Do you have any experience with R.S.I. and some general tips you could share?
Thanks a lot,
I have some personal experience with RSI.
About a decade ago I had some serious RSI complaints.
Most important I learned from that period was to avoid stress as much as possible. It makes you work (sit) in the wrong way, causing additional stress to muscles in the shoulder. Also working in the same position too long makes things worse.
About a year ago I got some complaints again.
Reason was partial related to stress and the rest sitting at my desk wrong. Got a better chair which solved the problem for 90%. I knew it could not have been stress alone since I only had the shoulder problems at home, not at work. Still stress contributed.
About two weeks ago I had a mild shoulder problem. Reason was that I spend too much time at my computer at home. Not much stress involved here.
If you ask me what to do about RSI I'd say:
1. Make sure to reduce stress as much as possible. Think you cannot reduce anymore? Try harder, much harder. I think stress contributes at least 50% when talking about RSI.
2. Make sure you have good equipment if you work long days. Chair, desk and such, make sure they fit right and you are in a position that your muscles can relax.
3. Walk around every once in a while. At work I leave my desk at least once an hour and often more frequent. At home I try to do the same, when I don't and sit at my desk for over 2 hours I know I get some problems.
4. When you need to be at your desk make sure to change position (posture I think it's called) often. A good chair helps a lot here is my experience.
5. In case of my shoulder problem I know this originates in my lower back.
Took me a while to figure out though. So when you have pain in a place try to look for the real origin. I had wrist problems in the past that came from my upper arm and shoulder.
That's about it.
Just make sure you take things serious, I spend several months with shoulder problems last time because I didn't and reacted too late.
Well...pretty much everything the_jos said.
I have Carpel Tunnel Syndrom in both wrists besides having RSI my shoulders down to my fingers and I always feel better when I get the areas where the problems occur massaged. It doesn't have to be a professional massage, but massaging it myself or asking a family member to gently massage it also relieves stress from those muscles.
Just make sure to listen to your body. Does it start to hurt? Stop immediately and rest.
If you're getting it from using a mouse, you can try this mouse. I started getting RSI in my wrist for a few months, but then I bought that mouse and it fixed it almost immediately. The mouse is fine for everyday computer use, but it's hard to do precise movements with it, so anytime I'm doing something that requires precise movement I just use my Wacom tablet.
Also, if you're getting RSI in your wrist, don't switch the mouse to your other hand. I did that and ended up getting RSI in both my wrists!
I read somewhere that doing hand exercises can help. Like using a hand gripper and these hand bands.
I would also use ice ten minutes on and ten off, ice works both ways, it freezes and when your thawing it brings all of the blood to the area that you iced so then it warms the area, very good. I would also ace bandage the area to add support and comfort so it can heal. Feel better and sorry that sucks!
The exercises sound good but ice after and rest the area.
I have RSI problems with my hands and wrists and this is what helped me:
- I quit all the hobbies that weren't vitally important to me that made the problem worse (ie: MMOs)
- I got wrist-rests for my keyboard and mouse, and started using my tablet for more things
- I changed my desk setup to be more comfortable. I went though three chairs before I discovered that a $5 folding chair was perfect.
- stopped using my laptop as much
- I downloaded RSI software (Workrave, xrits) and set it to give me 30-second breaks every 5-10 minutes and 10-minute breaks every 45 minutes. 30 seconds is just right for sitting up and doing a couple of stretches.
- I figured out which media were easier on my wrists and did less work using the ones that were more painful.
Best thing I ever did was use my Wacom for 95% of everything I do on my PC... from 2D to 3D. I had pain in my wrist AND my index finger from mouse clicking so much. Now all of that is gone since I've switched almost 5 years ago. And just to reiterate what everyone else has said, you have to be sitting properly, not slouching forward or backwards.
You shouldn't have tension in your shoulders from having your desk too high/chair too low, and one important thing is to have your monitors up at eye level, which forces your back to straighten.
And getting a footrest to put my feet on to elevate them just a bit helps posture tremendously as well. It could be anything, from on old box to your dog
if you've got an old wacom with bad pressure sensitivity, upgrade to something more recent, and play with the response curve until you find something that will respond 100% without applying the pressure you're currently working with. Just the latter if you've already got a new wacom.
I use a powerball. Its a gyroscopic exercize gizmo that helps build strenght in your arms. It also looses up the hand after gripping it for extended periods of time. (If you install a program like workrave and do 1 minute of powerballing every 15 minutes your wrist won't lock into that tight grip for hours.)
If you use your writing hand for the mouse, switch to your off hand. It helps a lot to cultivate ambidexterity. I can now play my MMOs with my left on the mouse and my right on the keyboard. And I use my right almost exclusively for drawing.
Do wrist curls. Exercise is good.
See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUyMNyrOHJQ
Hi, a chair with armrest and a keyboard tray (with adjustable height) is quite useful, keeping the keyboard height close to the one of the armrest.
I cram a small wacom and a small keyboard (without numpad) on such a tray for overall daily use. A 9x12 also fits when painting more intensely.
Having your arms not too much apart is also good.
As mentioned, take breaks!