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RSI- What It Is & How to Avoid It

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What is RSI?

Well-named, RSI is a repetitive stress injury, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). While musicians frequently suffer from such injuries to the wrists, they are not the only ones. Typists are also prone to RSI, especially in the wrists, and usually from poor posture and bad typing habits. If you are curious about the warning signs of RSI, they typically involve muscle weakness, tingling, swelling, numbness, and/or burning. Left alone, these symptoms will only worsen. Thus, if you notice or are persistently experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to check out the following tips for present relief and future prevention of pain.

Tips for Relief & Prevention:

  • Check your posture. Good posture matters more than to just your mom. A solid ergonomic chair will provide good support for your back and more importantly help you maintain a “neutral” typing posture. Once in it, adjust your chair so that it specifically fits you. If there is not enough back support, try using a rolled towel or adding additional lumbar support.
  • Upgrade your keyboard. An ergonomic keyboard supports good hand and wrist posture to help you avoid CTS. As there is a vast variety of sizes and styles, it might be wise to try out several different kinds to determine which one provides the best shape for you. For example, the split keyboard design is gently curved to fit the natural shape of your hands, alleviating muscle fatigue. The compact design of the mini keyboard minimizes the muscle movement required for each keystroke.
  • Take a break. Almost as important as good ergonomic equipment is taking a break. Get up from your computer and walk around for a minute at least once an hour because frequent breaks reduce the excessive muscle work and repetitive motion that so commonly leads to RSI. In addition to allowing your muscles to rest, try stretching the sore areas, slowly and gently, to prevent stiffness in the muscles and joints.
  • Seek medical attention. If your pain and other symptoms continue or worsen, talk to your doctor to see if you require further measures to aid in prevention and recovery.

If you can make smart changes in the early stages of RSI, you can quickly reduce pain and prevent long-term injury. Upgrade to a more supportive ergonomic chair that encourages better posture and helps relax your muscles. Start using a well-fitting,ergonomic keyboard that helps you maintain good positions for your hands, wrists, and arms. Give your tired muscles a break and correct your posture to prevent further soreness; these simple changes can be effective in stopping further injury.