Question: Errrrr…. don’t really know what to say.. My wrist has been aching for months while using my mouse and keyboard at work but I haven’t really thought about it. In the last week though it has become more painful whilst using a pc and also at other times. I went to my GP who said it was RSI in my wrist and arm and that I should take it easy for a bit, take ibuprofen and use ice in the evening and go back in two weeks if it’s not better. The main problem is how do I take it easy at work without annoying my boss, I certainly don’t want to get fired and also I’ve heard that using it whilst it hurts is bad and not to let it get worse! Is my GP’s advice good or what… Maybe It isn’t really really painful, but I don’t want it to get like that! Any advice, just really welcome.
Answer 1: Prevention is definitely better than cure. I have diffuse rsi in hands/arm/neck/back/shoulders – chronic rather than acute – and worry about what my boss thinks etc when I am taking it easy, but you really must put your health first. I didn’t and it got worse. Maybe you should discuss the problem with your employer (if you haven’t already)? You do have rights, and you should find out what they are asap, then you will feel like you have more leverage and won’t worry so much about what your boss thinks.
Answer 2: Your symptoms sound quite similar to mine — it sounds like you have caught the problem at a relatively early stage, but you are certainly right to be concerned that it should not get any worse. As for your employer, while no employer is going to be ecstatic about the position, your employer does have health and safety responsibilities towards you, and if it refuses to listen to you and causes the problem to get worse than it could even be open to legal action. You should seek to speak to your employer as soon as possible — I found it helpful to accentuate the positive, emphasising that the problem was at an early stage and that it was a question of “nipping it in the bud”.
Possibly the most important thing to do to avoid further injuries is to ensure that your computer is set up correctly. Any book on RSI (see below) will give advice on this. My employer provided me with a monitor stand so that I could have the monitor in front of me rather than off to one side; a trackball to use rather than a mouse; an ergonomic keyboard; and a proper office chair which properly complies with H&S requirements. I also have voice-recognition software on my computer: I use IBM ViaVoice, though many people on this list also use Dragon voice-recognition software. One thing I did find when I first got diagnosed was that in addition to RSI I began to suffer from information overload! I have found this list probably the most consistently useful source of information, and would also recommend
the following books:
Coping Successfully with RSI by Maggie Black & Penny Gray (Sheldon, ISBN
0-85969-811-4): General overview/advice, v helpful, UK perspective
Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Repetitive Strain Injuries by
Sharon J. Butler (ISBN 1-57224-039-3, US book, I got it from amazon.co.uk,
none of the other online or bricks-and-mortar bookshops I tried seemed to have it): this has lots of useful stretching exercises to help reduce/prevent symptoms.
Answer 3: Hi, yes it can getworse if you do not take your Doctor’s advice, so if it hurts stop and take a break after all it’s your body not your bosses. one thing that I have recently found and tried is RSI Guard, which is a software programme that makes you take breaks depending on the type of work you are doing (you set the settings) and you can find it at http://www.rsiguard.com/ and it is shareware. Give it a try.