Repetitive Strain Injury -- What Do You Do? - InformationWeek

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7/17/2008
01:20 PM
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Repetitive Strain Injury -- What Do You Do?

How are you coping with BlackBerry thumb, keyboard-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, and Guitar Hero aches?

How are you coping with BlackBerry thumb, keyboard-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, and Guitar Hero aches?A recent pitch for a device that claims to strengthen and rehabilitate hands, wrists, and elbows wracked by too much keyboard time touched off an e-mail discussion among our editors.

Several of us suffered or suffer from keyboard-related RSI. I had several weeks of therapy for the condition about six years ago, and continue to perform the stretching and strengthening exercises my therapists taught me. I also try to stay aware of my posture, take keyboard breaks, and use an ergonomic chair and keyboard.

My therapists also said general physical exercise can help because it increases blood flow through the affected areas and can help relieve upper-body tension.

One of our writers found basketball helpful for addressing ulnar nerve inflammation. Dribbling and shooting exercised his forearms -- and the game gave him a break from typing. Unfortunately, basketball also led to a broken ankle.

Another colleague got tendinitis in his right thumb. He had it braced and got cortisone injections, but long-term relief came from a different keyboard.

Then there's speech-recognition software. One colleague struggled with Dragon Naturally Speaking. Attempts to write using the software usually ended in a string of expletives. But that was several years ago, so the software may have improved since then.

One of our editors swears she's avoided the problem entirely by using the two-finger hunt-and-peck typing method. Of course, 90% of her keyboarding involves the "delete" key, which simplifies things.

If you've got some form of RSI, how are you dealing with it?

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