The Importance of Ergonomics

Beware the Repetitive Strain Injury

But first, some ambience :)

Michael Ottosson

Clair de Lune by Michael Ottosson

What is Repetitive Strain Injury? (RSI)

Repetitive Strain Injury is a condition where pain or aches occurs in a part of the body that has performed repetitive tasks. In a workplace, RSI is most common in the arms and hand caused by typing or using the mouse excessively.

Symptoms

  • pain, aching, tenderness
  • stiffness
  • throbbing
  • weakness
  • cramps
  • tingling or numbness
  • swelling

Stages of the Injury

1) Mild Stage

This state lasts for weeks and isn't chronic- in fact, the symptoms lessen when the affected area is put at rest.


2) Moderate RSI

If left untreated at the first stage, longer periods of pain (for several months) will occur, as muscle and joint stiffness, swelling, redness, and warmth spreads over the affected area. In this stage, the pain persists at night, potentially disturbing sleep.


3) Severe RSI

This is when RSI becomes irreversible- there is constant pain, and you may experience fatigue even when well-rested.

Prevention

Working in an ergonomic environment is the best way to help prevent RSI or other injuries! You can also invest in furniture that help you to work comfortably and efficiently. For example...


  • sit with your back straight and elbows at a right angle (arm rests are recommended).
  • make sure your forearms are horizontal while using the keyboard or mouse
  • adjust your monitor so that it is directly in front of you to avoid straining your eyes or neck



Also, you can try out these exercises for wrists and hands- not only do they prevent RSI, they feel quite soothing!

RSI - Hand and Wrist Exercise For The Office

RSI Treatment

Treatment for RSI really depends on the severity of your case, but here are some methods that can help to ease the pain.



  • Take regular breaks at work to stretch and move around.
  • Exercise. Some people claim that incorporating physical activity into their routine eases their symptoms.
  • use cold packs, elastic supports or a splint to help the affected area.
  • Physical therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, and a massage can help to relax your muscles.




(However, if the pain persists, the best option is to go see your doctor.)

Works Cited

Posturevideos. "RSI - Hand and Wrist Exercise For The Office." YouTube. YouTube, 17 July 2015. Web. 04 May 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYj83R8bsYs>.


"Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) - Treatment ." Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). 27 Jan. 2016. Web. 04 May 2016. <http://www.nhs.uk/CONDITIONS/REPETITIVE-STRAIN-INJURY/Pages/Treatment.aspx>.


"Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) ." Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). 7 Aug. 2015. Web. 04 May 2016. <http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Repetitive-strain-injury/Pages/Introduction.aspx>.


"Repetitive Strain Injury. Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury | Patient." Patient. 5 Dec. 2014. Web. 04 May 2016. <http://patient.info/health/repetitive-strain-injury-leaflet>.


"Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)." News-Medical.net. 2012. Web. 04 May 2016. <http://www.news-medical.net/health/Symptoms-of-repetitive-strain-injury-(RSI).aspx>.

By: Christine S. Park