Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
With the overwhelming amount of work now done on computers, new, formerly unfamiliar motions to the body like clicking, typing, and scrolling, could bring a potentially debilitating condition to the hands called Repetitive Strain Injury, or RSI. RSI comes from the overuse of the hands performing a repetitive task, resulting from awkward, prolonged, and sometimes forceful movements. These tiny movements, repeated day after day, can result in microscopic tears in the tendons, leading to inflammation and limited range of motion. Though it is similar in origin, it is not the same as carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis.
Symptoms of RSI
Inflammation from repetitive strain injury can cause tightness, lack of mobility, pain, soreness, and/or burning in the wrists, hands, fingers, forearms, or elbows. Nerve damage can result in tingling and numbing of the hands, often reported as feeling cold. This pain and nerve damage can cause a loss of strength and mobility of the hands and can lead to a loss of coordination and clumsiness. It can lead to very disruptive pain, linked to insomnia, and can be linked very closely with working on a computer.
Since eliminating computer usage is not really an option due to the amount of everyday tasks being migrated to the internet, preventing repetitive strain injury is very important. Utilizing good posture (avoiding slouching, hunching forward), using an ergonomically designed keyboard and mouse, and taking breaks from typing and massaging the hands, wrists, and forearms can be very helpful as preventative measures.
If you find yourself already battling RSI, there are a few things you can do to help with the pain. Hand massages using a tennis ball are great for hitting pressure points, hot and cold compresses are notably soothing, and anti-inflammatory supplements are great for reducing swelling. Copper and magnetic therapy jewelry are great options to encourage blood flow to the joints.