Sunday, February 25, 2007

Whatever happened to the crippling RSI epidemic?

Have RSI problems been reduced or are we calling it something different? ...

"I announce to you today the birth of a new medical condition: Strauss's Non-Mousing Elbow.

It arises because several weeks ago a sac of fluid in my elbow called a bursa swelled and started to pain me. For our purposes here the treatment was less important than the cause. It was in a general way ascribed by my doctor to either an accidental bang or a persistent pressure on the elbow, but when I looked further I chanced upon a longstanding condition known as "student's elbow."

What happens is that students rest their elbows on their tables while reading and after a while their bursas become inflamed. Only I didn't read like that. Hmm, what did I do? And suddenly I realized it was sitting at the computer and all that relentless mousing — think scrolling through some large Google search or continuously playing solitaire.

When I did things like that, I rested my non-mousing arm on the chair in a manner akin to that of the over-studious. Thus, my name for the condition — and thus again my inspiration for a column that might be entitled: Where has all the RSI gone?

The numbers don't add up

While researching my pained elbow I came across an anomaly. There have been a burgeoning number of arm and hand conditions associated with either computers or computer games. There's iPod finger, BlackBerry and PlayStation thumb. There is the newly-hatched Wii elbow, and the slightly older but still colorful Nintendonitis.

At the same time there has been an all-but-disappearance of what was supposed to have been (according to a 1995 prediction) a "silent crippler … epidemic in [the] workplace" — Repetitive Strain Injury."    (Continued via CBS News)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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