Prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive Stress Injury symptoms when found, people should seek medical attention as early as possible. Measures that can be adopted to avoid Repetitive Stress Injury at an individual level include:

Position: The recommended position to sit in front of a computer is semi-reclined with the forearms resting in a cradle or on an extension of the keyboard support to prevent Repetitive Stress Injury. There should be ample support for the back. The hands should be free and point in the direction of the forearms. The feet should rest on the ground or feet support. The distance of the monitor should be 18 inches or more and at a slightly lower level than the eye level. Using these measures Repetitive Stress Injury caused out of position can be avoided.

Hydration: The Repetitive Stress Injury can be prevented by drinking adequate fluids to keep the tendons and soft- tissues soft.

Shortcuts: Using keyboard shortcuts and less of mouse is the most effective preventive method to avoid Repetitive Stress Injury. Touch the keyboard softly and do not pound at it. The wrist should rest on the table or wrist rest.

Telephone use: Don’t cradle the telephone between the face and shoulder while working, as this can lead to neck strain.

Messages: Don’t use the computer while conveying messages in person or through the intercom.

No games:One of the main Causes of Repetitive Stress Injury is Games. Games or surfing at work may increase stress on your hands. So games should be avoided.

Preventive Measures at the Organizational Level for Repetitive Stress injury :

Organizations that use computers in a big way can also adopt certain preventive measures for avoiding Repetitive Strain Injury to their employees. These include:

  1. You need to educate your employees on the importance of adopting a proper posture which is one of the main cause of Repetitive Stress Injury.
  2. Ensure that all your employees are using quality ergonomic furniture that will save loss of working hours by guaranteeing full comfort of the employees.
  3. Give periodic reminders through lectures and audio-visual presentations by medical professionals on the importance of taking good care of health while using computers and Repetitive Stress Injury.
  4. Try to avoid computer as much as possible: use voicemail instead of sending e-mail. Go for a walk or watch a movie instead of playing video games. Its better go for a book instead of searching the Web. You are in the danger zone for Repetitve Stress Injury if you are using a computer for as little as two hours a day.
  5. Adjust your workstation properly. Make sure your monitor is directly in front of you, with the top of the screen at eye level. Be sure your keyboard and mouse are low enough to allow you to relax your shoulders.
  6. Sit up straight. Make sure your chair supports your spine in an erect position as it is the one of the main causes of Repetitive Stress Injury.
  7. Practice proper technique: never rest your wrists on the desk, wrist pad or armrests while you are typing or using a mouse or trackball.
  8. Pace yourself. Take a 5-to-10 minute break every 20 minutes and limit your overall time at the computer.
  9. Get regular cardiovascular exercise.
  10. Do appropriate upper-body strengthening and stretching exercises.
  11. Stretch frequently while at the computer.
  12. Do not work at the computer or other hand-intensive activities if you are experiencing pain, fatigue or soreness.
  13. Avoid using the mouse and trackball whenever possible. Use keystrokes instead for preventing Repetitive Stress Injury.
  14. When symptoms of Repetitive Stress Injury are set in, consult an orthopedic surgeon. If you find of the symptoms of Repetitive Stress Injury mentioned above, do not make the diagnosis yourself. The diagnosis will be made from the history and clinical findings as there will be no changes in X-rays, since the soft tissues are involved. Nerve conduction studies can confirm the diagnosis. In cases detected earlier, attention to ergonomics will restore normalcy.

          In cases of Repetitive Stress Injury when diagnosed late, orthopedic treatment like injections and even minor surgery may be necessary.

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