The pain one feels is generally damage to the muscles, tendons, and nerves. It is important to know that this type of injury has the potential of being irreversible if it persists for too long.

Fine hand movements, repeated hour after hour, day after day, eventually strain the muscles and tendons of the forearm, wrists, and fingers, causing microscopic tears. Injured muscles tend to contract, or shorten, decreasing the range of motion necessary for stress free work. When the damaged tendons of the muscles aren’t given time to rest and recover, pain will ensue. At this point the tendons are inflamed, and begin to pinch neighboring nerves. This can result in numbness, tingling, or extra sensitivity to touch.

The best strategies to prevent repetitive strain injury involves many key factors. The most important strategy is to take frequent breaks while working at your computer. Other areas of consideration include:

  • Adjusting your chair for proper neck, back and leg support.
  • Keeping your hands and wrists relaxed and straight while at the keyboard.
  • Grasp and click mouse with a light touch while keeping it in close range.
  • Position monitor with the top of the screen at eye level.
  • Keep body at 90 degrees while working (see diagram).

Although repetitive strain has the potential to be serious, proper prevention strategies can lead to successful management. If you feel you may be developing a repetitive strain injury, consult your doctor. It is important to apply ice to the affected muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Moist heat treatments, such as a hot towel or warm shower, will reduce muscle spasm and improve circulation to injured areas.

In conclusion, gamers can help ensure a longer and more healthy career for themselves by paying attention to and treating their muscles and tendons before noticeable damage occurs.