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Best Mobile Computing Options For People With RSI?

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the scream-at-people-until-they-type-what-you-want dept.

Input Devices 178

gotfork writes "Several years ago I injured my wrists while typing at a poorly set up desk. I am now greatly recovered, and can work at a desktop computer for several hours each day as long as I wear wrist braces. I have avoided using laptops in the past because both TrackPoint-style pointing sticks and touchpads create a lot of strain on my wrists, but I'm ready to give it another shot. Is my best option a stylus-based convertible tablet/laptop (such as the Lenovo X series) or are there any lighter-weight devices that have ergonomic inputs?"

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Best option. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791422)

Stop using computing devices. It's not worth your health.

Hey moron... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791698)

Not that Slashdot counts as journalism, but any decent piece would define the acronym before using it. Here, it isn't defined at all. Nice one.

Re:Hey moron... (1)

Cryolithic (563545) | about 4 years ago | (#33791936)

Just about any geek should know what Repetitive Stress Injury is. More commonly incorrectly known as carpal tunnel.

Re:Hey moron... (1)

Unclenefeesa (640611) | about 4 years ago | (#33791992)

Obviously you are an outsider.

Slashdot is news for Nerds.

Nerd = hours at PC = RSI

Re:Hey moron... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33792188)

well, I thought it was going to be about Really Sucky Interfaces.

Anonymous Coward (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791426)

It takes common sense to realize you are using a "poorly set up desk". If you couldn't figure it out the first time and make the appropriate changes I'm not sure how much luck you'll have this go around at it. Everyone has a scapegoat for their own ignorance these days.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Cryolithic (563545) | about 4 years ago | (#33791944)

trollface.png "Several years ago" Just because he was ignorant once doesn't mean he would be again.

Re:Anonymous Coward (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33792040)

Perhaps, but it evokes little sympathy from me. It's like the smokers who say, "I'll deal with cancer when it comes." 40 years later, they say, "Oh my god I'm such an idiot. I'd do it all over again if I could." OP? "I know this is uncomfortable, but work needs doing! [3 years later.] I'm such an idiot. I'd do it over again if I could."

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 4 years ago | (#33792090)

"I did it. I'm glad I did it. If I had it to do over again, I'd do it over again."

A Peter Lorre character

Dasher! (2, Informative)

schmidt349 (690948) | about 4 years ago | (#33791456)

You might already get this a lot, but you should take a good long look at Dasher [cam.ac.uk] , a novel form of text input that's suitable either as a short-term or permanent replacement for the keyboard. It can be used with a variety of different input devices, basically anything that points. This includes mice, trackpads, trackballs, styli, nibs, nubs, and even IR eye movement tracking (Dr. Hawking's preferred method).

I'm a keyboard junkie and even I have to admit Dasher is pretty badass. It's like Tetris, only instead of accumulating points you write things.

iPad thoughts? (1, Redundant)

Igorod (807462) | about 4 years ago | (#33791472)

Any thoughts on an iPad? I know it's overpriced for what you get like most Apple products, but for all of that it's not too bad. Not sure how your wrists would handle the input on one though if you have issues with touchpads. It is different in the aspect of multi-touch and the various ways you could bring contact with the surface. I know Best Buys in this area have them set up to test out if you're not sure how it would do.

Re:iPad thoughts? (1)

ed (79221) | about 4 years ago | (#33792560)

An author/artist who got an iPad as part payment for his job has had his RSI confirmed, he doesn't find the iPad that wonderful as far as the RSI goes, though he loves it apart from that

keyboard and mouse combo (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791488)

I've had good success with an Asus e1000H laptop (the smallest I could reasonably comfortably type on for shortish periods) along with a goldtouch folding keyboard (gtp0055, according to the label on the back) and an Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3. For a long time I struggled to get a decent gel-based wrist rest until I gave that up and found that two (clean) business socks with half a cup of rice in each works even better ... the keyboard has a laptop-style travel and comes with slide-off covers to protect it when in your bag. The mouse is a little awkward as it's an odd shape, but otherwise all this stuff goes into a backpack daily ... I'm using these without problems under NetBSD but presumably it would also be fine under Linux or any other flavour of OS - the keyboard also has decals for Mac OSX although I've not tried it on a Mac to see if it works ...

easy enough to use kbd & mouse (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 4 years ago | (#33791500)

What are you whining about? I always use a cordless mouse with my laptop. And at times I use a full size separate keyboard too. A keyboard is rather bulky to lug around all of the time, but there is no reason that you can't keep one at home, perhaps even another at the office. A cordless mouse is a must. Buy wisely and you can add both to a laptop and use only one usb port. That basically gives you the same input capability that you already have with a desktop, but the portability and flexibility (and limitations) of a laptop.

Some lightweight mobile - with an external mouse (2, Informative)

BooleanMusic (970562) | about 4 years ago | (#33791510)

If you already suffer from an injury, I really think you want to avoid any additional risks... Ask an ergonomics expert. Most likely they would recommend a lightweight computer (to avoid shoulder injury on top), with some kind of external mouse. Maybe MS arc mouse as an example

How was it a poor setup? (1, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | about 4 years ago | (#33791524)

I've been on computers for over two decades and I can't ever say that I've had a proper setup. Everything from a hard wooden kitchen chair with a plywood tabletop with foldout metal legs that I screwed on myself to a half-decent computer desk with a cheapo leather chair. So far (knock on wood) I have yet to have any issues.

What does it take to have a setup so bad that you get RSI? A couple of bricks in front of the keyboard as wrist rests?

Re:How was it a poor setup? (1, Insightful)

gregrah (1605707) | about 4 years ago | (#33791668)

I suppose that genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices (how well you take care of yourself outside of the office) would likely play a large part in determining who develops RSI and who doesn't. As such, a "poor setup" is probably relative to the person who is using it.

my RSI analogy (5, Informative)

nido (102070) | about 4 years ago | (#33791682)

What does it take to have a setup so bad that you get RSI?

Here's a RSI analogy. Imagine that everyone reading this comment takes a match, lights it, and gently sets it on the floor (so that it's still burning). Some people will burn their house down, while others will watch as their match slowly burns out.

The difference is in what the person's floor is made of. Some people's floors are made of tile, while other floors are a bit more flammable (maybe they're covered with a film of cooking oil).

A predisposition for RSI usually isn't recognized until someone's set their body "on fire" (where the trigger is usually stress, poor workstation ergonomics, overuse, laptop keyboard/mouse, etc). The process to putting out the metaphorical fire is different for everyone. Some RSI sufferers benefit from improved workstations and other ergonomic equipment, others benefit from massage or other forms of hands-on therapy, while still others need anti-inflammatory pills or dietary changes or vitamin B6 or any of a thousand other interventions (many of which I've written about here on Slashdot - search my comment history or send me an email. :).

The "kindling" for my RSI condition was set a year before the symptoms emerged, when I knocked myself out and nearly drowned at the lake. The cramping and pain in my hands, forearms, shoulders, neck and spine started in the months after I got a Thinkpad my first semester at teh college. If I hadn't sustained that head injury the year before, I'm certain that the RSI never would have appeared, or at least would have gone away when I stopped using the Thinkpad.

Re:How was it a poor setup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791768)

Doh. People are different. Not everyone has the genes to be a rugby player.

So he's just not as tough as you?

He's probably not as stupid and rude as you though.

And not as cowardly as me :).

Re:How was it a poor setup? (1)

maitai (46370) | about 4 years ago | (#33791984)

Same, I got carpal back in 1988 when I was 14 after doing nothing but typing on keyboards for 5 years, but after starting using mice in 1994 or so that all went away (I assume it was me switching from typing to moving a mouse and back).

I occasionally get burns in my shoulder/neck which I blame on using a mouse. But luckily I'm a smoker (probably catch up with me later, and counteract all this) so I go out and smoke about once an hour. Everyone knows they need to get up away from the computer every so often, right?

Anyhow, he should use an external input device if he don't like the ones that come with the laptop. Pretty simple. I never use the trackpads on any of my laptops if I have a wireless mouse handy.

Hell, my main PC is a Sony VGN-FW490 with an HP 23" monitor connected to it via HDMI, then a Logitech Revolution mouse/keyboard connected via bluetooth. Which I suppose mostly makes it a desktop. On the road I use a bluetooth mouse... still hate the laptops keyboard but I can rough it.

Re:How was it a poor setup? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33792058)

What does it take to have a setup so bad that you get RSI?

Using only that setup. I've come to realize that RSI injuries are not caused by doing something bad too often but from also not doing other stuff enough. If someone is beginning to feel RSI pain, the answer isn't really to correct posture, it's to spend time exercising the affected area in ways that are different from the activity that's causing the RSI.

My personal realization of this came about 10 years ago. I've always had terrible computer using posture. Everything they tell you not to do, I do. I slouch, my wrists rest below key level...you name it, I do it wrong. So with a job that sits me in front of a computer 8+ hrs a day, I started to get RSI pain. But when a friend introduced me to rock climbing, a funny thing happened. My RSI went away. Completely and, thus far, permanently. And the reason is that climbing forces me to strengthen my wrists and use them in abnormal positions. And it forces you to contort my body and back in similar ways. And all of that prepares me for 5 full days of abuse a week that I give myself in front of a computer.

So anyone with RSI or who sees it coming...if you're asking, "what am I doing wrong?" you're asking the wrong question. Instead, ask yourself "what am I not doing right?"

Re:How was it a poor setup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33792710)

"So anyone with RSI or who sees it coming...if you're asking, "what am I doing wrong?" you're asking the wrong question. Instead, ask yourself "what am I not doing right?""

I think you're correct, but the other thing I've noticed is that some of the advice/equipment offered as "ergonomic" is simply wrong for some people. In my case, the real breakthrough was the realization through trial and error that having the keyboard and mouse near the edge of the desk -- or even worse, in one of those keyboard trays slung below the edge of a "computer desk" -- was the worst possible configuration for me. The angle between my arms and keyboard was too steep. Instead, the keyboard and mouse sit far from the edge, a little more than the length from my elbow to the tips of my fingers, so that my elbow sits on the desk surface a slight distance in, away from the edge. This allows the lower part of my arms to sit at a fairly low angle to the desk surface or even leaned on it, and it requires my wrists to be bent minimally. To accommodate this change in arm position my chair is a little more vertical than normal. Before I made those modifications my wrists would get really tired, sometimes painfully for days, and I'm sure I was on the way to getting full-blown RSI. I'm a lot older now, but I can type and mouse all day long and no issue has returned, despite the fact I'm sure my ability to heal has diminished over the intervening decades. It took a while, but I found something that worked, and it had nothing to do with computer equipment -- a bog standard keyboard/mouse is fine for me, as long as I arrange them on the desk correctly.

The point is: experiment, observe carefully, and do not assume that the standard, "correct" ergonomic desk/keyboard/mouse advice is automatically the best for you, because what works seems to vary enormously from person to person.

easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791536)

An Apple iPad or if you require a keyboard any Apple notebook, they're easily the most comfortable computers around bar none.

Use your feet. (4, Interesting)

assemblerex (1275164) | about 4 years ago | (#33791546)

People missing limbs learn to use their feet. The severity of your injury is no different. Get a plastic carpet protector and a large laser mouse set to 500 - 1000 dpi.

Re:Use your feet. (1)

Menkhaf (627996) | about 4 years ago | (#33791712)

People missing limbs learn to use their feet. The severity of your injury is no different.
Get a plastic carpet protector and a large laser mouse set to 500 - 1000 dpi.

...although I guess it depends on what limbs they're missing.

Re:Use your feet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791842)

This is a really good way to screw up your back, shoulders and neck. You'll be able to get away with it for short periods of time only. Be careful.

Re:Use your feet. (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | about 4 years ago | (#33792070)

I appreciate your thinking, but it is short sighted. If he starts to use a foot-mouse exclusively , he will begin to develop problems in his foot and leg muscles. The root cause here is his computing habits which have caused damage in the first place.

Re:Use your feet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33792086)

Use feet for movement. Attach sensor to the penis. Up/down is clicking. Left/right (advanced) is scrolling. After a few years of this, you will be able to pick up and hurl objects with your wang. Dolphins will revere you.

Re:Use your feet. (2, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | about 4 years ago | (#33792282)

I don't have any RSI, but I can see that this method of computer use would free my hands, which would be highly beneficial to 99% of my computer use...

Re:Use your feet. (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 4 years ago | (#33792294)

I don't have any RSI, but I can see that this method of computer use would free my hands, which would be highly beneficial to 99% of my computer use...

*snigger*

Apple stuff is good (1, Redundant)

farnsworth (558449) | about 4 years ago | (#33791552)

I don't know if I had RSI or what, but I had pain in my wrists and forearms at the end of the day while I used a thinkpad (both with and without a decent ibm 101 keyboard). I am very sensitive to ergonomics -- I have a really nice chair, a really nice desk, the best lighting I can afford.

I switched to a Mac Book Pro, and I never had any pain with the trackpad, even in the most awkward postures. The Apple 101 keyboard is also great for my ergonomics while I'm at my desk.

Still, I had wrist pain after sitting at my desk using my fancy MS mouse all day. I recently got the external Apple trackpad, and my mouse has been collecting dust ever since. I have zero pain even after a long day or a long week. The stuff is expensive, it takes some getting used to (the built-in trackpad and the external trackpad only work well if you grok their gestures). But it is well worth it for me.

YMMV, etc etc.

Re:Apple stuff is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791608)

Yeah sure, you buy a great desk, a great chair, and you use a laptop's screen and keyboard. You're reallllllly sensitive aren't ya?

Re:Apple stuff is good (2, Informative)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#33791618)

Where is my -1 "commercial" mod-option?

Re:Apple stuff is good (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 4 years ago | (#33791652)

Try an Apple trackpad on a laptop. Beats any other trackpad on any device. I've tried many others and they all suck balls compared to the ease of use with Apples hardware. I know this is anecdotal but fwiw I really really mean it.

Re:Apple stuff is good (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 4 years ago | (#33791788)

I have tried the Apple trackpad (I have a MacBook on my desk). I still prefer my "el cheapo" a4tech k4-50D optical mouse to the track pad. I don't even bother with a mousepad.

I'm now waiting for a trackball fan to reply to your "suck balls" remark :).

Re:Apple stuff is good (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33792484)

I use an Evoluent Vertical Mouse. I got used to having an ache in my right wrist without really relating it to mouse usage (I thought it was perhap from lifting weights when I was younger), but when I saw someone with one of these things I it clicked for me, and my wrist is a lot better these days :)

Re:Apple stuff is good (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 4 years ago | (#33791918)

This is basically how I feel about the EeePc's trackpad.

Okay, so it's smaller, but it works and it works well. When I first owned the machine, I brought my small portable mouse with me because I figured I would want to use it. That mouse is now collecting dust.

Re:Apple stuff is good (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33792460)

My MBP gave me little electric shocks whenever I used the trackpad while touching my arm on the seam around the edge of the case. Very good for my health, I'm sure..

Re:Apple stuff is good (1)

Lotana (842533) | about 4 years ago | (#33791678)

Another option to go for when mouse hand pain starts is a trackball.

Logitech Trackman Wheel is the first I tried and still with it. After a while of practice I can even competitively play FPSes in a LAN with it. Only downside is the occasional ball/roller cleaning due to the design, but it is very easily done.

YMMV of course.

Re:Apple stuff is good (4, Informative)

klui (457783) | about 4 years ago | (#33791718)

Yes, you have symptoms of RSI.

To the original submitter: When I developed RSI many years ago, the initial conditions were tingling/pain in the tips of my fingers but would wander all over my hands and arms during day and night. Once I started to rest and not do as much typing/mousing, the symptoms would be much more pronounced as my body went over the hump and it could no longer repair the soft tissues. I then found normal keyboards and mice would exacerbate the symptoms since it doesn't leave my wrists in a natural position.

So I purchased a split keyboard from IBM and symmetric track ball, not the funky ones designed for one hand. I hope you realize the purpose of a split keyboard. The track ball permitted me to use either hand to do mousing and it rested in between the split of my keyboard. Through time, the tips of my fingers were not uncomfortable so I could use a track pad as well. It behaved somewhat like a track ball--either hand could operate it.

To this day I cannot use a mouse for more than 15 minutes of constant mousing. And my body is quite sensitive to how long I have been keyboarding/"mousing".

Since everyone is different, you will have to find what works for you. If you have access to physical therapy facilities, they often have lots of devices you can try. That's where I tried something like 5 different types of keyboards and pointing devices and I chose what I use now. I have 5 IBM M15s.

I can understand why you can't use a track pad because initially as your fingertips were sensitive, anything that touches those areas would feel aggravation. You should also be moving your entire arm while typing/mousing otherwise you would be putting excessive strain on your wrists. You should be able to use a track pad now after several years. But if you cannot, your work surface may be too high or you're not moving your entire arm while "tracking." Another thing that greatly helped me recover was to get a chair that have linear tracking arms. They supported my arms without impacting my nerves.

Good luck.

Re:Apple stuff is good (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about 4 years ago | (#33791852)

Ever tried methylcobalamin? It worked for me. Doc prescribed me a 500 microgram tablet after meals (note: it's microgram not milligram!).

Basically it's a better absorbed B12 vitamin for the nerves. The pain and tingling are because your nerves are getting squished. So this helps them.

In the long term if you help the nerves heal or at least survive, the rest of your body parts involved should adapt around them (after all many body builders do grow bigger wrists over time, and not all of them get RSI - so it's probably partly due to stuff growing out of sync/proportion than just mere stress and strain).

It's pretty safe, you can ask a neurologist about it. The research was mainly done in Japan, so western docs might overlook them.

The pills I took are made by Eisai (a Japanese company). Look something like these: http://www.salepharmacy.biz/89-268-thickbox/buy-methycobal-mecobalamin-500mcg-30tablets-peripheral-neuropathies.jpg [salepharmacy.biz]

Re:Apple stuff is good (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 4 years ago | (#33791920)

My day job involves a lot of wrist stress caused by repair and data entry. My night job involves a lot of wrist stress caused by prolonged missionary position.

I've found that good wrist and forearm massages stave off tingling and other nerve artifacts. You can look 'em up or learn 'em from a massage therapist or chiropractor.

Re:Apple stuff is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33792114)

My night job involves a lot of wrist stress caused by prolonged missionary position.

Try putting hands to the sides, not up and against the other guy's chest!

Re:Apple stuff is good (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 4 years ago | (#33791808)

Sounds a lot like a placebo effect to me. Macbooks are pretty, but comfortable to work on? Uh, not really. I for one can't get over the hard right angle that passes for a wrist rest... It's fine on a desk, but get one of those things on your lap and ouch.

exercise (3, Interesting)

someara (1342897) | about 4 years ago | (#33791586)

exercise. seriously. these will fix you up in about 3 months: http://www.google.com/search?&q=hand+grip [google.com]

Re:exercise (3, Informative)

klui (457783) | about 4 years ago | (#33791748)

Exercise is correct but using hand grips is the wrong way to go. When you have RSI your soft tissues are already damaged and trying to strengthen them right after they're injured would make things worse. They should be resting. Strengthening exercises would be done for other parts of the body like back and neck muscles. The other thing that would really help would be cardiovascular which promotes good blood flow. Only after you're relatively symptom free should you slowly strengthen your damaged soft tissues.

Re:exercise (1)

Yxven (1100075) | about 4 years ago | (#33792074)

Someone mod this guy up.

Strength training with wrist problems will only aggravate your condition. Improving blood flow to the area seems to be the way to go. Although, I'm not sure what the best way is to do that.

(I have RSI's from typing/using the mouse. I haven't figured out how to fix them yet, but strength training did not help me.)

Re:exercise (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 4 years ago | (#33792230)

As I've already mentioned elsewhere, a split keyboard, using a digitizer instead of a mouse and then starting playing guitar helped me much.

Re:exercise (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 4 years ago | (#33792244)

Powerballs are supposed to be good for RSI.

Re:exercise (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | about 4 years ago | (#33792428)

Ice is the most effective way of improving blood flow. At the first sign of pain, start icing the affected area daily. You have to nip the initial inflammation in the bud before it can cause serious damage.

Multi-part solution: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791590)

Use eye tracking for the mouse and colemak for typing. Learn to use ctrl+backspace instead of hitting backspace repeatedly when you make an error. Find a keyboard with low key depression force and distance, and software that autocapitalizes intelligently on the fly so you don't have to use shift so much.

Re:Multi-part solution: (1)

nacturation (646836) | about 4 years ago | (#33791662)

Learn to use ctrl+backspace instead of hitting backspace repeatedly when you make an error.

Wow, how come I've never discovered this shortcut? Thank you, AC!

Strengthening (4, Informative)

Cymeth (122330) | about 4 years ago | (#33791594)

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not advice, but have you tried strengthening exercises?

I have to use a very poorly designed desk for computing (think of like an 70s-80s era penpusher desk - now with computer, keyboard, mouse, dual monitor). This has led to some issues, although, not ever as bad as you have described. Recently a friend lent me a gyroscope toy, thingy. Basically you spin it, it provides some resistance and which will gradually build strength in your arm/hand wrist.

I've found it to be really helpful - now I can type without pain and I can even do pushups again. YMMV.

(cue the oblig wrist action comments:).

Re:Strengthening (1)

CoolGopher (142933) | about 4 years ago | (#33791648)

I've found it to be really helpful - now I can type without pain and I can even do pushups again. YMMV.

(cue the oblig wrist action comments:).

"/wrist" for turning into a jock? ;)

Re:Strengthening (1)

DeBaas (470886) | about 4 years ago | (#33791812)

Certainly good advice. You should strengthen the arm and wrist. But although this may seem unrelated, improving your overall condition by sporting will help more than you might think. When I got some form of RSI in 1997, the ergonomic keyboards and mouses (only products for which I recommend Microsoft ;-) and training my wrists helped. But when I started to go to a fitness club, I noticed that I really beat the problem.
I do think training the wrists was the most important, but if you got the will power, don't stop there, the rest matters as well.

Re:Strengthening (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 4 years ago | (#33791938)

Or: How to detect early warning signs

If you have trouble lifting that beer mug, try the other hand.

If you have to move and TILT your head forward to drink, go see a doctor.

AND How to avoid:

I find that 24-oz wrist curls done with the left and right help avoid RSI. Just buy some beer at the store. Perform this exercise regularly. Better yet: as often as you'd like!

Added bonus: The refrigerator door pull also works wonders, especially if you spread your legs evenly apart.

Yes I am looking at you, Mr. Basement Dweller. Get up and get active!

Re:Strengthening (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#33792416)

Or: How to detect early warning signs

If you have trouble lifting that beer mug, try the other hand.

If you have to move and TILT your head forward to drink, go see a doctor.

If it's that bad then you should have gone see a doctor much earlier.

Re:Strengthening (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 4 years ago | (#33792208)

Yep, definitely strengthening together with ergonomic keyboard and mouse

I used to have RSI years ago, now I don't even need the wrist braces. A Microsoft Natural keyboard helped a lot, a digitizer instead of a mouse helped even more.
And then I started to play guitar and I think it has helped the most.

Re:Strengthening (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#33792410)

General posture is also important: sit straight up, not slumped against your back rest.

I've had RSI symptoms, and went for treatment/advice. Mostly the second as treatment was not necessary yet, and one of the main things I was taught was to sit straight up. I even got a special balance pillow for that, forcing you to actively sit straight up! Helped a lot.

Further advices that I received: use a flat keyboard. Do not lift up those stands at the back. The flatter the better, the lower above your desk the better, as otherwise you have to lift your hands making your wrists bend upwards. Make sure your seat is the correct height (not too low relative to your desk).

Actually in the old ages with mechanical type writers they were using extra low tables so the typists could let their arms hang down, upper arm vertical, lower arm horizontal, and then end up just above the keys. Like playing piano, that's also done without wrist support. Add sitting properly straight up to that and you should have no problems with your typing.

My physiotherapist even said you should not use wrist supports, as it also restricts movement. And set your mouse slow. Many people like to set it so that a few mm movement makes the cursor cross the screen one side to the other: that makes exact pointing much harder, so more stressful to your muscles. You have to work harder to keep your pointer pointed just right.

Oh yes and general muscle strengthening helps. And general physical exercise, which helps for more than just against RSI. Have regular breaks (I set up my office so I have to walk a few steps to the printer - intentionally not putting it right next to me - just to get off my chair more often, that change of position is very good for your body).

Get a kitchen timer (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#33791614)

Get a kitchen timer and a laptop and a tablet. Set the timer for 30 minutes and bang away at the desk. When the bell rings, move the laptop to the top of the filing cabinet for 30 minutes. When the bell rings again, take it to the couch. Next time the bell rings, move to the other side of the couch and use the tablet. Then take a meeting and lunch. Start back at the desk again after lunch. Get up now and then. Take a walk. Evenings and weekends, pull some weeds play WII Fit for a half hour, then billiards and table tennis or whatever. Get different motions going on. RSI isn't about excess motion. It's about repetitive motion. Different motions help make it go away.

Re:Get a kitchen timer (3, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 4 years ago | (#33791708)

Get a kitchen timer and a laptop and a tablet. Set the timer for 30 minutes and bang away at the desk. When the bell rings, move the laptop to the top of the filing cabinet for 30 minutes. When the bell rings again, take it to the couch. Next time the bell rings, move to the other side of the couch and use the tablet. Then take a meeting and lunch. Start back at the desk again after lunch. Get up now and then. Take a walk. Evenings and weekends, pull some weeds play WII Fit for a half hour, then billiards and table tennis or whatever. Get different motions going on. RSI isn't about excess motion. It's about repetitive motion. Different motions help make it go away.

No, different motions help prevent it. Once inflamed, repetitive motion of any sort is more likely to aggravate it. If there's permanent damage, any repetitive motions will exacerbate it to the extent that motion uses the damaged parts, and trying to force use on other parts taking up the slack can irritate them. Changing positions between equally unsuitable orientations will in turn irritate the damaged part and stress the as yet undamaged. The position that uses the injured parts least and the uninjured maximally and proportional to their abilities will be least likely to cause strain, pain and more injury. Using that position with the mechanism requiring least effort is optimal.

Re:Get a kitchen timer (2, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#33791960)

I remember once when I was a kid seeing the doctor for the second time. I thought I needed something to fix, so I twisted my arm up behind my back until my fingers touched my neck. "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."

"Son," he said - "pain is your body's way of saying 'don't do that.'"

Words to live by.

Re:Get a kitchen timer (2, Informative)

sheriff_p (138609) | about 4 years ago | (#33791792)

I like this idea. Also, here are the tricks I use to manage mine:

- Enforced break software like AntiRSI for the Mac, or WorkRave for the others
- Either lying in bed with a laptop or using a Natural Keyboard
- Regular shoulder dislocates

Ergonomics, exercise, and variety! (1)

KingRobot (703860) | about 4 years ago | (#33791622)

Definitely what the others said about the desk. Of course you know this well, but for the sake of those reading, ask your employer for a better chair and keyboard; chances are good you can get it, but if not, you might think twice about your employment options. If you still really like your job or feel you have no choice but to stay, then seriously - spend a couple hundred on the chair and keyboard yourself. The money you spend will be small compared to doctor bills and potentially permanently damaged health.

I'll also echo the other comments about exercise. At least try to add some variety to your daily wrist activity; stress balls, playing tennis, whatever, as long as it's not keyboard/mouse/piano type activity. Take a few minutes away from your desk to stretch your wrists - and your neck too! It'll be good for you in other ways as well.

Finally, depending on your dexterity, something that has worked extremely well for me is to go left-handed on the mouse for a while; if I ever feel a hint of motion strain in my right hand, I switch to the left on the mouse. Within a few hours I feel great. In general, I also spend about 2/3rd of my time on a mouse, and about 1/3rd using a trackpad. The change is excellent.

Re:Ergonomics, exercise, and variety! (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about 4 years ago | (#33791728)

I agree with all of that. Stick with regular (but comfortable) input devices, get some exercise and stretching, and spread the load onto your other hand.

I almost exclusively mouse with my left hand at work now, and save my right hand for playing games at home. A couple of hours of FPS is quite strenuous by comparison so it evens itself out compared to an 8 hour work day.

Harsh reality and possible "solution" (1)

eagl (86459) | about 4 years ago | (#33791636)

OP - you need to understand that except for a very few people who fully adapt to nonstandard input devices, most of the other input devices you might try will do nothing but slow down your work rate. Any benefits you might find from using those devices are just as likely due to the reduced work rate as they are from the design of the devices themselves.

You may want to consider a lifestyle and work habit change. Keep using "comfy" standard input devices while you are on the road, with the obvious and relatively easy steps of using a full size keyboard and mouse (or trackball or whatever irritates your injuries the least). But then take the additional step of incorporating a significantly increased number of work breaks into your routine. And go to the gym (or pool, since some swimming can build muscles and endurance with little or no shock and as much or as little resistance as you want) to build up overall physical conditioning, which can help with the causes of the injury as well as help the body heal faster.

In short, use whatever input devices feel ok, don't go all weird with the input devices, since all you're going to do is slow down your work efficiency anyhow, slow yourself down with more (and more effective) work breaks, and add more physical conditioning to your daily routine.

You'll be surprised at how much less your wrists/forearms hurt if you build up the back, shoulder, and chest muscles enough that your wrists aren't taking all of the strain when you type and use the mouse.

Learn not to hurt yourself. (2, Informative)

Narcocide (102829) | about 4 years ago | (#33791642)

From my own experience:

1) Low-pressure/frictionless keys/touchscreens can only make so much difference. Just not hitting the thing so damned hard makes a much more significant difference.

2) Don't sleep on your wrists. Seriously, don't put your arm under your pillow while you sleep. This has a deceptively catastrophic impact on the crucial healing period an all-day typist's wrists need during the their hands' sole extended immobility period.

3) Keep your wrists straight while you type. I can't emphasize this enough. Some people say ergonomic keyboards don't help. Some people say they do. Some people say don't rest your wrists on the keyboard. Some people say it hurts not to. The important thing is that you keep your wrists straight so that the tendons have as little friction as possible passing through your carpel tunnels during long typing sessions. If you have really wide shoulders it a split-style ergonomic keyboard might help you to keep your wrists straight. If you are a bit short or a bit tall changing your desk and chair heights can help too.

By the way if you also suffer from neck/back pain your monitor is probably not close enough to head level.

Re:Learn not to hurt yourself. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#33792472)

By the way if you also suffer from neck/back pain your monitor is probably not close enough to head level.

Thanks for the reminder!

(puts 10 cm high metal box under monitor)

Extreme Adaptation (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 4 years ago | (#33791664)

I've got one very damaged wrist and one embedded titanium bar, both victim of several accidents and far too much surgery for body parts to endure without accumulating more damage in the repair process. I can't write with a pencil for more than two minutes due to the tendons being as much scar tissue as anything else.

But my thumbs work fine by themselves. Thus I use trackballs like the Logitech M570. Once learned and used at highest response speed, I can, for instance, play an entire game of solitaire in less than 100 seconds. The rest of the hand rests on the device with very little movement required to trigger the buttons, thus the least effort is required to support them. I tried many different methods before finding this. It's the least tiring, in fact not at all, nor do I end up hurting after. Since my arm rests on the table, I don't even use the braces anymore.

Re:Extreme Adaptation (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#33792486)

An ex of mine who was in the ergonomics field argued against using trackballs for the very reason you like them: it puts all the movement on an even smaller part of your body than a mouse: just the thumb (or a few fingers). Instead of using your whole arm to move that mouse around (if you're using your wrist for most mouse movement you're doing it wrong and should lower the speed).

I recommend Windows 7 (1)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | about 4 years ago | (#33791696)

Pretty much any modern convertible tablet PC running Windows 7 will have excellent out-of-the-box inking to text conversion. Add a few hours of training along with a combo digitizer/multitouch screen and the interface should be fairly smooth.

Obviously you may also need to look for other add-ons, like Dragon Naturally Speaking software to do voice-to-text and look into some of the accessibility features available. I also like using a Logitech Trackman mouse (where the roller ball is under your thumb rather and your hand just rests on it).

Really, when it comes to recommending a convertible tablet PC at this point it will depend on the work you are doing. If you are looking for an add-on for a computer, the only device that is a pen-based tablet that also displays is the Wacom Cintiq drawing tablets (either $1000 or $2000 if you want 12" or 21" displays - and the extra buttons make them bulkier than you'd expect).

I know its not really helpful, but its the best I can do with the information you provided.

Back problems (1)

Z34107 (925136) | about 4 years ago | (#33791700)

I had a similar problem. It started with neckache and backache when I was sitting for a long time. Then my wrists would hurt when I practiced piano. Then my wrists and shoulders hurt all the time. I ended up seeing a doctor when I lost feeling in my first three digits on each hand. They ended up taking back x-rays; I had a spine that looks more like a "/" than an S. Nerves were getting pinched in my shoulders and my wrists.

So, I went to a chiropractor, and after a couple of months my spine looked normal, and I could actually move my fingers again. With better posture, the tingling/numbness hasn't come back, either. If you haven't already, you might want to go to a doctor or a chiropractor - avoid the ones that try to sell you stuff or that claim a straight spine will cure cancer or whatnot. A lot of regular doctors can do spinal adjustments as well.

I suggest it because I, at least, didn't think that my rapidly decreasing dex modifier had anything to do with my back. But, if you can't do much about your desk or your sitting posture, stand. As long as you aren't hunched over a monitor, it'll be easier on your back, and it'll be easier to keep your wrists raised and your shoulders relaxed.

Real Man's Laptop (1)

Cylix (55374) | about 4 years ago | (#33791716)

I use a real man's laptop.

It's a log cut in half with random pc parts shoved inside. The two hellish halves are held together with rail road stakes and a few lengths of chain. (Legend has it they were forged in the depths of hell by Hades himself, but that's just what the guy at Home Depot told me.)

Between the twigs, bugs and pine cones still attached to the raw timber there really isn't much room for comfort, but then again if I had built it for comfort I might as well have made it a functional PC too. You see son, a real man's laptop isn't for a sissy boy or one of those city fellas, but rather it was made to exemplify man's eternal struggle against nature. (It also helps to demonstrate how much of a real man a man is.)

Each real man's laptop (tm) comes with a set of work boots and plaid shirt.

Get one.... now.

Re:Real Man's Laptop (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 4 years ago | (#33792198)

I use a real man's laptop.

Mine broke.

I kicked RSI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791740)

I am a computer programmer and 5 years ago I had RSI. I was on workmans comp for 6 months. In that time I saw several doctors and even a psychologist. I was unable to type due to sever forearm pain. Today I am pretty much pain free and still working 9+ hours a day. Unfortunately, there is no over night cure. Here is what worked for me. Pick up a copy of 'Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection (Paperback)'. Find yourself a quality massage therapist who is skilled in neuromuscular massage. And see them every couple weeks till you feel better. Cymeth's recommendation about strengthening exercises is a good one.

Hope this helps.

Re:I kicked RSI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791988)

Same thing with me. Healing Back Pain saved my career and life really.

Mice, no thanks. (0, Troll)

hatten (1640681) | about 4 years ago | (#33791752)

Input devices and GUI's are for pussies, install linux, learn how to use the text terminal and go with programs that can be exclusively controlled by the keyboard.

Get a Dock (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | about 4 years ago | (#33791760)

My solution was to get a laptop dock at home and work. For good on the move typing I go for a laptop with a full sized keyboard and numb-pad (got a HP right now) and a large comfortable Logitech M950 mouse (robust and has a tiny USB dongle you can leave plugged in all the time). I dont use the touch pad as I find it makes me want to bend my wrists inwards to hard at times (always use an Apple cordless touchpad).

keyboard only (1)

bcrowell (177657) | about 4 years ago | (#33791770)

What kind of work are you trying to do? Your post asks about pointing devices, but if you're word-processing or coding, reconsider whether you even need a pointing device. Most of my computer work is word-processing or coding, i.e., just typing characters. I used to use mouse-based editors and word-processors, and my RSI problems were all related to my pointing device -- every time I would reach for the mouse, that's when it would hurt. Since you're asking about pointing devices, it sounds like you also have a problem with pointing devices. So if your work consists of typing characters, just stop using a pointing device. Use an editor such as emacs (good) or vi (evil) that can be controlled without a pointing device. (YMMV as far as good or evil. If God damns you to hell for using vi, I am not responsible. I am not a lawyer or a priest, and this is not legal or religious advice.)

Get a cute secretary (0, Offtopic)

syousef (465911) | about 4 years ago | (#33791778)

Some of the advice being given here isn't very practical. Mine probably isn't either, unless of course you're particularly well off, but it could be a lot more fun.

You seem to complain about the pointing device, so (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about 4 years ago | (#33791794)

Just use a wireless mouse.

External input devices! (1)

VirexEye (572399) | about 4 years ago | (#33791800)

As someone who has suffered from chronic RSI for years, your best bet is an external input device. You can alternate between a mouse, and some of the other options out there. When I'm on the road, I've found the ozupad to be a decent alternative option. http://www.ozupad.com/ [ozupad.com] Between a tracpad, a mouse, and an ozupad, you can change things up enough to hopefully avoid the worst of the repetitive motions.

Re:External input devices! (1)

DustDevil (169068) | about 4 years ago | (#33791976)

The original poster might want to look at something like the HandyKey Twiddler [handykey.com] or build something similar. The Twiddler is an external single handled mouse keyboard combo. It was very popular among people who wanted to build a wearable computer during the 90s. Think Thad Starner [wikipedia.org] and Steve Mann [wikipedia.org] .

With the Twiddler, your wrist maintains a more neutral position while typing and performing mouse operations. Keys are type by pressing "chords" similar to the way a guitarist uses his/her left hand on the neck of the guitar. See the Wikipedia Chorded Keyboard [wikipedia.org] entry. I think it has a high learning curve but I have read somewhere of people being able to type 40+ words per minute using it.

The Twiddler is not cheap, however, the company that made the Twiddler stopped making them a few years back, and only recently a different company started selling them again for $215 plus shipping from Canada.

Another option is to try voice recognition.

Re:External input devices! (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about 4 years ago | (#33792388)

The 3M Ergonomic Mouse [3m.com] is another alternative that might work well for mouse/wrist issues. It keeps those stable, instead using your elbow and shoulder for movement. Only available for right-handed use. I've been much happier with 3M's product than the conceptually similar Evoluent VerticalMouse [evoluent.com] , mainly because the 3M stick uses a completely different set of muscles. The VerticalMouse might work OK for wrist issues, but it's easy to just move your injury to somewhere else that's weak from years of mouse abuse, because it's not really that different.

Someone might suggest a trackball next. When I last had wrist issues, those didn't help at all. Way too many muscles close to the injured ones involved in using one of those.

Advise (1)

maxinuruguay (1149501) | about 4 years ago | (#33791804)

Hi gotfork, I'm an assistive technology specialist and the it's a little hard to give advise without assessing your individual needs but I think a portable ergonomic platform simply does not exist. My advise is always to use the laptop on your lap. This will sacrifice your neck position but your wrists will remain in proper position. Also, read John Sarno's "Healing Back Pain." I've had great success with my clients and it has helped me get 100% back when I was injured.

Re:Advise (1)

maxinuruguay (1149501) | about 4 years ago | (#33791816)

Also, please contact me if you want more information or you want to discuss your workstation.

Re:Advise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33791962)

this is a sure way to injure your neck. a bad advice that only a professional "assistive specialist" can give you, so that you would eventually come back to him for neck AND wrist pain.

i had the same problem few years back when i was working in a pre-IPO startup. my boss was pushing me to work long hours typing, and he was such a bad boss that he didn't allow me to take my medical time off (i've got doctor's recommendation to take 1 month off).

eventually the solution for me was that i hired a guy in eastern europe to secretly work for me over VNC, from my own salary, so that i didn't have to type/mouse as much.

Speech... Doesn't Come Much Lighter (1)

nick_davison (217681) | about 4 years ago | (#33791916)

The lightest option for carrying around in a mobile environment is speech recognition. Your vocal chords travel around with you anyway. If you decide you need a headset, they're lighter than pretty much any mouse, trackpad or trackball. Best of all, your voice puts absolutely zero strain on your carpal tunnel.

Of course, it sucks for things like coding but if risking your carpal tunnels means getting to never use computers, limited access is still infinity times better than no access.

That addresses the lightest possible options for mobile use. Honestly though, if you're suffering enough from your carpal tunnels that you can't use computers/can only use them in restricted form and you really can't get by with your voice... Man up and carry a slightly bigger bag and the weight of a trackball. In the scheme of things, a slightly bulkier bag and the extra few ounces of a trackball or whatever bulky ergonomic solution works best for you is way less than the suffering bad carpal tunnels will give you.

While you're at it: Who really uses laptops in that many places anyway? Buy a dock, a really good ergonomic pointing device and a really good ergonomic keyboard (I've been impressed with the SafeType keyboards though they suck for cursor/numpad/key combination access) for each major location you use it (home office, work). Sure, that'll run you several hundred bucks per location but it costs way less than surgery, time off from work or losing your career. That protects you for 90% of the time most of us ever use our laptops. The other 10%? Do you really need to use it in Starbucks (if you're a MacBook Pro owner, I take it all back, you bought the thing to look "creative" and Starbucks is critical for that)? Do you really need to use your laptop in meetings (buy a dictaphone if your wrists matter that much and transcribe in a healthier environment later)?

The point of all of the above is that with a few small compromises, there's no reason laptop use needs to be any worse than desktop use. And those small compromises? They're a lot smaller than the pain of carpal tunnels, lost income and surgery.

Injured by typing? (1)

raind (174356) | about 4 years ago | (#33791952)

Yikes, my sympathy. but really can you not strengthen your wrists? I propose you pick up some drum sticks and a practice pad. google the rudiments.

Macbook/Pro (1)

mcbridematt (544099) | about 4 years ago | (#33792034)

Seriously, I used to have RSI issues until I became a Mac laptop user. Two reasons why:

  • Macbook's are as thick (physically) as most laptops you can buy, which are generally quite fat in comparison
  • I find Ctrl-Click or two finger tap less stressful on my arm when doing a right click than trying to hit a separate button on the touchpad

First, get Workrave (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | about 4 years ago | (#33792064)

First off, get and install workrave [workrave.org] . It's a GPL program that works on MS windows and Linux. It will time and prompt for micro- and macro- breaks, which are key to recovering from RSI, and preventing RSI from developing/degrading. Micro- and macro-breaks are important for everyone.

Second, always use an external pointing device. It could be a mouse, trackball, or wacom tablet. When you work, set them up on the desk at the proper height so your forearms are flat and level to the floor, and supported by and armrest.

Disclaimer: I am not a trained ergonomist. I am sharing with you the general advice that professional ergonomists have given me, and that has helped me significantly.

Stylus and Touchpad (1)

SWGuy (566046) | about 4 years ago | (#33792094)

I can't touch a mouse without pain. I've found a touchpad causes the least strain for me. I don't use the buttons, I tap the surface to click. Almost no strain doing that. I can use it all day. I have a synaptics one on a HP Pavilion laptop. I also have a small bamboo stylus which I can use for a couple hours, but if I use it all day it bothers me. Get an ergonomic keyboard like the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard for typing. Spend the money on a good chair, like an Aeron. If you can touch type, any typing assistance software is likely a waste of time. Speech recognition is only good if you can talk all day. To see if it will work for you, read a book outloud, see how long you last.

Magic Trackpad (1)

eXlin (1634545) | about 4 years ago | (#33792124)

I have heard a lot of good about Apple's Magic Trackpad. It should have decent support for it in ubuntu maverick 10.10 too... (http://www.apple.com/magictrackpad/)

Head controlled mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33792280)

You could try a head controlled mouse like the SmartNav one from NaturalPoint (www.naturalpoint.com), some have mentioned that it can also be used successfully with the open source dasher software. Here is a previous comment about gaming and rsi with it :

http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=140216&cid=11741131

iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33792312)

iPad.

Relax and use your other hand (1)

Rashdot (845549) | about 4 years ago | (#33792344)

Years ago I developed RSI in my right hand, wrist and shoulder. I realized that RSI is really a muscle cramp, so I learned to always immediately relax my muscles at the first sign of pain. I moved my mouse to my left hand and haven't been troubled by RSI ever since. I'm fine with the mouse on the right when using someone else's computer but I still keep my own mouse on the left.

My advice: concentrate on immediately relaxing your muscles at the first sign of pain.

As someone with a similar problem... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 4 years ago | (#33792382)

If my experience is any indication(YMMV), avoid stylus-based like the plague. It doesn't sound like mine is as bad as yours (I can go 8-10 hours at the keyboard before the pain gets unbearable) but any kind of touch interface (my old Fujitsu Tablet, NDS, and Android phone) has my fingers numb inside of an hour.

Reclining defeats RSI (1)

tresho (1000127) | about 4 years ago | (#33792394)

Apparently I've taken a more radical approach than anyone else. I have stopped sitting upright at a desk to type on a computer. Nearly all of my time using my laptop is done in a fully-reclined chair. I am nearly supine as I type this. The built-in head & neck rest on the back of the chair fully supports my shoulders, neck & head. My upper arms, elbows & forearms arm supported by the backrest & padded arm rest. The laptop itself is supported by a cheap plastic laptray. The laptray has pockets on either side that serve as legs. The laptop is separated from my lap by an air space of about 2". The tray pockets hold pens, small pads, TV remotes, occasionally a can of Dew or a bottle of beer (if either tips, the liquid goes into the tray pocket & nowhere near the laptop.)

If I gaze straight ahead from this relaxed position, my line of sight is about 2" above the top of the screen. I wear bifocals. The screen is about 30" away from my eyes. I had my ophthalmologist adjust the prescription for my lower lenses to allow me to read materials from 30", not from 20" as is typically prescribed for reading glasses. The bifocals are the lined type, so the entire plane of the laptop's screen is viewed through the same lens prescription. I once tried using lineless bifocals & found with them I could only see a small fraction of the screen clearly. I had to continually move my head to focus clearly on the screen. The projected line between the upper & lower eyeglass lenses lines up very closely with the top of the laptop's screen. So I can see distant objects past the screen clearly without moving my head.

When I use a desktop scanner, I have to sit or stand bent over at the desk as most anyone would do. My land line phone is on the floor below the right arm rest.

I am retired, so I have to justify my arrangement to no boss who might perhaps believe I am too comfortable to be really working. If I stay up too late at my laptop, I tend to fall asleep in my computer position, it is that comfortable.

A couple of my hobbies are genealogy & local history. I travel around the US to do this & sometimes find I need to work my laptop for several hours at a time to catch up on email and type up my discoveries while they are still fresh in memory. I bought a folding recliner chair, similar to what is sold for use on patios, where a mesh fabric supports the body. I use a small pillow to provide more support for my head & neck, but otherwise it's very similar to my home recliner. This works almost as well as my home recliner.

I think the foundation of RSI for computer users is attempting to sit upright and pound on a keyboard, with minimal support for the arms & wrists. It's an unnatural and pain-provoking position [nytimes.com] , dictated by the all-too-human thinking of "We've always done it this way."

Overcoming RSI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33792556)

I worked in a job where this injury/illness was common and attacked most of the workforce. Modern medical science has people believing that they have the only answer to the world's ills, but they have no cures for carpal tunnel, only treatments which are very profitable for them. The answer is large doses of B vitamins, a mega-dose daily of B6 as well as a general B supplement and some vitamin C. I also took tumeric & ginger supplements. It isn't something that will change overnight, but gradually you get better and quit waking up with hands that you can't feel, then after a month or so you notice that the pain has gone away and it will stay away if you keep your body's supply of B vitamins up.

Low force (1)

Misagon (1135) | about 4 years ago | (#33792602)

I developed cramps and aches in my right hand after having use small travel mice for too long. Not only was the claw-like grip bad for my hand, but the force required to push the buttons on these particular mice was too high.

I then got a WowPen Joy, slanted mouse, but I do not recommend it.
The force required to push the buttons was still too high, so it was painful to use. Eventually, I opened it up, desoldered the hard switches and soldered in softer switches, and now I have no problems using the mouse.

I like the grip on the Evoluent VerticalMouse better, but it wants to "correct" my up/down and left/right mouse movements to be straight lines ... and this can be extremely annoying, or not noticeable, depending on your habits.

Posture and mouse position is also important. I have started to use keyboards without any numeric pad to the right of the cursor keys. This has allowed me to place the mouse in a more natural position, leading to less fatigue in my right shoulder.

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