According to Healthline, a repetitive strain injury refers to the gradual build of damage to the tendons, muscles and nerves from repetitive motions. Though repetitive motions can take many different forms, the most common causes of RSI include typing, grasping tools, using a computer mouse, swiping items at a grocery store and working on an assembly line. The most common types of RSI include carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff tendonitis, bursitis and tennis elbow. Repetitive strain injuries can cause discomfort and even pain. Depending on the extent of the injury, they may severely limit your ability to go about your typical daily activities. For these reasons, you should take measures to prevent RSI as much as possible.
Preventing repetitive stress injury
If you work at a desk, one of the best things you can do to prevent a repetitive strain injury is to maintain good posture. Sit up straight and do not slouch. Though maintaining a strong posture requires patience and mindfulness, it is key to preserving bone and muscle health.
Of course, simply sitting up straight will not prevent all forms of repetitive stress injury. Making certain adjustments to your workstation and sitting habits, along with practicing good posture, can go a long way toward keeping your tendons, muscles and nerves in good health:
- Sit in an ergonomic chair.
- Avoid sitting cross-legged.
- If possible, try to work while standing for at least half of your workday.
- If you talk on the phone a lot, use a headset to avoid neck and shoulder strain.
- Keep your computer monitor about an arm’s length away from you, and make sure the screen is at eye level.
In addition to the aforementioned adjustments, you should also get up and move throughout the day. Take frequent breaks, do shoulder and arm exercises at your desk, stretch and walk around and march in place. If you type or write a lot, flex your wrists and wiggle your fingers regularly.
If you do not work at a desk, the same principles apply. Be mindful of your posture and find the most comfortable position to work in when engaging in repetitive tasks. Take frequent mini breaks, and keep your muscles and joints moving.