My personal experience of RSI began with a project that had a 3 month time frame, basically I was using the computer for 2 hours more per day than usual and not getting up from my desk as regularly as I normally did. The first sign of anything going amiss was aching in the wrist, then an occasional sharp pain. My thinking was, the project will be over in a couple of months and things will go back to normal, however the sharper pain came more often and my wrists and forearms were aching at night. This kept going on even after the project finished and got to the point where it was painful just to hold the steering wheel in the car.
I didn't want to go down the track of operations or injections, at the time there was not a huge amount of information available on how to deal with it, so here is what I did and it worked for me.
I did all of these simultaneously and they all aided my recovery in some way.
Taking breaks, I took a break for about a minute or 2 every 20 minutes to half an hour and did a number of exercises for the hands, wrists fingers etc - some of which can be found here: Office Stretch Exercises.
Exercise - There is also a very good book which details these and many more exercises very well entitled Conquering Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, I must have ordered about 10 different books on RSI and this was by far the most useful and practical, in fact the only one I kept.
RSIGuard is a stretchbreak software that I also installed and used to ensure I took those regular breaks, this was an interesting experience. Logically this makes sense, you get a reminder to take a break and some exercise options pop up on screen. It was obvious that this was a good thing for my wellbeing, however there was a tendency to disregard "time to take a break" message and just finish off the current thing I was working on. It took quite a bit of willpower to overcome this tendency and actually take the mini breaks, which ultimately proved very beneficial.
Mouse - The other item that proved a life saver was the 3M ergonomic Mouse, it was the only vertical mouse available at the time, now there are many and the best amongst them is the Evoluent vertical mouse. Vertical mice take the strain off the wrist by putting your hand in a natural handshake position.
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