Breaks are key. Also warm up exercises help (before the work, of course). I often warm up after extersnive breaks (sleep, lunch, etc...).
Check out Workrave (open source, free) that will time breaks and microbreaks for you.
Common problem. I once heard it said that you should take minutes off in every hour, hours off in every day and days off in every week. The problem of course is trying to remember to do this. Do you have a good chair?
i'm seeing an ostiopath right now and the main thing she said was set my screen up so that the top of the screen is at eye level when you are sitting up straight as this helps keep a good posture...
if you are a tall man like me this makes the screen very high! however i feel already an improvement!
|Do you have a good chair? |
Pretty good, I suppose. It has a high back and armrests, but my elbows generally rest on my spongy elbow rest pad thingie. Sometimes it feels like my chair is a bit low, but it's at its max height. Thinking I might sit on my exercise ball to keep my spine straight or get a backless knee chair...
I get very tight around the shoulders. I find a little work out here and there does wonders. Nothing major, just some press ups, curls, shoulder presses etc.
I second work outs. It helped me a great deal! I work out 3 times a week for 30-45 minutes. Feel much better generally.
I suffered from RSI for many years.
Take breaks and build your arm muscles. Stretching helps but it's mostly about getting more blood flow. I flex my arms and make funny moves all the time. :)
Swimming does me fine
|Do you take regular (smoke/coffee) breaks? |
Frequent breaks are good, but drinking coffee can acutally tighten up muscles.
There was a time I could not work at all on my PC because my RSI had gotten so bad, but regular yoga sessions help to keep my muscles more balanced and out of pain now.
I came across these following tips.
-- Breaks should be taken every 30-45 minutes for at least 5 minutes. If you need assistance there are free downloadable timers that will help remind you to do so. (Not really realistic, but probably healthy)
-- Stretch your arms, hands, neck, and back during breaks. This yoga site demonstrates some exercises. Other sites are listed below.
-- Maintain posture alignment. Don't slouch on the couch with the laptop.
-- Work stations should be reviewed initially and with each office move. Adjust your chair, monitor, keyboard, mouse, laptop. Alternate keyboards and mice periodically.
--Shift your gaze from the computer screen to the distance. And don't forget to blink!
--Limit non-essential computer use. This may be heresy -- but do give the surfing, gaming, emailing, and text messaging a rest.
Good luck and stay healthy.
|...sit on my exercise ball to keep my spine straight... |
Not for extended periods of time, so the chiropractor I see every now and again tells me.
RSI is a symptom of a working environment with poor ergonomics and practices. In your case, I would review the entire layout of your working area to reduce RSI and other potential problems such as neck, back and shoulder pain, etc. While all these items may not seem relevant, they all combine together to form a positive work space.
While a good chair is expensive, it is worth every cent, it is the last place you want to skimp on. Often people who have dragged their wooden kitchen chair over to the desk and worked on it for hours wonder why their arm is about to fall off - once they realize the benefits of a decent desk chair, their sold on the idea. Get one that allows for height adjustment, tilt tension, arm adjustment, etc.
A cramped tiny little desk that you're reaching up to or huddling down over will definitely cause you grief. Consider a proper computer or office desk. They will be at the proper height, and allow you more space to properly position mouse and keyboard for optimal comfort. Those all-in-one computer, monitor, printer vertical jobbies are a nightmare, so is the whole throw the notebook on the coffee table idea.
Your monitor height and tilt, because it can potentially influence the angle of your neck and back. I find it best to have a monitor that is height adjusted so that the top is slightly lower than your head, tilted slightly upward.
Very important - get a decent mouse... Those $4.95 no name brand mice with the flashing LED's and other gimicks are a death sentence for your wrist and arm. Spend the money, get a Logitech or Microsoft high end mouse that is ergonomically design with a "hump back" and contoured sides for optimal thumb and finger placement. It needs to be supportive and comfortable, if the mouse you have right now isn't... drop kick it and get one that does.
I have always found a mouse pad with integrated wrist pad to make a tremendous difference. If you currently have your wrist flat on the desk as you drag your mouse around, you WILL get RSI. I found a GOOD QUALITY mouse pad relieves a sizeable amoutn of the tension associated with the constant wrist movements. Also, make sure the surface of the mouse pad affords for easy gliding of the mouse. A mouse pad that adds resistence because of poor quality surface area is going to make your wrists work that much harder.
Again, get an ergonomically designed keyboard with integrated wrist pad. Split keyboards, while they take a week or so to get used to, are excellent! Plus, if you get used to a split keyboard, you are learning better typing practices anyway as it forces you to use both hands for the keys you're supposed to use. Make sure that the click mechanism of the keys does not 'jolt' your bones. They need to be responsive, but not 'mechanical' like the old IBM keyboards of ye ol' times.
Getting back to the desk, where you place your equipment on the desk is very important. You want to try and keep your arms relatively close to 90 degrees, the further away from that, the more strain they may endure. Have your keybaord and mouse so that they are in close distance to you, having to reach over too far, or having to shrug because they are too close, is bad. Keep your monitor at at a comfotable distance, if you are continually pulling back, or leaning forward to read your screen - you are constantly straining major body parts.
POSTURE AND EXERCISES
No explination needed, good posture is the way to go. We simply weren't designed as humans to be sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time. Consult reference books about how your posture should be. ALWAYS take short breaks, ALWAYS. Even if just for a minute, allow your wrist muscles to have a break. Occasionally grab a squeeze ball and give it a few reps.
I hope that helps you. I had RSI and I thought I was toast. Some people basically have to write-off their career because of this if it gets bad enough, so catch it now while you can. Once I really looked around at my working environment and realized that there was plenty of room for improvement, I made those changes and haven't had a problem in many years.
My brother had to stop working for over a year because of RSI, and in the end it got fixed by a back brace. Bad posture was the main thing, even though the pain was in his arms. It seems an idea to try - force yourself into good posture!
Like him I also avoid using the normal mouse - I prefer a pen style mouse. All that clicking hurts in the end
I use a Logitech Trackball instead of a mouse, and find it a lot better for my arm and wrist:
Also a mousepad with gel wrist rest helps:
Got to say ive just got a MS ergonomic 4000 keyboard, which has a reverse tilt (i.e the space bar is raised, and the functon keys are at the bottom,so the keys slope down from you) and its reduced the strain I feel in my wrists and i need to make alot fewer finger and wrist/arm movements while typing, defo worth paying out for
I have a setup with 2 mouse'es connected at once.
One regular and one trackball.
I just randomly switch back and forth between the two.
I use a mouse pad with a gel wrist rest on the regular mouse, not with the trackball.
I can not believe how much this has reduced my pain.
I cured my severe, career-threatening hand and wrist pain with:
1) A Maltron ergonomic keyboard.
2) Wrist splints at night for a year or two (until I developed the habit of folding my arms like a praying mantis when I was on my side).
3) An ergonomic chair with adjustable armrests.
I implemented the changes in the early 1990s, and I've been pain-free for at least a decade.
I developed an RSI from computer work, although I think it was aggravated from lifting heavy luggage during a recent trip and some arm movements in dancing. I now take more frequent breaks from computer use, in addition to doing arm exercises.
|my arm has gone numb...I tend to stay stuck to my desk for hours unless I need food. |
|...my elbows generally rest on my spongy elbow rest pad thingie. |
|I have always found a mouse pad with integrated wrist pad to make a tremendous difference |
Resting my mouse arm (in front of my elbow and behind my wrist) on 3 oval jel pads has helped a lot. When I was the office computer fix-it slave years ago, I switched to southpaw since 99% of my day was spent on right-handed crappy mice/pads. I learned to mouse lefty w/o switching the buttons so I didn't have to switch/reswitch every workstation. I still mouse left-handed since my abused right hand numbs quickly enough on typing. However, unlike my right hand's pre-ergonomic upbringing, I now know better than to ruin my left hand.
When you don't have to type, sitting back in the chair thumbing the old, heavy Kensington trackball in your lap does wonders to break up the hunched-over, white-knuckle workday.
Guys.. try homeopathy.. Now don't laugh it off..Whatever any one might say .. they are not placebo pills and work very well for these kind of problems. I cured by first stages of spondylitis with homeopathy and there are excellent remedies for sprains and strains..
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the vertical mouse yet. I bought the Evoluent Vertical Mouse just as a preventive measure (I had some warning signs of RSI) and I will never use a regular mouse again!
Also the Fellowes gel wristpad works wonders, but I had to get rid of the mouse surface because of strange optical-mouse drop-outs. I just use the wristpad itself now :-)
I like many of you work online 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
(Actually can't call it work, cuz it's fun and I love what I do.)
I almost had to have surgery here are some things that saved me:
For me mousing is the culprit, not typing. Clicking the mouse is really what does it. Sometimes when it gets really bad I used an old one button mouse and click with my foot.
Here are my fav carpal mice. I've tried them all! Whale mouse is my #1 fav because you move your whole hand, not your wrist, so the bigger muscles in your arm do all the work. (Wish they had an affiliate program. I could sell lots of these.) :-)
My #2 fav is the Quill Mouse. Similar to the Evoluent VerticalMouse but much better IMHO because it has a tray for your whole hand to rest in. Very comfortable and your hand just glides. I use them both and switch off because they each use slightly different muscles and I still get pain if I use one of them exclusively.
GELATIN - Yep plain old Knox gelatin. Don't pay for the combo that has glucosamine or get the one for nails. Just the plain gelatin. Get it in a big box that has the individual packets. Take one pack a day - stir in water or juice and drink down fast before it gels. Totally tasteless. GUARANTEED that in a week or less your pain will be better. A client told me about it and made me the guarantee above. I was considering surgery and this stuff saved me. If I stop taking it the pain comes back. Start taking again and in about 2 days the pain is almost completely gone, so I know its the Knox and not something else.
Also DONT REST YOUR ARMS on your chair arm rest or ever put your elbows on the desk or the table when you eat. This can realy get you in trouble the Dr. told me. It can give you cubital tunnel syndrome which is stightly different than carpal tunnel - I have that too! Carpal in one hand, cubital in the other. :-( I took the arms off my ergo desk chair so I could not do it accidently.
Hope this helps and best of luck!
I've struggled with RSI for many years. I tend to be a bit anxious and tense a lot of the day and I actually created my issues by holding tension in my muscles. Ergonomics is important, but actually making sure all your muscles are relaxed is more important, IMO. I am working a program that has made me feel better than I have in years. I am convinced I am on may way to becoming cured: I got
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook!
Just read the reviews at amazon ... They will convince you. The book teaches you how to completely cure yourself of this horrible problem.
i second most of the suggestions regarding chair, posture etc. it helps a lot, same with regular exercise and breaks. my problem was not carpal tunnel but an inflammation in the muscle where the shoulder attaches in my upper back.
i actually was put on vioxx(!) a few years back for this and a lot of other medications..
the ONE thing that i found did help more than anything else was using a rowing machine at my local gym. that in combination with elastic power bands to strenghten this muscle has helped me a lot.
just my 2c..
|Breaks should be taken every 30-45 minutes for at least 5 minutes. |
This is probably one of the most valuable and easy, free pieces of advice.
I worked in the insurance (claims) business for 18 yrs many of which were spent handling workers compensation claims for RSI. All the ergonomic chairs, mice, and other gadgets are fine, but should not substitute for excercize, frequent breaks, and changing up your routine as indicated.
Lastly, I am surprised no one has mentioned chiropractic. This will sound like heresy, especially coming from an ex claims adjuster, but if you can locate a qualified chiropractor who has a PROVEN track record of treating RSI with a focused, fixed period, it might be worth investigating. I had many, many claimants who found success and 100% relief with a particular chiropractor who speciliazed in RSI.
Let the flaming begin
>my arm has gone numb...I tend to stay stuck to my desk for hours unless I need food.
>my elbows generally rest on my spongy elbow rest pad thingie.
Yeah, been there done that......and after $3,000+ of expert medical help the final advice was that I have inflamed bursars in my elbows, due to leaning on them too much.
The solution was simple......quit leaning on them, which for me was easy, move my workplace from the office to the pool!
Knees and Elbows are sensitive parts of the body, place a lot of strain on them and they will "re-act". Take it easy and they will recover quickly :)
Here is an interesting article about this topic that is done by the researchers at the University of California at San Francisco.
It is called "Forearm Supports Reduce Upper Body Pain Linked To Computer Use" and can be found at [emaxhealth.com...]
Moderators, I just put the link for the reference.
The mouse is what caused most of my pains. Solution: I use the mouse with my other hand - and everything is fine now. Takes a couple of hours to adjust, but you get used to it.
Green_Grass - homeopathy sounds interesting. Please suggest some specific herbs, as long as it doesn't include duck liver.
Linda (Catalyst) - So now I have an excuse to regularly eat cheesecake, loaded with gelatin. Thanks for the tip.
Looks like I will be investing in an ergonomic mouse to start off with.
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