What have we learned in 25 years?
Lesson One: Pain and discomfort tell us that something is wrong.
For many of us, work today is about sitting for hours at a time, retrieving information from or placing information into a computer. The work is repetitive and for better or worse, we develop our own computer interactive repetitive habits. When these competitive habits are combined with improper positioning of our hands, wrists arms, shoulders, back and legs, they produce discomfort and pain. This discomfort and pain unchanged and untreated ergonomically will lead to Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). We injure ourselves a little bit every day. The discomfort is progressive and will lead to real pain and injury.
This is not a new phenomenon. In 1700 the Italian physician Bernadino Ramazzini described RSI in musicians and clerks. Carpal tunnel syndrome was first identified by the British surgeon James Paget in 1854. Today the list grows: edema, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, stenosing tenosynovitis etc.
So what is the point of this lesson? Pay attention to your discomfort and pain. It will progress if you do not change your work habits and find an ergonomic solution. Happily there are effective ergonomic solutions available. Don’t wait. Address the problem while it is a small one.