Repetitive Strain Injury Got You Down?

We’re Not Wired for This

Try not being on a computer for hours a day. You don’t have to be at work. It’s hard at home too.

We sit at our ergonomic desk in our ergonomic chair and get involved with our screen.  Every now and then we straighten our back. But the latest research suggests that while we might have sorted the furniture in relation to computer use we’re still not paying attention to what’s happening to our body.

“Pain, is our body’s way of getting our attention.” LeAura Alderson, founder, MyTrainerFitness.com

What’s your first course of action when you experience pain? Unfortunately, for most people, their solution to pain is usually a pill bottle, such as a Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

Since pain is our body’s way of getting our attention, to anesthetize that pain with a pill means to mute the message our body is trying to communicate. Enough pleas for help left unattended almost always leads to something worse.

“Listen to your body and learn its language.” LeAura Alderson, founder, MyTrainerFitness.com

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This is Bad for You

Anything that shortens our muscles and range of motion is bad for us.

The part of our body at work when we type (or play an instrument or hold a tennis racquet) is our neuromuscular system, our muscles and tendons and the nerves running through them. In between bouts of exercise our neuromuscular system rebuilds damaged tissue and gets ready for the next event. When we don’t rest in between events our muscle and nerve tissue has no time to heal. Instead, it slowly deteriorates. This is called micro trauma and it’s cumulative.

Micro Trauma is Cumulative

Virtually any area of the body can be subject to Repetitive Strain Injury which is unchecked micro trauma, and it is cumulative. Can you imagine not being able to lift a book off the table or even turn a page, or not being able to turn on the tap or dress yourself? It can wreck your life, if left un attended and unchecked.

RSI is preventable and reversible, IF you catch it early enough. FederalSoup.com

Do NOT let Repetitive Strain Injuries go unattended, or you could experience permanent tissue and nerve damage. What you need is the opposite of sitting bound up at your computer. And you need  it before RSI has found your carpel tunnel or forearm, not after.

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The Sound of One Hand Exercising

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, or just getting started, you’ve probably heard how essential it is to warm up before exercising, and to stretch in the cool down.

Even computing is a physical exercise that requires body care and maintenance.

Were you ever taught to exercise your hands and wrists? Perhaps if you were a gymnast or a pianist, however, most of us were never taught to exercise our hands and wrists. But you can start now, wherever you are. That’s one of the great things about hands and wrist exercises. You can do them virtually anywhere, at any time.

This 5 step micro hand exercise from StretchNow targets the very muscles vulnerable to carpal tunnel as well as stiffness, arthritis and overall weakness and diminished flexibility in wrists, hands and fingers.

If you don’t trust yourself to stop every 20 minutes or so, there are a number of free resources available as timer/reminder apps. Our favorite is just to use the clock app on our iPhones. It has an alarm, stopwatch, and timer option. You can set the alarms to go off every 60 minutes during every weekday, for example, or, whatever frequency you choose.

Or, you can also just search timer apps online and likely find a number of options to choose from, such as this FREE timer app from Amazon.

Hand and Wrist Exercises

From StretchNow.com.au

  1. Gently extend the fingers of your right hand back one by one.
  2. Take them all back at the same time (to stretch open your palm). Repeat several times.
  3. Take your thumb back towards your wrist, then forwards, stretching gently and firmly but without forcing. Make a fist and slowly open it, stretching your fingers and thumb out as far as you can.
  4. Put your palms together in prayer position, fingers pointing upwards. Stretch your fingers and press palms together strongly. Keep the base of your palms pressed together and lower your hands until your lower arms are horizontal.
  5. Take your hands down still further, fingers and upper palms together. You should feel the stretch on the insides of your fingers and wrists. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat.

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Now, before you go back to your desk do it all again starting with the left hand.

For three more quick but effective exercises for wrists, hands and fingers, you will enjoy these three exercises from Healthline, with cool video clips for quick demonstrations.

“Take care of your body and it will take care of you.” LeAura Alderson, founder, MyTrainerFitness.com

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Perform “Spider Pushups” by bringing your palms together and apart, while keeping your fingertips touching.


RESOURCES

ARTICLES:
An Overview of The Research on RSI And The Effectiveness of Breaks
, wellnomics.com
Hand Exercise, stretchnow.com.au
Micro Breaks are The Key to Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And RSI, – Anat Baniel

BOOKS:
It’s Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!: RSI Theory and Therapy for Computer Professionals – Suparna Damany MSPT

PRODUCTS:
FREE Timer BY Workrave
, workrave.org
FREE Timer App from Amazon
Hand Exerciser, by FlexEx, available on Amazon (this was the least expensive of the finger, hand and wrist gadgets, plus it looks simpler, smaller for storage and easier to use).
Mousepad with wrist wrest cushion – by Belkin (this is one of the least expensive of the ergonomic solutions for carpal tunnel prevention).