RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive Strain Injury is caused by many, many small stresses over time. The best known RSI is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which affects people using keyboards for long uninterrupted periods of time. Another name for the condition is Cumulative Trauma Disorder.
So what does that have to do with tall people? Simple. Tall people often don’t fit easily into modern day society. Desks don’t fit, chairs don’t fit, controls designed for “average” people often aren’t placed where a tall person can reach them. So in order to do what we need to do, tall people often have to stretch, reach, bump and slouch.
The result? After many years an RSI develops. To prevent that from happening, and the many years of therapy to relieve the injury, here are some things to think about.
An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure - this applies especially to RSI. Here’s how to prevent an injury before it happens.
Pay attention to the things you do. Does your neck hurt after a long drive in your car? Do you have to slouch down to see your computer monitor? Does mowing the lawn give you a pain in the back? Does crouching to get a low file make you say Wahhhh! when you get up? Sure, everyone has little aches and pains that come and go, but keep an eye out for these symptoms:
- Tightness, discomfort, stiffness, soreness or burning in the joints; shoulders, neck, wrists, knees, forearms, or elbows
- Tingling, coldness, or numbness in the extremities
- Clumsiness or loss of strength and coordination in the hands, knees or hips
- Pain that wakes you up at night
- Feeling a need to massage your hands, shoulders, neck
If you notice you’re being stressed, you need to relieve that stress right away, before a more serious injury takes place. Ever notice how many tall people have back trouble after 40? Do you want to be one of them?Here are a few more tips for the tall person:
- Get a monitor stand, invest in an ergonomic chair, sell the old car and find one that provides the headroom and support you need. Whatever it costs, it will be a bargain at the price.
- Sit don’t slouch.
- When talking with shorter people, sit on the edge of a desk or nearby chair to get your eyes (and ears) on their level. Slouching destroys your back, and doesn’t look very professional, either.
- Stand up straight - good posture reduces the load on your spine.
- Don’t squat for more than 5 seconds. If you need to work on something low, like files, sit on a box or stool. If you can, bring the task up to a work surface that’s at a comfortable level. Squatting puts a tremendous strain on your knees and lower back, and cuts off the criculation to your legs.
- Move around - If your work requires you to stay in one place, whether sitting or standing, make it a point to move about for several minutes each hour. This allows your muscles to relax and helps prevent blood clots from forming in your legs and buttocks. This is especially true on long trips in a car or plane.
- Pay attention to your body. Pain is your body yelling that it’s in big trouble, but learning what is comfortable or awkward for your body before you’re in pain may prevent injury.