An example of a common strain is one that results from twisting an ankle during physical activity and generally, most strains are found in the thumb, ankle and wrist.
A strain however, is an injury to the muscle or tendons. Common sites for sprains include the back and the hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh and are usually related to sport injuries or following other physical activities such as heavy lifting.
Which Do You Have?
So how do you know if you have a sprain or a strain? Again, a sprain occurs in the joint while a strain occurs to the muscle. The primary symptoms of sprains include limited mobility, inflammation, pain, swelling, and bruising while strains are often accompanied by pain, cramping, swelling, muscle spasms, and stiffness or soreness in the muscle.
Both minor sprains and strains can be treated with the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method. In addition, over-the-counter pain medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen as well as topical creams and gels can reduce pain and inflammation. Chronic injuries (those that worsen over time) require rehabilitation to strengthen the affected area. In order to limit your risk of further injuries, wrap the affected area or wear a brace when you resume activity.
Aging is one of the many facts of life that should definitely be embraced more. However, it's unfortunate that the older you get, the greater the risk of developing knee and joint pain. Researchers say that knee pain is most commonly found in people who are 65 and older. The three main reasons that age is connected to knee pain are osteoarthritis, weight gain and muscle loss.
Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis that is most often developed later on in life. The condition is caused by the break down of the cartilage that protects the bones in your knees, resulting in the increased vulnerability to knee pain. Experts have found that the majority of those over 65 who suffer from knee pain also live with osteoarthritis.
With the gradual decrease in metabolism speed, controlling weight becomes even more difficult as you age. Carrying extra weight is just adding pressure to the knees and joints, which can eventually lead to chronic pain. Along with age, being overweight is a leading factor that raises your risk of developing osteoarthritis.
It has been proven that your muscles may shrink in size by approximately 40 percent by the time you reach the age of 60. A lack of muscle means a lack of strength. Losing muscular support in the hips and legs substantially increases your chances of developing knee pain.
The best way to deal with chronic knee pain in your golden years is to maintain a healthy weight and exercise as much as possible. Building strength in your hips and knees by walking, taking yoga classes, doing water and regular aerobics and performing many other exercises can decrease the stress on your knees and help to avoid living with constant pain.
Not everyone was built to do intense workouts 7 days a week. However, it is still important that men and women of all ages find time to be active. Livestrong provides 10 low-impact exercises that will prevent injury while allowing you to maintain a healthy lifestyle
1. Swimming - Buoyancy reduces stress on joints and ligaments, and the water creates resistance. Water also cools your body as you move, eliminating the risk of overheating and keeping you more comfortable.
2. Horseback Riding - Riding well means developing strong core and leg muscles, along with general fitness, but it doesn’t involve the percussive impact of many other sports.
3. Cycling - Cycling won’t damage your cartilage and ligaments the way that running can. Riding your bike is a fun exercise to do with others that allow you to enjoy the outdoors and travel further.
4. Rowing, Kayaking and Canoeing – Rowing is one of the few low-impact exercises that strengthen all the major muscle groups from biceps to quads. Kayaking and canoeing are a great alternative for those with knee or leg issues as it only requires upper arm strength.
5. Tai Chi – Tai Chi may seem boring and slow, but newer versions have incorporated working cardio health while still not causing joint and ligament pain. It works on strengthening upper and lower body muscle groups and has slight aerobic benefits.
6. Rollerblading – According to a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, rollerblading causes less than 50 percent of the impact shock to joints compared to running!
7. Hiking – Hiking uphill rather than walking regular trails gives you much more rewording results. Just remember to wear proper hiking boots and to stay plenty hydrated.
8. Water Aerobics – Water aerobics is a popular among the elderly and those recovering from injuries. However, although the buoyancy makes it feel easier, the greater density means that you get more resistance to any action.
9. Dance - Most forms of dance will give you a great aerobic workout. Since there are so many types of dance, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find one that suits you best. Zumba is a great workout class that incorporates fun Latin dance and fat burning moves.
10. Cross-country or Nordic Skiing – Skiing on a flat surface is a fun way to enjoy the beauty of winter and because it doesn’t overstress any one muscle group, you can ski for hours without injury.
For many, finding workout that is enjoyable without stressing your joints and ligaments isn’t easy. These 10 workouts are fun alternatives to walking or jogging that will keep you fit and happy.