When I wrote Repetitive Strain Injury: A Computer User's Guide in the 1990s, there was a lot of confusion about what to do about Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Many of the approaches were misguided: for example, people underwent unnecessary surgeries because their doctors didn't know how to properly diagnose their conditions; RSI was often treated with splinting as though it were a broken bone, which only made matters worse. Employers would upgrade an injured person's workstation and expect that to solve the problem, but ergonomic equipment can't resolve a physical problem.
A few years after I had written my first book, it became apparent to me that people with RSI very often were forced to quit their jobs because they were so disabled they could not work. No amount of ergonomics or physical therapy could overcome the severity of their injury. Something was wrong. I wrote The Repetitive Strain Injury Recovery Book, hoping to bring this long-lasting damage to light.
Fast-forward to 2021. Although some things have improved, many people still have never heard of RSI. They go from doctor to doctor, seeking a proper diagnosis and guidance – often dismissed as having psychological problems or given a strong drug to mask the pain. Meanwhile, without expert advice on what's helpful, their condition can get considerably worse. Further, smartphones and other devices have increased the ways people can now become injured using technology.
Now, once again, I am questioning the prevailing advice about Repetitive Strain Injury. What good does it do to take breaks if you are repeatedly subjecting your hands to the same tools and workplace that injured you in the first place? The workplace set up recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is incorrect on many counts and actually puts people in a position likely to create strain.
The tools that most people work with on a daily basis also wreak havoc with the body. Input devices need to be designed to be safe for the human body. I am hopeful that eventually the public will demand safer equipment and that the public will be educated about Repetitive Strain Injury. You can't prevent an injury unless you have heard of it. This is why I have created a YouTube channel about RSI. The goal is to raise consciousness about RSI and bring the best thinking on this issue to the public, and help injure people continue to work and function. Please go to the channel, heed the expert advice – and subscribe! Let me know if you have any questions in the comment boxes below the videos.
Take care of your hands. You can't use your other pair of hands to do what you want to do.