Largely the way in which you can help to prevent repetitive strain injuries are common sense approaches to your work and lifestyle.
Here is a summary of points to consider which will lessen the likelihood of developing a repetitive strain injury.
General tips to prevent RSI
- Take regular breaks from the repetitive task that you are undertaking. If you are computer based, you could set yourself reminders to take breaks at regular intervals. Reminders can usually be setup using your email client or alternatively there are various forms of specific RSI software that is designed for this job
- Regularly stand up and stretch as well as stretching your arms and wrists and also straighten your fingers
- If you are office based try to look at objects in the distance occasionally rather than continuously starring at a computer screen
- It is important that you listen to your body. If you feel fatigued, take a break before you begin to experience any RSI symptoms
- Learn muscle relaxing breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing
- Try to keep in as good physical shape as possible and eat and drink healthily
- Do not smoke as smoking can adversely affect blood flow
A very good resource that provides additional detailed information on exercises and techniques for lessening the potential onset of repetitive strain injuries along with other aspects can be found over at http://www.stat.rice.edu/~cscott/rsi.html which is recommended reading.
Tips to prevent RSI in the office workplace
It is not only in your employers interests to attempt to prevent repetitive strain injuries amongst staff, but it is also a legislatory requirement in many countries. Your employer should have guidelines for the prevention of RSI injuries in the office Ė here is our list of RSI doís and doníts in the office environment.
- Ensure that your workstation is ergonomically sound. This will involve adjusting the height of your chair so that it is relative to the desk and so that you have lumbar support
- When seated attempt to retain a good posture (no slouching!) Ideally your head and back should form a straight line from your ears to your pelvis
- When typing you wrists should not be bent to one side, try to keep them pointing in a straight line with your forearm
- Try not to hit the keys on your keyboard too forcefully
- Learn to touch type is possible. This will involve using all of your fingers which will lessen the load of typing across all fingers and it will eradicate the need for having to constantly focus on your keyboard
- Learn all the computer keyboard shortcuts to save you from unnecessary typing (these have been noted below for your convenience)
- Do not grip the computer mouse tightly and have it located close to your keyboard so you do not need to stretch
- An option maybe to consider a trial of voice recognition software to cut down or even eradicate the need for typing entirely
- Ensure that the office is heated appropriately
- If you use the telephone regularly you should obtain a headset rather than attempting to balance the headset between your ear and shoulder whilst typing
- Use ergonomic equipment
Using the following keyboard shortcuts can help to reduce typing and potentially lessen the potential for developing RSIís.
- CTRL + a = select all
- CTRL + c = copy
- CTRL + p = print
- CTRL + s = save
- CTRL + v = paste
- CTRL + x = cut
- CTRL + y = redo
- CTRL + z = undo
- Win + M = Minimize All
- Shift + Win + M = Undo Minimize All
- Win + F1 = Windows Help
- Win + E = Explorer
- Win + F = Find Files or Folders
- CTRL + Win + F = Find Computer
- Win + Tab = Cycle through taskbar buttons
- Alt + Tab = Cycle through open programs