Summary -- writing & ergonomics

Subject: Summary -- writing & ergonomics
From: Rowena Hart <rhart -at- INTRINSYC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1998 15:48:52 -0700

Fellow tech writers:

I received a lot of email following my post asking about writing-specific
ergonomics and wrist-strengthening exercises. A lot of people wanted to
know what they can do to avoid several common work-related injuries,
including:

* repetitive strain injuries
* carpal tunnel syndrome
* sore hands, arms, necks, backs
* mousing strain

I found one particular site on the Web quite useful, although there are
hundreds more to choose from:

Typing Injury FAQ:
http://www.tifaq.com/

RSI & Ergonomics Information for the Newly Injured:
http://www.tifaq.com/information.html

A useful article about recognizing injury, based on information gained from
sports medicine (also includes recommendations for healing and
strengthening):
http://www.tifaq.com/articles/sports_medicine-feb98-jeffrey_pearson.html

Alternative Keyboard FAQ:
http://www.tifaq.com/keyboards.html

There is also the "Sorehand" listserve, dedicated to all things to do with
RSI:
listserv -at- itssrv1 -dot- ucsf -dot- edu Subscribe with the message "SUBSCRIBE SOREHAND"

Perhaps the MOST interesting lead I got was about changing from the
Qwerty-style keyboard setup to the "Dvorak" setup, something I'd never heard
of before. Essentially, the Dvorak setup places critical keys within easy
reach, reducing stretching and mis-keys. It is also supposed to increase
typing speed and accuracy phenominally. You don't need a special keyboard
to use a Dvorak setup, but you will probably have to spend some time
learning to touch-type using a Dvorak layout. Here are some interesting
Dvorak resources:

Introduction to the Dvorak Keyboard:
http://www.ccsi.com/~mbrooks/dvorak/dvorak.html

Dvorak International FAQ:
http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/dylan/DvorakIntl.html


My question about strengthening exercises brought up the spectre of
litigation again, so here's a quick DISCLAIMER: if you think you have a
work-related injury, seek professional medical assistance immediately.
Don't try to treat yourself, you may make your condition worse.

Many people recommended yoga, chiropractic, regular exercise including
weight training, and of course, getting up and walking around to shake out
sore muscles, correct poor posture and increase circulation.

Here are some common strengthening exercises, in animated online glory:
http://www.s-sc.com/risk.htm

A massage therapy page for CTS, also recommends some books about CTS in the
computer industry:
http://www.lightlink.com/massage/ctm.html


Ergonomics is another issue, and is a bit confusing because of all of the
products on the market claiming to cure all ills.

My question about a smaller-than-average sized ergonomic keyboard located
one suitable product, the Darwin Keyboards SmartBoard:
www.darwinkeyboards.com

Also, here is a reasonable survey of the benefits/disadvantages of switching
to an ergonomic board:
http://www.tifaq.com/articles/alternative_keyboard_survey-feb98-scott_wright
.html

There were also some good suggestions about mousing:

* alternate mousing hands from left to right on a regular basis
* re-program the mouse buttons so you aren't always clicking with your index
finger
* use an ergonomic mouse. recommendations included the EasyCat from Cirque
http://www.cirque.com, the Kensington Orbit and any trackball-style mouse

Many thanks to the folks who sent me their suggestions, recommendations and
questions!

Cheers,

Rowena

---------------------
Rowena Hart
Technical Writer
Intrinsyc Software, Inc.
http://www.intrinsyc.com




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