The term repetitive strain injury (RSI) is used to describe a range of painful conditions of the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. It is mainly caused by repetitive use of part of the body. It is usually related to a task or occupation but leisure activities can also be a cause. Unlike a normal strain following a sudden injury, symptoms of RSI can persist well beyond the time it would take symptoms of a normal strain to ease.
What should I do to be more ergonomically correct?
RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) is an injury that can be caused by repeatedly using your muscles and joints in the wrong way. For example, by not sitting right by your computer, or holding your hands and arms in an unnatural posture repeatedly for a long time.
RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are two of the most common causes of work-related sick leave and costs companies billions in absenteeism and health care. In the US alone, RSI and CTS costs more than $ 20 billion in medical allowance each year.
How can you prevent these injuries?
It is difficult to get rid of these injuries once they have arisen. All bodies are different and are affected very differently from RSI. It is difficult to get rid of the pain once it´s there and it is also very easy to get the pain back if you revert to working the same way as you have always done. Therefore, it is important to think ergonomic even before you get hurt. You can prevent the onset of RSI with very small means by thinking right from the start.
The most important thing to consider is:
To work varied. Change posture. Are you able to stand up and work sometimes? Can you change your table and chair? If you have both a mouse and other input devices (eg, a touch plate). Vary your posture. Take many micro-breaks. It is never wrong to go up and get a coffee or a glass of water. Stretch your legs. At Penclic we love our “Walk and Talk” meetings. We take a short walk while discussing work.
Working inside your shoulder width. Injuries occur easily when holding your arms in an unnatural position. If you have a wide keyboard and place your mouse beside the keyboard, you have to stretch your arm to reach the mouse. It is best if you can´t see any air between your arm and your body. That’s when you have a comfortable position for your shoulders.
Look at your work position. If you sit with a laptop, you have to have it very close to the body to write. This means that you always have to bend your neck down to see the screen. That´s certainly not good for the neck. It would be best if the top of your screen is a maximum of 10 cm below the eye line. If you sit often and for long periods of time with your laptop, it is better to plug in an external monitor and an external keyboard. Simply using an external keyboard is good enough if you do not have the option to use an external monitor because if you have an external keyboard between yourself and the laptop it will end up further away from you and you do not have to bend your neck as much. You can also raise the level of the screen of the laptop by setting it on something.
If your table is too high or your chair too low you tend to pull up your shoulders toward your ears. It is not good for either your shoulders, your back or your neck. The height should be so that you can sit with your forearms 90 degrees to the table while having your shoulders relaxed.
Do not angle your wrists into unnatural positions and avoid twisting them if you can. If your keyboard is too high, such as on a laptop as you sit with your wrists in an upward position, even if you have a wrist rest. If you use a traditional mouse you rotate your wrist in an uncomfortable position, plus it has a tendency to make you “hover” your hand and forearm a few centimeters above the table. The twist goes all the way up to your shoulder.
Using a flat keyboard helps you avoid the upward twist of the wrist. A vertical mouse lets you have your arm and hand in a more natural position. We at Penclic always place our whole forearm flat on the table. Since we are working with our penclic mouse. It means that we have the support of the table and will not “hover” over the table to grab the mouse. A pen or a touch pad allows you to use your fingers to control instead of your palm or whole hand. Working with your fingertips gives you more controlled and precise movements, which means no unnecessary movements to correct any mistakes you make with your normal mouse.
Do you already suffer from RSI?
It is important that you do something about it, as soon as possible. To visit a specialist or a doctor is a given. Also, look at how you sit while you work. Can you make any changes that makes you sit better? Change the way to work? Do you use a mouse? Replace with a different controller, a touchpad or a vertical mouse can help. If you often sit at a laptop, we recommend that you obtain a screen and an external keyboard.
All bodies are different and it is very difficult to know what will help you with your pain, that’s why you have to try different things to find the product that works for you with your pain. That’s why its great when the products you are testing does not cost a fortune. Penclic is extremely well priced compared to other ergonomic products and the Internet is full of reviews from people who have been helped with their pain by switching to our products.