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Tips for Preventing RSI: Repetitive Strain Injuries

Tips for Preventing RSI at Your Desk | Walnut Creek MassageRepetitive strain injury (RSI) (also known as repetitive stress injury), is often caused by repetitive motions at work, especially for people who work at a desk and use a computer all day.

Here are tips to relieving repetitive strain at your desk:

1. Decrease Repetitive Tasks

Can you rotate your day’s activities or even rotate roles with your co-workers? Switching to different tasks allow you to use different muscles and decrease the strain to the same set of muscles you usually use every day.

2. Decrease Computer time

Can you cut back time at your computer? Can you use a program like Dragon Naturally Speaking and dictate your documents without having to type? Can you decrease your recreational computer usage so your body can rest during your off-hours?

3. Improve Your Desk Ergonomics

A better workplace design can prevent poor posture, overreaching for our mouse or keyboard or viewing your monitor at awkward angles.

4. Stretch!

Every time you complete a task, take two minutes to stretch your wrists, forearms and your neck. Circle your shoulders foward, up toward your ears and back.

5. Mini-Breaks

Every hour take a five to ten-minute break. Walk to the other side of your office and get a glass of water. Or take a quick break outside and walk around your building. When you get back you’ll feel refreshed and focused for the next hour.

6. Breathe!

Remember to take deep breaths throughout the day. Imagine breathing into your arms, neck and shoulders. Be mindful of where you hold tension and imagine your muscles letting go with each exhale.

These steps can help you feel flexible and relaxed, even as you work, and help prevent repetitive stress injuries.

Tips to Save Your Neck and Shoulders

Massage for Neck Pain If you have pain or discomfort in your neck and shoulders, try these tips at work to reduce pain and prevent possible injury. Try these out and see which ones you like. Then focus on those for a week or two until they become habit. After mastering those, you may want to add another “good” habit.

1. The keyboard should be close enough to you that you don’t have to stretch forward to reach the keys.

2. Avoid reaching far forward or twisting behind you to reach for things. Stand up, or turn and move close to the article you need.

3. Your mouse should be close to the keyboard where you don’t have to reach to use it.

4. Keep your upper arms close to your sides, hanging straight down. Let your shoulders remain relaxed, not rigid.

5. Keep your head aligned with your spine. Relax your neck and imagine your head floating toward the ceiling.

6. Don’t forget to take frequent rest and stretching breaks.

Tips to Save Your Wrists

If you are having trouble with pain or discomfort in your wrist area, consult a physician or ask a massage therapist help you assess if muscle tension is contributing to the pain.

If you work at a desk, you may want to look at your work set-up and use these suggestions to reduce pain and avoid more serious injury. If your company has an ergonomics department, ask them to help you change your work station and body posture to work more safely.

1. Your keyboard height should ensure that your wrists are  straight and level, never bent back. If you can’t adjust your table height to accommodate this, you may want to move the keyboard into your lap.

2. When typing or using a mouse, your wrists should not rest on anything, and should not be bent up, down, or to the sides. Keep your hands relaxed hovering slightly over the keyboard and the middle knuckle aligned with the center of the wrist.

3. Move your hands using your whole arms instead of resting your wrists on something, and stretching your fingers to hit the keys. Move your hand to hit function keys instead of stretching to reach them. This may take some getting used to, but can help a great deal in preventing pain and injury.

REST AND STRETCHING

When you stop typing for awhile, rest your hands in your lap or let your arms hang to your sides. Take a moment to shake them out and  enjoy the refreshed energy moving through them.

It may make a big difference if you take breaks to stretch. Bend your wrists forward and backward and circle them in both directions. Make tight fists and relax them 10-20 times. Ask your massage therapist for stretches specifically for the forearms. Set up a reminder chime on your computer or some other reminder to take frequent stretching breaks.

RESOURCE
Repetitive Strain Injury: A Computer User’s Guide. Pascarelli, Emil
M.D., John Wiley and Sons, 1994.


Loosen Up Bodywork provides the highest quality service by educating our clients on how to best utilize our services and products that are available. We have multiple online resources and our phones are answered by our therapists so you can always reach a trained professional to answer your questions.

Our goal is to empower our clients to take charge of their own health and wellbeing. With our therapists vast knowledge in various natural health treatments, we can assist you in finding the best modalities to match your unique body.

Visit our services page to see how we can partner in cultivating health and wellness in to your life @ http://loosenupbodywork.com/services/massage/

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Positioning Yourself at Your Desk

First, make sure your workstation is set up correctly.

Here’s a checklist.

1. Your chair and keyboard should be set so that the thighs and
forearms are parallel to the floor.

2. The keyboard height should ensure that the wrists are straight
and level.

3. The keyboard should be close enough that you don’t have to
stretch forward to reach the keys.

4. The mouse should be close to the keyboard where you don’t have
to reach to use it.

Now check your body position.

1. Keep your hip, knee, and ankle joints open slightly (90 degrees
or more).

2. Keep your head aligned with your spine.

3. Keep your upper arms close to your sides, hanging straight
down.

4. When typing, your wrists should be relaxed, not be bent up,
down, or to the sides.

RESOURCES
Repetitive Strain Injury: A Computer User’s Guide. Pascarelli, Emil
M.D., John Wiley and Sons, 1994.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website:
www.ccohs.ca/oshaanswers/ergonomics/sitting/sitting_position.html


Loosen Up Bodywork provides the highest quality service by educating our clients on how to best utilize our services and products that are available. We have multiple online resources and our phones are answered by our therapists so you can always reach a trained professional to answer your questions.

Our goal is to empower our clients to take charge of their own health and wellbeing. With our therapists vast knowledge in various natural health treatments, we can assist you in finding the best modalities to match your unique body.

Visit our services page to see how we can partner in cultivating health and wellness in to your life @ http://loosenupbodywork.com/services/massage/

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stretch At Your Desk

Business life

 

Try these to reduce tension and discomfort at work. Stretch only to a comfortable level, not to pain.

 

If you feel any of these movements are difficult because of tension, let your massage therapist know you would like to work on releasing that area at your next session. If you have intense pain with any of these stretches, discontinue them until you discuss them with your physician.

 

1. For neck tension, drop your chin to your chest as you exhale. Inhale and very slowly let your right ear drop to your right shoulder. Exhale and roll your chin to your chest. Inhale and roll your left ear to your left shoulder. Exhale and return to the chest. Continue these movements, slowly and easily, for several minutes. Note: Many yoga and other exercise instructors advise people to avoid rolling the head behind the shoulders.

 

2. To stretch your whole spine, raise your arms over your head. Stretch your right arm toward the ceiling, hold and relax. Then repeat with your left arm. Breathe slowly, exhaling completely as you stretch. Repeat several times. If you have high blood pressure, skip this one.

 

3. For joint mobility, stretch one leg in front of you and roll your ankle in circles, both directions. Repeat on the other side. Then, with your arms at your sides, roll your wrists one way, then the other.

 

4. As if you had a piece of tape stuck to your fingers, shake your arms and hands vigorously to get it off. Shake for 30 seconds and feel the energy move through your limbs.

 

5. For upper body tension, clasp your hands behind your head with your elbows to the side. Exhale and very slowly twist your head and torso to the right. Hold for a moment, inhale and turn back to center. Then exhale, turn to the left, and return to center. Repeat 5 times each direction, up to 3 times a day.

 

6. To ease back tension, push your chair away from the desk. Stretch both arms forward and rest your hands on the desk. Exhale and lower your head while arching your back. Relax for a moment with your head down, then inhale and raise your head and chest, arching your back in the other direction. Stretch several times this way, breathing slowly and completely.

 


Loosen Up Bodywork provides the highest quality service by educating our clients on how to best utilize our services and products that are available. We have multiple online resources and our phones are answered by our therapists so you can always reach a trained professional to answer your questions.

Our goal is to empower our clients to take charge of their own health and wellbeing. With our therapists vast knowledge in various natural health treatments, we can assist you in finding the best modalities to match your unique body.

Visit our services page to see how we can partner in cultivating health and wellness in to your life @ http://loosenupbodywork.com/services/massage/