Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Stuff I learned while dealing with RSI

It's been four weeks since the RSI symptoms started, and I've learned a few things about my productivity and what distracts me in that time:

  • Having emails coming in doesn't bother me - being limited in how much I could type meant I easily restricted my email responses to those that required an immediate response.
  • Similarly, I found it easy to stay off Twitter and Facebook.
  • Typing with index fingers only is frustrating - lots of typographical errors and you can easily revert to using all your fingers (and being in immediate pain). Although I did get fairly good at touch typing with index fingers, staying away from the keyboard for most of a weekend really helped the recovery.
  • Doing groceries as you need them is not only easier to carry, but you end up with less food wastage as you really do stick to what you need. 
  • PhD supervisors can be very supportive.
So I'm not 100% but at least I can work for some hours each day, comfortably hold novels (text books are still an issue), write emails and wash my hair properly (it was the pain from washing hair that made me realise that I was having a fairly serious RSI issue). So while I am mostly operational now, I'm still putting off laboratory work until I have pain-free days. It was not fun being unable to do a variety of household tasks, so I don't want to go through another round of the painful RSI I initially had!


  1. How is the RSI now? Is it improving?

    1. Fine if I do nothing, and improving if I do nothing... but I have stuff to do, so it flares up! :( Seeing the physio twice a week now, and we're coming up with the best way to get past all the labwork and then having rest and proper recovery.

  2. Oh this sucks! Do you know what caused it? I've been suffering neck and back issues since starting full time work - sitting at a desk for hours on end and doing it again at home outside of work really isn't healthy :(

    1. Apparently (according to the physio) it's not uncommon to do a stint of heavy work, be ok, have a break, come back to that same work and completely fall apart! In my case, it was opening and closing glass bottles repeatedly - sometimes under pressure. Overstrained the tendons in my fingers... so anything that requires the fingers can set me off if I don't take a break - I'm currently using a Pomodoro App to work for 20 minutes and then break for 10.

      My physio's really encouraging me to keep up my running in order to force my body into a posture other than sitting, and to give my hands, arms, shoulders and upper back a good break.