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Preventing Repetitive Strain Injury in Children

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Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a musculoskeletal disorder caused by prolonged repetitive and/or forceful movements (such as typing), awkward posture (such as slumping) and poorly designed workstations. They upset the delicate balance of muscles, nerves and tendons.

Current college students, who were among the first generations raised on computers, are developing RSI at an alarming rate. Ergonomic injuries are afflicting workers as young as 20 years old, forcing some to end careers before they have barely begun. Tim Bowman, physical therapist at Vaden Health Center, Stanford, says the number of students with RSI has skyrockted. "They sit at their computers 25 hours a day, they don't move anything but their fingers and eyes, their nutrition is terrible, and they're not getting enough sleep," he says. (Stanford Magazine, Sept/Oct. 2005)

RSI can affect the entire upper body, from the neck to the fingertips. The resulting discomfort can be frightening and chronic, from dull aches to intense pain. Some symptoms include decreased grip strength, burning in the back and forearms, general muscle stiffness, and ultimately, pain in the neck, back, shoulders, elbows and/or arms that disrupts sleep. The lack of immediate symptoms can be dangerous. It may take months or years of unsafe work or play habits for clinical symptoms to manifest.

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Safe Computer Workstation Design

What You Can Do at School

What You Can Do at Home

Stretches for Kids

Resources for Kids

As a concerned adult, you CAN help protect your child from developing RSI. The best protection is prevention. This website contains basic information which can help you determine if your child is at risk for RSI at school and /or at home, and ways to correct or improve these situations. Click on the links to the above right to find out more about what you can do!

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