Workstation "Musts" to Avoid RSI's





Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI'S) are Often Caused by Extensive Computer Use. The Following Factors Contribute to the Development of these Injuries:

  • Repetition: Long or concentrated hours of typing or use of the computer mouse, especially if working aggressively to meet a deadline will increase stress to the hands and wrists and contribute to the likelihood of becoming afflicted with an RSI such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

  • Force: A computer mouse and keyboard require only a light touch so be aware of the amount of force you are using. It is said that each keystroke applied takes about 4oz. Of pressure and if you add this up, by the end of the day you have applied more than 50,000 lbs of pressure. Think if you were in the gym long enough to lift 50,000 + lbs. Per day? When you apply this exercise to the finger and wrist flexors only, they are going to get stronger and tighter than the opposing extensor muscles and a muscle / joint imbalance will eventually occur. Balance must be maintained between these two muscle groups to prevent the onset of RSI'S.

  • Duration: The more hours you spend keyboarding or using the computer mouse, the more likely it is that you will become afflicted with an RSI, even if you have a good ergonomic workstation. A good workstation and proper office setup helps reduce the amount of stress to your hands and wrists, but you are still using your hands and wrists. A good workstation may make it take longer to get an RSI, but it is still bound to happen if adequate breaks are not taken, if the type of tasks you perform are not varied throughout the day and if you are not performing exercises in order to prevent or correct the muscle imbalance that is often the cause for the development of these types of injuries.
  • Posture: Long hours of sitting in the same position while keyboarding or mousing -- especially if you are working in a poorly designed workstation and/or in a non-supported position, will increase your chances of obtaining an RSI. Be aware of your hand/wrist, shoulder, back and neck position while working at your desk.

  • Breaks: Intensive hours at the keyboard with few breaks can cause extensive stress to the hands and wrists. Be sure to take micro-breaks throughout the day to perform stretch exercises. This will help offset the excessive use of the flexor muscles while typing and reduce the chance of developing a muscle/joint imbalance.

    Be sure to take all of these factors into account as you work each day in order to help reduce the chance of developing a Repetitive Strain injury such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Tendonitis. Be aware of your work an ounce of prevention is worth MORE than a pound of cure!

    Authot: Jeff Anliker. Mr. Anliker is a Therapist and Inventor of Therapeutic Exercise Products that are utilized by Corporations, Consumers and Medical Facilities around the world for the prevention and rehabilitation of repetitive strain injuries.