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{20/06/2012}   Repetitive Strain Injury

                I appear to have increasingly bad RSI.  A doctor has suggested I change jobs, indeed I will in the not-too-distant future, but what’s become of us all?  So many of us work at computers, operate machinery or vehicles and generally lift/carry things far heavier than we are designed for.  I’ve spoken to quite a lot of friends recently about RSI and it seems that most people have at the very least twinges.

                So when do you listen to your body and make changes in the hope of easing your aches and pains, when you know they’re caused by RSI?  I spoke to someone who said that when she failed to pick up a frying pan, she realised her RSI was a lot worse than she’d acknowledged so made big changes to her lifestyle.  As for me, my hands ache when I drive for more than about 30 minutes.  Maybe when they ache as soon as my hands clasp the wheel I’ll stop?  I should stop my work now really, shouldn’t I?  But I have friends with no jobs at the moment and they are all struggling to get work.  Being “out there” right now doesn’t seem like a good idea.  But neither does restricting the use of my hands.

For the past ten years I have usually worked in courts or in meeting rooms.  Neither workplace, about 95% of the time, is suitably equipped for seating comfort.  This is an ongoing issue.  I guess if you work in an office you can make a plea to have a proper supportive chair, a desktop PC (or iMac if you must!) and any wrist supports/pads that help.  But when you essentially work in hot desk type environments, there’s nothing you can do about chair choice.  I know there are a lot of stenographers and editors out there who would have a thing or two to say about seating in courts; generally, a good day is one where you’re not cramped in a corner with a defective chair.

I have always had bad posture, even worse since doing steno and using laptops, but my concern is more about my hands and wrists.  I have pains in specific places in my hands, eg my left index finger and right baby finger.  I fear I have ruined my chances of being a surgeon!  As is often the case with my blogs, there isn’t really a point.  Maybe writing this is my way of beginning to address the potential impact of continuing with work that gives me RSI, in fact has given me RSI, for I fear it will not just go away if I stop stenoing.  But typing, texting, writing, driving, in fact most hobbies I dabble in, all require use of your hands.  So, any job suggestions where hand usage is kept to a minimum?  But isn’t it stupid that we tend to persist in doing things that we know are giving us RSI?  I wonder if, let’s say 20 years from now, I will wish I had paid more attention to getting a comfortable work space, to changing sooner to a job that didn’t knacker my hands (and shoulder and back) and generally looking after myself better.  Maybe I’ll update this blog every ten years on the matter!

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Stretching regularly – doing stretches designed to prevent RSI – will improve your current condition and prevent future injury. The connective tissue that surrounds the nerves, muscles and blood vessels in your back, shoulders, arms and hands has contracted to attempt to protect your body from the effects of your work.

The symptoms you are experiencing are a result of impingement. The solution is to stretch the connective tissue so it returns to a state of elastic flexibility instead of it’s current, ‘strapping tape’ state.

Our web site can provide more information about the how and why of RSI and our software program, PRSI Break (PRSI is an acronym for Preventing Repetitive Strain Injury) will guide you through stretches demonstrated move by move at the pace necessary to regain and maintain connective tissue health. In addition to including stretches for the whole body and a fully customizable scheduling system, PRSI Break places a strong focus on one of the worst offenders regarding RSI – awkward/slouching posture. The main thing I’d like you to know is you can stop your RSI and prevent it from happening again. Research studies done on the effects of using PRSI Break showed marked improvements after 4 weeks of regular use. Take care.



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