Repetitive Strain Injury

  Tittlemouse 17:40 21 Feb 03
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Pathetic I know, but I am suffering from "repetitive strain injury" on my kneck and shoulder through sitting at this blasted machine. I am trying to use the mouse with my left hand to combat it. Anyone got any ideas?. Apart from me getting a life.

  Kate B 17:49 21 Feb 03

Tittlemouse, RSI is a serious condition, and you must get proper medical help or you risk doing lasting damage to yourself. We had a lot of it at work some years back, and I will never forget the sight of a young woman in her 20s using her whole body to push open a door because her hands were not strong enough and the pushing caused her too much pain. Careers and lives were ruined by it.

You should really stop using the PC altogether for at least a while until the symptoms ease, and then take a long hard look at your setup. Are you sitting at the right height, is your monitor at the right height? Think about using a pen-type input rather than the mouse, make sure you take plenty of breaks ... I can't stress enough how serious this can be.

A quick google search turned up this: click here
it looks pretty good on its advice.

Without fail, and without delay, get medical help. If your GP doesn't take it seriously, tell him/her that you DO take it seriously and you want to be referred to a specialist.

Sorry to sound alarmist, but I've seen too many people seriously damaged by RSI.

  Forum Editor 18:13 21 Feb 03

Are you facing the monitor, and is it at, or slightly below your eye level?

Can you sit right up to the desk/work surface, and is it the right height for comfort?

Do your hands rest naturally on the keyboard, or are you aware of your shoulders tensing as they take the weight of your arms and hands?

Is the display configured so that you have a crisp, flicker-free screen to look at, and do you occasionally look away to a distant object (out of the window, or across a hallway or corridor) to allow your eyes to change focus and rest?

Is the room in which you work well ventilated and not too warm/cool?

Can you cross your legs at the ankle as you sit at the desk?

Can you stretch your legs straight out under the desk?


I spend long periods in front of a computer screen as you can imagine, and I've done it for many years. Over this period I've developed ways of avoiding RSI, and (touch wood) I've not been affected by it.

If the display isn't clear and rock steady you'll develop pain in your neck and shoulders as you subconciously tense the muscles that run from your shoulders up the sides of your neck. You won'tknow this is happening until you get pain, and it can be very difficult to get rid of it when it strikes. Sitting with the monitor to one side, so you have to turn slightly to see it can also give rise to neck and shoulder pains.

Take Kate B's advice - see your doctor.

  Belatucadrus 18:14 21 Feb 03

As an ex corporate furniture buyer I confirm everything Kate B says, beyond getting a life, here a few things you can do to help :-

1) Take a rest from the PC at regular intervals, get up and move around.

2) Make sure you are using a proper height adjustable office style chair. They aren't that expensive and considering the potential amount of pain you could be looking at, definitely a good purchase.

3)Ensure your PC is on a desk at a sensible height with a reasonable amount of space. If the keyboard is too close to the edge of the desk you can't rest your arms, this isn't a good idea.

4)Get a decent wrist rest, they don't suit everybody, but many people swear by them.

5)Sit up straight, this may sound obvious, but some of us ( me included ) tend to slouch.

I ended up spending big wads at the Chiropractor because I got Brachial neuralgia ( pain in the neck shoulder and arm ) So I do know what your going through. A case of practice what I preach not what I did, c'est la vie.

  VoG™ 18:20 21 Feb 03

I used to get the symptoms you describe. I then bought a decent (£100 ish) swivel office chair with adjustable height, armrests etc. and have not suffered since.

  Tittlemouse 18:25 21 Feb 03

My goodness me, I didn't know it was so serious. I will certainly check with my doctor. I have really studied the way I sit and the height of the bench etc. and I always feel confortable. It is when I leave the computer that I can hardly use my arm through the pain. Thanks to every one that replied to my query. I well appreciate your efforts. Thank you.

  Djohn 18:33 21 Feb 03

Yes I too have to be very careful, and the above advice is good, also as VoG™ says, buy a good chair.

I purchased one from PC World, swivel/headrest/armrest, and it will also move gently back and forth as you adjust your seating position, A little like a rocking chair.

I now have trouble stopping my wife from using it to watch the TV, it really is that comfortable.

£120-00 and the best bit of money I've spent for a while. (Son's money anyway) :o)

  STREETWORK 18:46 21 Feb 03

Employ the principles of ergonomics...good chair...good desk...good mouse and keyboard...good doctor,,,etc

  artist 20:59 21 Feb 03

I developed RSI december 2001. Spent most of last year at the physio dept also had injection into the wrist joint.
Still got lots of pain - seeing a surgeon in 3 weeks.
Take the comments on this VERY seriously. It's been agony and has stopped me doing lots of things.

  richfire2000 21:41 21 Feb 03

I bought an anti RSI keyboard from A4 Tech, and so far so good! The keys face outwards slightly, so that you do not have to bend your rists to type. It might be worth your while investing in this, or a similar device, as they seem to work very well.

  Kate B 21:41 21 Feb 03

artist, I sympathise - it's grim. Tittlemouse, I'm glad you're taking all this stuff on board. Nobody likes to sound notes of despair, but RSI can be really serious - I look forward to hearing that you've taken the good advice offered by everyone else and that you've been to a doctor who knows a bit about it. Good luck.

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