Some personal thoughts about RSI follow:
Intensive rest is by far the most significant treatment regime for most
common computer-related repetitive strain injuries.
However, there are some other things you can try.
Since sideways force applied by the tendons to the wrist tissues is implicated
in the disorder, one of the things you call do is to minimise the application of
finger force while the wrist is bent. One way of doing that is to simply avoid
bent-wrist positions. Another is to wear wrist braces while asleep.
Use of wrist braces may also help promote good circlation via a combination of
avoiding compressed positions and local heating.
Topical creams and lotions can act as anti-inflammatory aids, and provide some
short-term pain relief.
There is some evidence that stimulating the immune system can
accelerate healing from RSI slightly. See the
studies on the RSI page for
more details about that.
Poor circulation may accelerate development of RSI - while good circulation
may promote healing. However, the role of blood in RSI seems to have
been poorly investigated.
Cold water and/or ice is also an anti-inflammatory - and its removal prompts
blood to rush into the area, possibly promoting healing in the process.
Sometimes tension in the forearms can arise, partly as a response to pain. This
can restrict blood flow and hinder healing. Exercise, relaxation and adopting
open elbow and shoulder poses can help here. Note that exercise encourages
circulation better then relaxation does.
Blood can be forced into the arms via gravity (e.g. headbalance), or via
Low core temperatures can result in restricted blood flow in the extremities.
This probably slows down healing - and may need to be avoided.
If you have a tendon pathology caused by stress, thick tendons seem desirable -
since they would distribute the force over a larger area.
Exercise thickens tendons. Rest causes them to atrophy.
Eccentric contractions seem
highly theraptic for some tendon pathologies.
It remains to be seen if eccentric contractions can be adapted to help computer
If you must use a computer, experiment with low-force input devices,
keyboard macro programs and programmable keyboards.
For more information about this strategy, see:
If you use low-force computer input devices using them with the minimum
force required is to be recommended.
Also, RSI can sometimes be reduced in intensity and distributed over a
larger area - e.g. by using a second mouse wth the left hand, scrolling using a
The role if inflammation in RSI appears to be poorly understood. Inflammation
is used by the body to direct the immune system. However inflammation itself
can be overdone - and too much inflammation can have harmful side effects.
Anti-inflammatory drugs seem to have some positive effects for
at least a proportion of RSI sufferers.
Increased forearm pressure may aggravate some of of the symptoms of
RSI, especially in conjunction with motion, by increasing frictional
However attempting to reduce inflammation directly may have negative
side effects - and the healing process may lose an important cue about
where its energies are needed.
Overall, it seems likely that directly reducing levels of inflammation
in RSI will have positive effects, but I think the side effects
on the healing process deserve further investigation.