Mobile devices, Planets and the Human Condition

The Geeks Worst Nightmare...

, posted: 13-Sep-2006 14:42

You may have guessed what I am talking about, or you may think this is going to be some sort of humour.

Unfortunately what I am writing about today is very scary and very real.

There are various incarnations of it, and it comes in a number of different forms,

They are quite often given the same label though: RSI

R.S.I. – Repetitive Strain Injury covers:

o Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

o Tendonitis


The Medline Plus online Medical dictionary defines RSI as:

Any of the various musculoskeletal disorders (such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis) that are caused by cumulative damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves or joints (as of the hand, wrist, arm, or shoulder) from highly repetitive movements and that are characterized chiefly by pain, weakness, and loss of feeling -- called cumulative trauma disorder, repetitive motion injury, repetitive stress injury, repetitive stress syndrome, rsi.

For me, and many of you like me these are some of the scariest things to think about, we all joke about it on the odd occasion, but how seriously do you take the safety of your hands, wrists and fingers?

I have mentioned these things before, in my article "Why are you still using Qwerty?" and the question remains, why ARE you still using qwerty?

The reason they are scary is because many of us use a computer all day, at our jobs, earning a living, but we then finish our jobs and come home and continue using the computer.

A serious case of RSI could halt all that in its tracks and make a whole lot else in life a lot more difficult.

We are talking about easy day to day tasks.

I am a wee bit adverse to referring to the problems faced as RSI or OOS, as neither of these are the actual problem, as they are descriptive rather than diagnostic terms, which are used to cover a range of different problems and disorders.

Some of The Risk Factors:

The following is a combined list from a number of sources (references at the end of this entry)

· Poor work organization

· Environmental Stress, Time Pressures, management Styles

· Psychological Factors

· Awkward or Constrained Postures / faulty ergonomics

· Monotony

· Forceful Holding and Movements

· Mental Demands

· Cold, Vibration, Local mechanical Stresses

The Signs and Symptoms

· Aching pain in muscles and tendons

· Nerve pain (pain radiating along nerve pathways)

· Muscle spasms

· Weakness and Stiffness

· Numbness and tingling

· Burning Pain

· Hot or Cold feelings.

Associated symptoms may include: tiredness, headaches, anxiety and loss of concentration.

Different sorts of OOS

1. Localised inflammatory conditions

a. Tendonitis / tenosynovitis,

i. Tendonitis is an inflammatory condition characterized by pain at tendinous insertions into bone.

b. trigger finger,

i. A trigger finger is a common problem that causes pain and catching. Tendons that help bend the fingers and thumb slide through a snug tunnel. Irritation as the tendons slip into the tunnel can cause the opening of the tunnel to become smaller, or the tendon to thicken so that it can't easily pass through the tunnel. As you try to straighten the finger, the tendon becomes momentarily stuck at the mouth of the tunnel then pops as the tendon slips past the tight area. This can cause pain and catching as you try to move the finger

c. rotator cuff syndrome,

i. Effectively pain in the shoulders – plenty of info via google.

d. bursitis,

i. Bursitis occurs when a bursa becomes inflamed. When inflammation occurs, movement or pressure is painful.

e. Epicondylitis

i. Such as golfers elbow, or tennis elbow.

2. Compression Syndromes

a. Carpal tunnel

i. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. The carpal tunnel - a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand ¾ houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm. Although painful sensations may indicate other conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common and widely known of the entrapment neuropathies in which the body's peripheral nerves are compressed or traumatized.

b. Ulnar nerve compression

i. Ulnar nerve entrapment occurs when one of the nerves in the arm (the ulnar nerve) becomes compressed and can't function normally. This can give symptoms of "falling asleep" in the ring finger and little finger

c. Radial nerve compression

i. Radial nerve dysfunction involves impaired movement or sensation of the back of the arm (triceps), the forearm, or the hand caused by damage to the radial nerve.

3. Pain Syndromes

a. Chronic pain syndrome

i. CPS is a constellation of syndromes that usually do not respond to the medical model of care.

b. Fibromyalgia

i. The main symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread pain and profound fatigue

Now, he Most Important part – Prevention:

· Switch to Dvorak

· Type using a natural position

· Don’t pound on the keyboard, use light presses

· Use both hands to perform double key operations like CTRL+C

· Get a decent keyboard

o One that slopes away from you.

· Use a decent mouse, careful with your postures and avoid using it for minor tasks where a keyboard shortcut will suffice.

· Hold the mouse lightly

o Make sure you don’t have to reach far to use it.

· Take regular breaks

· Switch to Dvorak

· Sit up straight

· Eat vegetables, fruits and maintain a good diet.

· Exercise

· Get a good seat. (I’ll cover the ergonomics and quirks of seats at another time)

· Keep your arms and hands warm

· Don’t tuck the phone between your shoulder and ear.

· Pay attention to your body, and listen to it.


There is a whole lot more info available on the web on how you can prevent it, what the symptoms are and what to do about it.

Why am I writing about it?

Because it is a very real and very definite hazard to the computer industry - and it will only become more devastating to have one of these industry, as computers become more and more widespread, having an injury like this could mean more than pain and frustration, it could be debilitating and cause you to become next to unemployable, and until the braingate is much further ahead – or – voice recognition gets a lot better than it is, your hands are still the best computer input device there is.

So look after them, and they’ll look after you.

More information

Other related posts:
What Keyboard layout do you use?
Optimus Maximus, OLED Keyboard release announced.
Thought powered game controller - Emotiv releases a "mindreader"

Comment by anna, on 13-Sep-2006 15:46

Jesus, the least you could do is use regular LI bullets instead of having this all over your page: [if !supportLists]· [endif]. I'm in a regular IE6 browser and this page looks like crap.

Comment by anna, on 13-Sep-2006 15:48

Jesus, the least you could do is use regular LI bullets instead of having this all over your page: [if !supportLists]· [endif]. I'm in a regular IE6 browser and this page looks like crap.

Author's note by inane, on 13-Sep-2006 16:25

My Apologies
It looks fine in Firefox

Comment by juha, on 13-Sep-2006 20:52

No, it looks terrible in Firefox (2.0 beta 2).

Anyway, RSI: try two things. One, exercise more lifting weights in particular. Two, take regular breaks.

Author's note by inane, on 14-Sep-2006 07:34

that better?

Author's note by inane, on 14-Sep-2006 11:44

MY GOD! THATS UGLY! AAAAHHH /ME runs off to repair the damage done.

Author's note by inane, on 14-Sep-2006 12:03

someone please tell me this is now fixed.

Comment by KJ, on 14-Sep-2006 12:54

Much better

Comment by freitasm, on 14-Sep-2006 12:55

Much better - except that there are blockquotes there (hence the quote background and different font used). Other than this, we can read it now!


inane's profile

New Zealand

I'm a professional Geek, and also in my own time, I am likely to write about all manner of things on this blog.
Of late I haven't updated this place much, but I need to do some revamping and dust off the cobwebs a bit. so thats what I'll do. going to aim for a minimum of three times a week updated here to begin, then perhaps head towards every day!

Who knows! 

but for now I hope you enjoy what you read, and that I aid the constant novelty and stimulus to your brain that the internet provides us all, in a way nothing else can!

I am likely to comment on everything here, but my current topics of choice are

*Mobile Devices
*general and specific ramblings
*Dvorak Keyboard

Mobile devices and more

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

^^ lol don't know what that is!

Recommended Reading

- Thought Powered Game Controller - Braingate - Technology to read your mind! - Bugatti Veyron top speed (Video) - Top Secret Classified Study - Colossal Squid Caught - How to Dump an HTC Apache ROM - how to dump an HTC Harrier Rom - Unlocking Apache Extended Rom part 1 - Unlocking Apache Extended Rom Part 2

My most active entries

How to Dump an HTC Apache ROM ...
(20-Aug-2006 17:38, 33918 views)
iGoogle? new look to googles ...
(2-May-2007 11:04, 31066 views)
How to easily obtain a list of...
(21-Feb-2007 11:35, 27891 views)
Velociraptor was a Turkey!?...
(24-Sep-2007 12:46, 25793 views)
Gamo PT-80 Pistol....
(12-Jun-2007 22:10, 25306 views)
Google Chrome; download and ch...
(3-Sep-2008 08:25, 23015 views)
High powered rifles, no licenc...
(13-Oct-2008 20:24, 22565 views)
Unlocking your Extended Rom PA...
(4-Jul-2006 09:29, 22544 views)
Guide to unlocking the Apache ...
(29-Jun-2006 12:24, 22051 views)
Pyramids at Giza vs. Pyramids ...
(28-Dec-2006 12:30, 18997 views)

You Tube !

Site Meter