Monday, July 9, 2007

The Programmer's Disease
RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) is a lingo in IT industry. Vikas Kamat has penned an article on how to cure such injuries. He has fondly named it Programmer’s Disease.

We all love mouse as an input device to the computer, and today it is hard to fathom a computer without a mouse-or-trackball-like device. But stop for a while and think how many times in a day you are moving your right hand (for a right-handed person) from keyboard to mouse and vice-versa, it’s probably in tens of thousands of times. The Programmer's disease occurs by excessive use of the computer keyboard and the mouse. In the medical community, it is also referred to as CTS (Carpel Tunnel Syndrome) and RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) and increasingly, it is causing a serious problem for workers in the IT industry (hence the name).
How I Fought Programmer’s Disease
In the year 1999 -- about ten years into my programming life -- I started experiencing acute pain in my right hand (I'm right handed). I didn't know about RSI then, and sought physical therapy, which provided temporary help. I had some colleagues who underwent surgery, but the pain returned very quickly. I would use ice-packs, which tremendously helped during the treatment. But the pain was not curable.
In year 2000, a fellow programmer suggested that I switch my mouse-clicking hand.
I tried it, and it was difficult initially, but the body learns sooner than you think. The pain subsided, and over the period of last seven years, I have become ambidextrous, and best part is that the pain is gone!Switching the Clicking Hand Cures RSI
Tips to Prevent RSI
• Stretch and massage your hands
• Perform activities with hands that are opposite to the repetitive strain -- like weight lifting, racquet sports (like Tennis, no Cricket doesn’t help!)
• Distribute the work to other parts of the body -- use alternate fingers and limbs.

Personally, I am waiting for the two technical breakthroughs – one is a foot-operated mouse. As automobile driving technology has shown us, the foot can be very sensitive and can respond very rapidly. The other thing I’m waiting for is a digital glove so I can keep my hands in the pocket of my pants and still operate the PC.

No comments: