Any other programmers out there?

Question: I’ve just recently joined this list and was wondering if there are any others on it who are software developers with RSI. If so, would you be willing to share your experiences and strategies for coping with it?  My own situation is that I first started getting pain in my fingers and wrists whilst using computers four years ago, whilst I was still at university.I visited the student medical practice and the doctor there was sympathetic, but only advised that I take one ibuprofen a day if I knew I was going to be doing a lot of computer-based work or if I started to have pain.

Since then it’s not been too much of a problem – by Friday of each week my hands would start to ache, but they’d be fine again on Monday. More recently I’ve started having more regular and often more intense pain and have consequently found out more about the condition and realized that that there are things that can be done about it other than just numbing the pain.I’ve just converted my keyboard to Dvorak layout (so typing is extremely slow at present, which is helping with my current symptoms) and I’m going to go and see my GP about it.

I’ve thought about voice recognition software, but am not convinced that it’ll be useful considering that much of my typing is in programming languages rather than in English.  Has anyone in a similar situation got any ideas?

Answer: Your symptoms and their development are familiar. At first my strange sensations in my arms would go away over night and return by the end of the following day. Then after a long spell of constant typing my condition worsened 2 become a constant feature of my life.  I am a programmer and use mainly FORTRAN and matlab 4 my purposes. I work on a Macintosh and use software 2 access workstations such as SUNS and SILICON GRAPHICS. I use voice power pro by dragon systems (who also make naturally speaking).

With this voice recognition software you can create text macros for any command you might use in your programming language.  I am not aware of voice recognition software for direct use on workstations.I also use a Logitech marble trackball mouse to speed up operations. (I place de mouse on my lap and use my thumbs do move the track ball).As part of my ‘recovery treatment ‘I put ice on the affected areas such as my forearms and elbows 2 to 3 times per day for 20 minutes each time. I use large bags of frozen peas.

I find this of great help. However, I’ve heard it doesn’t work for everyone.Maybe try it and see, or ask your physio.

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