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Frequent Breaks
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Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
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Healthy Hints

Healthy Hints - Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

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Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition caused by long-term incorrect and repetitive use of nerves & tendons.  So when using a computer for long periods of time whether for a job or fun you may find yourself performing hundreds if not thousands of small repetitive actions.  Therefore it is important to be aware of any discomfort, particular in the hands, arms, neck or back as these may be an indication of RSI that requires professional medical advice.

Symptoms of RSI can include:

  • pain or tenderness in muscles or joints
  • cramp
  • swelling
  • tingling, throbbing or numbness
  • stiffness
  • weakness

However, there are certain actions you can take that may reduce the chance of this becoming a problem.

The information displayed here should not be considered as official advice but is rather a generalization of recommendations from around the World.
IMPORTANT: If you feel that you may be experiencing any health issues you should always seek advice from a health professional such as a doctor or optician.

Frequent Breaks

Frequent Breaks

Try to take frequent breaks from your computer work.  This will give your body time to recover from being in a static posture.  More information about the benefits of taking frequent breaks is available here.

Keyboard Wrist Rest

Typing Technique & Products

When using the keyboard it is recommended that you keep your wrists in line with your forearm.  Adopting the touch-typing technique can also help to minimize your hand movements.  Products are also available that can help from keyboard and mouse wrist rests to ergonomic keyboards.

Touch Screen

Alternative Input Devices

There are number of alternatives to using a standard keyboard and mouse that can help change which muscles and tendons you use.

  • Speech Recognition Software

    Although probably not suited to busy offices, speech recognition can be used to either enter text or to control the computer and thus reduce mouse and keyboard usage.

    This ability is even available free in popular editions of Windows:

    Windows 7 & Windows Vista, can be found under:
    All Programs » Accessories » Ease of Access » Windows Speech Recognition.

    Windows 8, can be found under:
    All Apps » Windows Ease of Access » Windows Speech Recognition.

  • Alternatives to the Mouse

    Switching to a different pointing device can result in using different muscles and tendons and thus may give those currently being used a rest.  Such alternatives include trackball, track pad and touch screen.  Some computer mice also have additional side buttons; consider re-assigned their actions to perform left and right clicks thus changing which fingers are used.


Switching Tasks

If your job relies on performing different tasks, try not spending too long performing any particular one.  Instead, try varying your activities, preferably with non-computer related tasks, such as paperwork, discussing work topics with fellow colleagues or tidying your work area.

Automating Tasks

Automating Tasks & Shortcuts

By automating even the smallest computer actions, you can reduce the number of mouse and keyboard clicks while also becoming more productive.  Such automated tasks can include:

  • Browser Favorites
    Creating Web Browser favorites or using its history avoids having to re-enter the web address or search term of frequently visited sites.  This is also useful for avoiding typos that can result in going to the wrong and sometimes malicious places on the Internet.
  • Macro Recorders
    Office based programs such as Word Processors and Spreadsheets usually offer the ability to create Macros or record keystrokes.  These can then be used to perform multiple or repetitive tasks at the push of far fewer buttons.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
    Most Windows programs support standard keyboard shortcuts for common tasks.  Below is a list of the more common ones.  For a full list see Windows Help on Keyboard Shortcuts.
    Ctrl + aSelect all text and objects within a window
    Ctrl + cCopy selected items to the Windows Clipboard
    Ctrl + vPaste items from the Windows Clipboard
    Ctrl + xCut selected items & copy to the Windows Clipboard
    Ctrl + zUndo last action
    Ctrl + yRedo last undone action
    Ctrl + sSave document
    Ctrl + Left  or  Ctrl + RightJump cursor left or right one word
    Ctrl + Home  or  Ctrl + EndJump to the start or end of the document
    Windows Key + eOpen Windows File Explore
    Windows Key + fSearch the computer for a file or folder
    Windows Key + lLock the Computer
    Windows Key + mMinimize all windows and display the desktop
    Windows Key + +Zoom Windows
    Alt + TabSwitch between open application windows
    Tab  or  Shift + TabMove to next or previous control within a window
    Alt + underline letterAction corresponding menu or Windows control

    Windows 8 Specific:

    Windows Key + cDisplay Windows Charm icons panel
    Windows Key + iDisplay Change PC Settings panel
    Windows Key + wDisplay search settings panel
    Windows Key + xDisplay useful administrative tasks menu. Includes Control Panel
  • Program Shortcuts
    For those Windows programs you use frequently, you can place additional shortcuts that are quicker to access or even associated them with a keyboard shortcut. 
    To do this, find the application's existing entry from the Start Menu's, All Programs section and right-click it.  This will bring up a menu of possible actions that include:
    • Send To » Desktop - Adds a shortcut on your desktop
    • Pin to Start Menu - Adds a shortcut at the top of the Start Menu
    • Pin to Taskbar - Adds a shortcut on the Windows Taskbar (Windows 7 & 8)
    • Properties - For specifying a 'Shortcut key', E.g. Ctrl+Alt+d for My Documents
       Creating a My Documents Keyboard Shortcut 
      To set this up:
      1. Create a shortcut to your My Documents
        From the Start Menu, right-click the Documents entry and select Send to » Desktop.
      2. Assign the Desktop Shortcut a Keyboard Shortcut
        Right-click the new desktop shortcut, select Properties and specify the Shortcut key.
      3. Desktop Tidy-up
        You can move this shortcut elsewhere, for instance, right-click on All Programs » Accessories and select Open.  Now drag-and-drop the desktop shortcut to this folder.

CyberFlair Healthy Hints
If you are wish to know more about the CyberFlair Healthy Hints product, check out:
   » The product's features page.
   » The product's online help topics.

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Their inclusion does not imply any endorsement.


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