Repetitive Strain Injuries occur from repeated physical movements doing damage to tendons, nerves, muscles, and other soft body tissues. Occupations ranging from musicians to hairdressers have characteristic RSIs that can result from the repetitive nature of the tasks they perform. As more work, education and recreation involves computers, there has been an epidemic of injuries of the hands, arms, shoulders, backs and neck's. Thousands of repeated keystrokes and long periods of clutching and dragging with the mouse accumulates damage to the body, especially if we adopt a poor posture which can place unnecessary stress on the tendons and nerves in the hand, wrist, arms, and even the shoulders and neck. The amount of time we spend in one position, lack of adequate rest and breaks will invariably result in injury.
The symptoms can include any of the following: Tightness, discomfort, stiffness, soreness or burning in the hands, wrists, fingers, forearms, or elbows Tingling, coldness, or numbness in the hands Feeling a need to massage your hands, wrists, and arms
Prevention and Recovery
Good work habits which include correct typing technique and posture as well as the right equipment is essential in any prevention setup. Hold the mouse lightly, don't grip it hard or squeeze it, use a light touch on the keyboard, don't hammer those keys. Take lots of regular breaks away from your computer, and be aware of what your body is telling you. Ergonomics Now offers trainings and courses specifically addressing these issues see Ergonomic Assessments page.
From the BBC - Health
"As many of us spend more and more time in front of computers, the chances of developing repetitive strain injury (RSI) increase. For some people, the pain of RSI is so great that it prevents them from working at all. However, it doesn't develop overnight, so by always remembering that prevention is better than a cure, problems can often be avoided in the first place."