Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Menial Epicondilitis, Tendinitis, Cumulative Trauma Disorder – they’re all repetitive strain injuries and they all sound menacing, but really they’re just a function of the human body not being well-equipped for modern living.
I was diagnosed with a whole host of RSIs in 1997 and spent the better (or worse, as the case really was) of five years relearning how to do things like type, drive, and drink (not together, of course). And once I got a little better, I spent 2 years researching RSI and ergonomics and building a company (bcomfy.com – put indefinitely on hold for a couple of reasons) to help people and companies respond to the dangers of computer-related injuries.
During that time, I found some good resources for RSI and the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sadly reminded how important it is that people be able to find these resources. As a new mom, I’m meeting more women who suffer from CTS, tendinitis, etc. and it’s heartbreaking to see people who can’t even pick up their kids. So for anyone and everyone who may be concerned about ergonomic injuries, don’t waste time. Get help – and make sure it’s the right help.
Top priority is the best doctor possible. I know of several really good ones now, so don’t hesitate to ask. Second priority is a good physical therapist. And from there, massage therapists, chiropractors, nutritionists, and personal trainers can be incredibly helpful as well as occupational and psychological counselors. Trying out a variety of keyboards, headsets, chairs and pointing devices can make a world of difference as well. I could write a book on this subject and maybe someday I will, but for now, I’ll recommend three: Repetitive Strain Injury, by Dr. Emil Pascarelli & Deborah Quilter, The Repetitive Strain Injury Recovery Book, also by Deborah Quilter, and Computer-Related Syndrome, by Dr. Richard Dean Smith & Steven Garske.
Many of the resources I found while doing my research are in a box somewhere, but for now, here are some good places to start: Working Well, Typing Injury FAQ, ErgoWeb, Office-Ergo, and University of Michigan Center for Ergonomics.