Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a condition resulting from overusing the hands (arms or shoulders) to perform a repetitive task, such as typing, clicking a mouse searching for data or counting cells, writing a thesis or a paper.

Anyone who uses a computer regularly should know about RSI!!.

Repetitive movements (I am then talking to musicians too) triggers molecular changes such as the release of chemicals which limit or repair damage of the tissues.  But sometimes this ability of the body to protect itself is overwhelmed by prolonged repetitive movement, and injury to the tissues.  Then, RSI (or occupational overuse syndrome, work-related upper limb injury or isometric contraction myopathy) appears. RSI is usually associated with doing a particular activity re peatedly or for a long period of time. It often occurs in people who work with computers or carry out repetitive manual work. In developed countries, one worker in every 50 has reported an RSI condition. Here are some triggers of RSI:  

  • doing an activity for a long time without rest
  • doing an activity that involves force, such as lifting heavy objects
  • poor posture or activities that require you to work in an awkward position
  • cold temperatures
  • vibrating equipment
  • stress 


Here are the main symptoms:


  • pain or tenderness in your muscles or joints
  • stiffness
  • throbbing
  • tingling or numbness
  • weakness
  • cramp


… but they might vary


Treatment of RSI (and prevention):



                  If your PhD tasks put you at risk of RSI you should seek out expert advice on prevention from your employer or professional body. If you don’t have time for it or just can’t be bothered, The Ph.D. Lounge has selected a panel of preventive tips and alternative treatments.

Use break programs

Those are little software designed to force taking micropauses and bigger breaks when you are hard working. It may sound like counter-productive tips, but on once of prevention spares pounds of cure (or actual waste of time). You are using Linux or Windows :WorkPace. You are using Mac: RSI Guard If you are really worried about your current of future RSI, then read this: “It’s Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! RSI Theory & Therapy for Computer Professionals” by Jack Bellis and Suparna Damany, which I thought was pretty good.

….otherwise they are many other books that are worth reading about computer/work pain:

The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice or care from a healthcare provider. The information on this website is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments, or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visiting with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your healthcare provider because of any information you obtain on this website. Discuss any activities presented in this website with your healthcare provider before engaging in the activity.

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