Source: Safety Concepts
Almost one in five office workers suffer from repetitive strain injury
(RSI) according to a report by the New York based Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health.
The report went on to say that while millions of dollars are spent trying
to find the cure for RSI we don't appear to be getting very far. In fact it
is generally agreed that the most success comes from prevention, not cure.
The number one cause of RSI is the huge impact of computers in our lives -
in particular the use of keyboards. Almost every worker in an office from
the receptionist to the executive suite works daily with a desktop or
laptop. Even in a world where the use of the personal device and smart
phone is fast becoming the next "platform" PC use is as mainstream as paper
The report says that incorrect seating, poor work regimes and appalling
physical fitness can play a role in RSI, which is why many experts often
prescribe special exercises to help lessen the effects of long hours spent
at the computer making hundreds of thousands of key strokes. While these
movements may be small, they carry the risks and dangers of any athletic
There are some simple tips to avoiding RSI and still remain productive at
First, start with a good chair that has as much adjustability as possible
and is easy move. The chair should not be so long that it digs into the
back of the legs, and the chair's height should be adjusted so that the
feet can touch the floor without dangling.
To help improve posture, select an ergonomic designed keyboard. If you
cannot change your hardware make a simple adjustment to the keyboard. Slip
a board, about 25 centimeters thick, beneath the lowest side of the
keyboard. This provides a "negative" tilt, taking some strain off the
wrists and encourages you to sit up a little straighter,
According to the American College of Orthopaedic Surgeons, sufferers of RSI
can be aided by the correct environmental climate with which to operate at
work. The college suggests workers change the desk height, change the seat,
and use a foam wrist rest.
Another field of thought says that the best way to treat RSI is keep the
tendons supple and moving. The theory is that tendons that move heal
better, so people are encouraged to warm up by doing fine motor movements
such as wrist twirls and finger lunges to keep things supple.
By limiting how much hands and wrists move you can cause muscles to
contract and tendons to shrink. People end up alleviating some of the pain,
but they tend to put added stress on some of the other muscle groups. The
goal is to maintain a range of motion.