Tips to avoid RSI
Repetitive movements combined with restrictive posture , can pinch nerves,
irritate tendons, and inhibit blood flow. Conditions that have been associated
with frequent uninterrupted workstation use and poor work habits include
pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands; headaches and neck pain;
soreness in the legs, arms and back; and eyestrain. These conditions fall into
a class of injuries commonly known as Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI).
Here are some guidelines (remember everyone is different, so only you can
set up your work area to suit your needs and protect against RSI)
Clear enough room to work efficiently.
Place materials and supplies where they don't interfere with your movement.
Arrange your work area so that you can face the display and keyboard directly,
without having to twist your body
If overhead lighting is uneven or insufficient use additional light sources
(desk lamp) to shed light on hard copy or high-use areas of your desk to
Making the right adjustments to your chair, keyboard and display are important
Adjust your seat so you are siting upright with your feet firmly on a surface
and your lower back well supported.
Set the chair height so your hands and wrists are at about the same level as
the home row on the keyboard.
The recommended viewing distance is about one arm's length away from the screen
The top of the screen should be about eye level or slightly lower
Remember to look off towards distant objects several times each hour
If you frequently type from hard copy, use a copy stand and place it at the
same height and distance from your eyes as the computer screen. The copy should
stand next to the screen at about eye level.
If glare is a problem;
Position the screen at right angles to bright light sources
Do not face a window
Keep the screen clean
Use an antiglare filter
If you have trouble reading what's on the screen, adjust the brightness and
contrast controls. troublesome reflections may be eliminated by tilting the
When moving the mouse use your whole arm, not just your wrist.
Your mouse or trackball should be at the same height as your keyboard and
within easy reach.
When typing, your wrists should be as straight as possible, your forearms
parallel to the floor. If they are not, adjust your keyboard, desk height
or chair accordingly. Your hands should float over the keys, don't reach
to far with just your fingers.
Breaks and Stretches
Break up your computer tasks. Walking to the printer, copy machine, to a
colleague's office for a chat, are simple, productive ways to break up
your computer tasks. Such breaks are one of the most effective ways you
can take to prevent the discomforts of long computer use.
A rule of thumb, if your work involves typing for long periods, is to do
other tasks for ten minutes every hour
The following exercises, which can be done from your chair, may help to
release muscle tension (Do stretches gently. Don't do any stretch that
causes pain. Hold each stretch 15-20seconds)
Shoulder rolls - Gently roll shoulders forward, up and drop back. Do slowly
and rhythmically 5-10 times.
Finger stretch - Gently open and close hand, stretching fingers wide when hand
is in the open position
Trap stretch - Sit on hand to help stabilise. Tip head down as if looking in
your shirt pocket. Hold.
Side bending Head - Lower ear towards shoulder, Repeat other side.
Shoulder Blade Pinch - Rotate arms to back, pinching shoulder blades together.
palms will naturally rotate back - let them.
Hug stretch - Grasp arm at elbow. Pull arm forward and across body as if you
are hugging somebody. Repeat other side.
Chin tuck - Keeping head level, slide chin back making a double chin. Hold
two seconds and release
Hand stretch - Make a gentle fist. Open hands at first joint, keeping fingers
bent. Open hand, straightening fingers all the way