Shoulder blade pain basically means you have AMT, since there is no other RSI condition that has this symptom as far as I know – get the information about this from my website. The good news is this is very treatable, I am basically recovered after fairly bad RSI a few years back. I don’t seem to have any serious damage in my arms, though there is some lingering post-RSI aching if I do more than 8 hours typing a day without enough breaks and rest.
Comment 1: I had read your AMT info and thought this seemed a likely “diagnosis”. I have benefited greatly from Alexander Technique – which most of the time (ie when I remember to apply what I have learned) solves the problem. That is, I experience only low level pain occasionally. However, I did have a bad “attack” a couple of months ago – due to pressure of work – a lot of word processing to be done to a tight deadline involving lots of tracker ball work. I forgot to take breaks – got too intensely involved in the work – did NOT apply the AT – and suffered a “relapse”. Since then I have used my tracker ball two handed – left to roll and right to click. Also paid attention to the lessons from AT and taken breaks more regularly. However, in consultation with our Health & Safety advisor I have decided to go for a voice control system (when I get my new Pentium) which will probably be Dragon Dictate for Windows because as far as I can discover this is the only package which offers good “mouse” control.
This seems to offer a long term benefit by greatly reducing (I hope!) the need to use a pointing device. I would welcome comments as to whether the latest version of DD does give good mousing? Any other voice recognition software which can do this too? Any human-friendly pointing devices? (I found someone had already invented the foot mouse I have always dreamed of making my million from!) Is a joystick any good? Some laptops now have touch sensitive panels – are these any good? Are they available as “stand-alone” devices to be plugged into a PC?
Comment 2: I don’t use DD myself, but if you join the voice-users email list, details appended, you should find out a lot more about this. I believe the DD is not so much for ‘data’ mousing (e.g. clicking hypertext links, selecting text) as better at giving menu and other commands, which is a big part of mouse usage typically. Some people prefer trackballs, e.g. Kensington and Logitech’s, which are meant to be quite good; switching mouse hands can give temporary relief. There are foot switches available that at least let you avoid clicking with the fingers, but they are hard to find I think. You can get standalone touch panels for any PC, Cirque Glidepoint make them I think. They also do a not very ergonomic keyboard with built in panel.