Sami Greenbury
Technology, Teaching & Travel

Repetitive Strain Injury is really bad – but can be avoided and healed (and there’s a book for it!)

tldr; Recognise the dangers of using your computer, avoid RSIs because they’re very hard to treat. Make time in your daily routine, because it’ll save you lots of time (and pain) later.

Repetitive Strain Injury. Personal Injury & Treatment Options by Clemens Conrad

I grew up on my computer, spending hours typing away – learning things, socialising, building things, playing games. It served me very well.

I also grew up with a family aware of good posture and taking breaks. Sure I never took as many as I should have, but I was aware enough that I didn’t have nearly as many problems as I should have done – given how long I spent hunched in front of a screen.

That was true until 2018, which for me was a crazy busy year. Too much went on, and the thing that got shafted was the breaks and the posture. Not Cool.

My Repetitive Strain Injury

In early 2019 I started getting pains in my wrist. Subtle at first, but over the course of only about two weeks they blew up into constant 24/7 sharp pains – with a background oscillation of other aches and pains.

I’ve lived a lucky life – I’ve never had excellent health, but I’ve never suffered from poor health. I’ve known people living with chronic pain and I know it’s a thing – but after just two weeks I realised quite how much it affects every aspect of your being.

Repetitive strain injuries are caused when you damage your nerves by repeating the same, usually small, movement too many times. “Too Many” is an awful lot, it took years and years of mouse clicking to cause the pain.

And it’s going to take years to resolve the pain, it seems.

The Path to Pain Free

RSIs are not well understood, so when fellow human being Clemens Conrad started suffering he did what many of us would like to do – the research! He had been let down by doctors, medicine, pills – everything he tried. Given the lack of information out there he started compiling his RSI story, and then other peoples stories.

What he’s compiled is the most useful resource book on Repetitive Strain Injury available. It’s not a magic answer, but it contains the information you need to find the answers which work for you. He makes no illusions about how difficult the task is, but by trying and following the advice in his book you can avoid doing what he had to do – dedicate a few years of his life to figuring this stuff out.

Who’s the book for?

If you’re an office (or factory) manager and your staff use computers – buy a copy of this book for your office. Incorporate it’s teachings, do a cost-benefit analysis of the risks of your staff developing RSI and taking sick time off work.

If you work on a computer, play video games or do any other repetitive task (Conrad’s page lists several common tasks) get this book and share it with your friends to help them prevent repetitive strain injury.

Get it before you need it, because then hopefully you’ll never need it.

Along with the book is a whole website full of free advice, most of what is in the book is free on the website (but for a website which largely says “Spend less time on your computer – of course there’s a book).

There’s software to help, exercises to do, though provoking re-thinkings of your world. There are literally dozens of suggestions, even if you just follow one or two you’ll reduce your risk.

Disclaimer: I wrote this article in exchange for a free copy of the book – but Clemens Conrad had no input and if I didn’t actually love the book – I’d have declined and paid for it instead.


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