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RSI Prevention

Checklist for Prevention:

Getup!The most important thing to do is to get up from your desk and move around every 1/2 hour. Take your eyes off your computer screen and gaze into the far distance. Drink a glass of water. Some computers have alarm clock functions which can be set to remind you to get up. If you don't have such a function there are shareware programs you can download which will act as a timer (there are many to choose from, go to www.shareware.com and search for "timer" and you'll see a large selection of free timers you can run on your computer).  

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Sit up! Stay aware of your posture while you are sitting at your desk working and observe your attitude about task completion. It is as important to take care of the "tool", your body, as the task.

Do not eat your lunch at your desk. During your lunch break do an activity that involves physical exercise: walking, go to the gym, shopping.

Include full body stretches in your daily activity, emphasize the upper body. Stretch before you go to sleep at night.

Observe your sleeping position. Don't curl up your wrists or put your arm under your head when sleeping on your side. Make sure that you have the right pillow height for sleeping. The neck should be supported, but too many pillows will create problems as well. You want the head to rest comfortably. The neck should be in line with the rest of the spine.

Check that your work station is set up correctly. Monitor should be eye level or below eye level. New keyboards and mouse designs can help prevent strain. Feet should be placed flat on the floor.

Develop an exercise program that includes upper body strength, so that you can sit comfortably in an upright position without slouching. The program must also include exercise for flexibility, to stretch out the contracted muscles of the wrist, arm, shoulder, neck and upper back. 

If pain persists, go to a competent health-care professional who is experienced in treating carpal tunnel and repetitive stress disorders.

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(c) 2010, Ellen Serber & Daniel Will-Harris, all rights reserved. No portion of this may be duplicated without express written permission. For permission, please email

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