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Managing and Preventing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

25 August 2022

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a condition resulting from the overuse of the hands to perform repetitive movements, which leads to damage to your nerves, muscles, and tendons. Activities, such as writing, clicking a mouse, typing, or playing sports can put your muscles, tendons, and nerves at risk, which is why it is crucial for you to know about RSI.

Unfortunately, most people involved in activities that can increase their risk for RSI are uninformed and are not aware of what RSI is and how serious it can be. If you are not aware of what RSI is and how to prevent and manage it, this post is for you. Here, you will learn what RSI is and how to prevent and manage the condition.

Repetitive Strain Injury

What is Repetitive Strain Injury?

RSI is a gradual buildup of damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves resulting from repetitive motions. The condition is quite common, and some of the activities that can lead to RSI include

Using a computer mouse,
Repetitive action such as swiping items at a supermarket checkout or working on an assembly line,
Grasping tools and
Training for sports.

Common repetitive strain injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tendonitis, and bursitis. Repetitive strain injury usually leads to weakness, pain, numbness, swelling, and stiffness in the affected part of the body. While the symptoms often usually begin, they intensify over time. If you do not manage the condition, it can negatively impact your usual activities.

Use Proper Techniques for Repetitive Actions

Managing and Preventing RSI

Fortunately, repetitive strain injuries are preventable and manageable. Like with all other health-related concerns, you need to eat a balanced diet, get involved in physical activities, and listen to your body to prevent and manage RSI. However, there are a few specific measures that we share below.

Maintain Good Posture

Many people with a desk job or any other job that requires repeated actions would already know the significance of maintaining good posture, but here it is critical to reiterate the importance of maintaining good posture. It is your body’s position when you minimize the strain on your body. In other words, good posture ensures your ease and comfort.

If your neck, back, shoulders, hip, or other muscles are very tight and sore at the end of the day, you should consider improving your posture. Here are a few ways to maintain good posture to prevent and manage RSI.

Setting Up Your Workstation

If you have a desk job that requires you to use a computer or a laptop, you need to set up your workstation efficiently. You need to ensure that your equipment is positioned appropriately, so it minimizes the strain on your body.

For the keyboard placement, ensure that it is placed above your thighs, your forearms should be roughly parallel to the ground, and your elbow makes a 90-degree angle. Moreover, as you use the mouse, you don't have to lean, stretch, or hunch to work it. Keep your arms and shoulders relaxed as you use a mouse.

Lastly, for the placement of the monitor, make sure that the screen is at your eye level, and if you are using a laptop, the screen is slightly tilted away from your eyes. Furthermore, the screen should be at least 15-20 inches away from your eyes.

Apart from the placement and use of the laptop, the other critical aspect of setting up your workstation is to invest in ergonomic office equipment. It is critical that you invest in an ergonomic office chair that provides enough support to your spine, hips, and lower body. Moreover, if your job requires you to sit for long hours, we also recommend investing in a height-adjustable standing desk that allows you to alternate between standing and sitting.

By investing in a height-adjustable standing desk, you can reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting and can maintain good posture. And while there are several varieties of height adjustable standing desks available on the market, one of the most reliable standing desks that we recommend is Seiffen Laminated 4-Spliced Standing Desk. The elegant and durable height-adjustable standing desk features enhanced stability and lifting speed and offers a greater load capacity of up to 220 lbs. The Seiffen Laminated 4-Spliced Standing Desk features an upgraded lifting system that ensures maximum stability during transitions. Moreover, the standing desk comes with a hook on each side to conveniently store your favorite accessories. Furthermore, to keep your height adjustable standing desk clutter-free, the desk also features a cable management tray.

The beautifully crafted Seiffen Laminated 4-Spliced Standing Desk features a large working space and an environmentally-sourced desktop that is large enough to fit in all your office accessories conveniently.

Managing and Preventing RSI

Use Proper Techniques for Repetitive Actions

If you have a desk job that requires you to type or use a mouse, here are a few techniques that will help reduce your risk of developing RSI.

Keep Your Wrists Straight While Typing

When you keep your wrists straight while typing, it puts less strain on your tendons and nerves, which eventually reduces your risk of developing RSI, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Don’t Let Your Wrists Rest of the Desk

While typing, it is important to let your hands float instead of letting your hands rest on the keyboard or the desk. The technique allows you to keep your wrist straight and let your big muscles share some of the load with your wrist, reducing your risk of developing RSIs such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Avoid Straining Your Fingers

While typing, when you need to press some hard-to-reach keys, instead of stretching your pinky finger, move your whole hand and use your index or middle fingers to press the required key.

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Last on the list of ways to manage and prevent RSI is stretching and strengthening exercises. They play a critical role in preventing RSIs and allowing you to manage the condition so you can continue to live a functional life despite a debilitating condition. Some of the stretching and strengthening exercises that you can try out at home or at your workplace during office breaks include the following.

Finger stretch,
Wrist rolls,
Shoulder rolls,
Neck stretching and strengthening,
Forearm stretch,
Back strengthening and
Eye palming.

5 Tips to Prevent RSI

5 Tips to Prevent RSI

Once diagnosed with the condition, you can manage it by maintaining good posture by setting up an ergonomic workstation, using the correct techniques, and incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises. However, there are several ways to prevent repetitive strain injury. Some of the tips that you can use in your everyday life that can help prevent RSI include the following.

1. Take Regular Breaks

Whether your desk job requires you to use a computer or laptop or your assembly line job requires you to stand persistently, make sure you take regular breaks every hour or so. These quick breaks can allow you to change your position, take a walk, stretch a bit and get ready for another hour of the day at work.

2. Maintain Good Posture

While working, it is critical to maintain good posture to ease the strain on your joints, muscles, and tendons.

3. Set up an Ergonomic Workstation

If you have a desk job requiring you to spend long hours in front of the screen, setting up an ergonomically optimized workstation is critical. When you have an ergonomic work setup, it helps reduce strain on your body, including your muscles, tendons, and joints, which eventually aids in preventing conditions such as RSIs.

4. Incorporate Physical Activity

One of the best ways to prevent several health concerns is by incorporating physical activity. Make sure you get involved in some sort of strengthening and stretching exercises every day. If you find it difficult to join a gym or go swimming, you can try out workouts such as yoga and Pilates at home.

5. Avoid Over-Stretching Your Fingers

For a typing job, you must avoid overstretching your fingers for the hard-to-reach keys. Instead, it is best to move your entire hand and press the desired key with ease and convenience.

Final Words

Repetitive strain injuries are quite common and can affect anyone. While there are several ways of preventing RSIs, they can happen to you. If you feel numbness, weakness, or tingling sensation in your arms, wrists and fingers, make sure you seek professional assistance and ask for help. Fortunately, repetitive strain injuries are manageable. All you have to do is to maintain good posture, get some physical activity, and rely on the advice of your healthcare practitioner. You will soon be able to resume your everyday activities conveniently.