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 for Relieving Joint & Muscle Pain & Stiffness at Your Desk

Prevent Muscle Pain & Strain at Your Desk1. Consider eliminating some of the repetitiveness of your work.

Can you rotate jobs with your fellow workers? Combined with better workplace design, this can allow you to engage different muscle groups than just your typing muscles.

Cut back your computer time if possible. This may mean reducing your recreational computer usage.

2. Don’t overlook stretching.

Take breaks to move and stretch every hour or so. Stretch your forearms by bending your wrists forward and
backward and by circling your wrists.

Stretch your neck forward and from side to side. Circle your shoulders forward, up toward your ears and back.

3. Take mini-breaks several times an hour.

Stop, let your arms hang to your side and take several full breaths.

4. Keep your arms and hands warm.

Cold muscles and tendons are more at risk for overuse injuries.

5. And, finally, imagine breathing into your arms, neck and shoulders as you work.

Rigidity is not the goal. Instead, focus on staying flexible and relaxed, even as you work.

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

Loosen Up Bodywork’s certified massage therapists specialize in deep tissue, sports massage & NMT, to provide the highest quality massage therapy for our clients. Book a massage appointment at our Pleasant Hill massage studio online or call (925) 289-9750.