Repetitive strain injury is to writers what the rotator cuff injury is to baseball pitchers. If you write, you will eventually suffer some form of repetitive strain injury. The good news is that if you are a baseball pitcher, you won’t necessarily suffer a rotator cuff injury. But it is very likely. Repetitive strain injury is often referred to casually as carpal tunnel syndrome, but the two aren’t necessarily conjoined twins put on display in Papa Lazarou’s Pandemonium Carnival.
Repetitive strain injury is any injury that occurs as the result of overuse of a muscle or tendon when it is forced into a position that is not really exactly natural for exhibiting a repetitive movement. The standard typewriter-style compute keyboard places the hands in a position that actually is not particularly natural for writing. This position has come to seem natural over time. Several newfangled keyboards have attempted to create a more natural position, but the paradox there is that while some of these actually do place the hands in a much more natural physical position for writing, they seem psychologically unnatural as a result of conditioned behavior. In addition, these new keyboards don’t make an adaptations to the primary problem associated with composition on a computer keyboard: the dastardly QWERTY arrangement. Tis a consummation nearly as wrongheaded as America’s bizarre commitment the simplicity of the metric system at bay.
You don’t have to buy one of those strange-looking keyboards in order to put off the possibility of developing repetitive strain injury. One way of avoiding problems is to avoid crossing your feet. You can stave off problems associated with sitting at your computer for hours at a time by making sure your feet remain flat on the floor. You also want to a chair that ensures your back remains straight. A plethora of elbow room is also highly encouraged. Laptop users should especially take note of their elbow room. If you find yourself needing to be sitting in a cramped position with your elbows nearly touching your ribs, you should invest half your money in an insurance company like United Healthcare. Being a shareholder in one of those ridiculously profitable companies is the only way you’ll ever be able to start getting a return on the all the money you will have paid them to take care of your quickly developing repetitive strain injury.
Posture is an important part of keeping this kind of computer work-related injury at bay, but there are other considerations as well. Take a look at the words on your computer. Whether it’s the fonts on the Windows screen or the words inside your word processor, there may be a chance they are too small. Do you constantly find yourself having to move your head closer to the screen to see what is written there? This repetitive movement can cause problems just as much as constantly typing. Do yourself a solid and increase the size of the text when you are surfing the internet. When you are working on Microsoft Word or another word processing program, increase the size of the page view percentage from 100% or Page Width to about 130%. This will give you less of the entire page to see at once, but the letters will be big enough you don’t need to squint or move your face closer to the screen.
Older people who learned to type on an actual typewriter need to understand that some of their aches and pains is the result of typing too dang hard. In the olden days of typewriters, one HBO network and a democratically-elected President you had to actually apply pressure to get a word onto the page. Computer keys simply don’t need to be punched the way that old typewriter keys did. Transform from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Wally Cox while typing and you will avoid developing arthritis-level aches and pains in your finger joints.
Finally, you should learn that the mouse can be as dangerous as doing hunting with Dick, Cheney. Instead of having to make an unnecessary and unplanned trip to the doctor because you make the bad decision to move the mouse, you can get much of your work done-and quicker-without ever taking your hands off the keyboard. Take the time to learn the keyboard shortcuts that do the exact same thing you accomplish with the mouse. This will speed up your work while also making it less likely to develop a strain by using your arm to move the mouse.