Little things you do every day such as using your computer, shopping or house work can cause unnecessary strains or increase the likelihood of flareups.
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The guides below are simple examples of how you can move about and perform ordinary tasks in a less strain inducing way.
Use your muscles more efficiently:
• Carry your shopping bags over your shoulder, or look for larger/thicker handles – these provide an easier grip and reduce stress placed on the small joints of the fingers and hands.
• Consider if you really need to do the task. Maybe a friend or colleague can do it for you, or it might not need to be done right now.
Spread the Load:
• Carry things with two hands rather than one
• Limit the number of items in each bag so that they are not too heavy. Ask the checkout operator to pack your groceries evenly into a number of bags rather than just one or two heavy ones
Use Less Effort:
• Take advantage of carts or trolleys when transporting large items
• For the kitchen, look for a can opener with a large turner and locking handles, or preferably an electric can opener
• Use tools for ordinary things such as opening packages.
• Avoid gripping things tightly
• Look for gadgets that can make gripping or holding things easier, e.g.
• Steering wheel covers can help reduce the force needed to hold the steering wheel.
• Gardening gloves designed to increase your grip and minimise the pressure on painful finger joints
• Opt for utensils with a large, comfortable grip
• Replace items in the home that are hard to use with items that have been designed with your needs in mind, like swapping standard taps for lever taps.
• Break up tasks into smaller bits, and rest in between if needed. For example, rather than trying to clean the entire house, just do one or two rooms each day or have a rest between rooms. 10
• Staying in one position for too long can lead to tired muscles and stiff joints.
• Release your grip every 10 to 15 minutes while writing or doing activities involving gripping with your hands or fingers
Exercise should have lower impact on joints and muscles to avoid RSI symptoms and flareups. Based on core strength, pilates focuses on easing strain on the back and limbs through stretching and strengthening torso muscles. Some recommend against all forms of exercise. Others believe it is best to think about exercise differently, as gentle, intentional movements that stay within one’s limits. Common recommendations include warm-water exercise, yoga and tai chi. Gentle, controlled exercise is key.
Initially, it is best to stick to exercises that have you lying on the floor, seated, or in a very stable standing position, to combat dizziness experienced by individuals with FMS and ME/ CFS. Cycling, walking and step aerobics are also considered to be useful low-impact exercises. Remember to expect some setbacks when experimenting with your tolerance level, to be mindful of how much you exert yourself in other daily activities, to take breaks and days off and to not push yourself too hard.
A member of RSI ACT recommends the following to protect the wrists during different exercises:
- Avoid hyperextension of the elbows (lock out) during movements like push-ups, planks, and bench presses, etc. *Hyperextension is excessive joint movement that is beyond normal, healthy, range of motion.
- Use folded towels or workout mats under the heels of your hands when doing floor exercises (planks, push-ups).
- Stretch and strengthen your wrist with targeted wrist exercises.
- Use hexagonal dumbbells for wrist supports for exercises, like push-ups and planks, to relieve some pressure using a more supportive gripping style.
- Tape your wrists using athletic tape. It can be placed around the palm, just under the fingers and one strip around the wrist to create anchors. Then fill in the area between the two anchor points with horizontal and vertical strips of tape, creating a criss-cross pattern
Cooking and Eating:
When cooking, consider things such as if you really need to peel things like potatoes, or maybe you can buy these pre-peeled and chopped. Can you chop bigger slices so there is less chopping in total?
Anti-inflammatory diets can be good for your muscles and joints. A popular anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean diet. Other foods not in the Mediterranean diet may also have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Computers, especially mouse use and clicking in particular, are known to be a major cause of RSI. This is due to long use hours (e.g. full work days and at home) and using a desk setup and posture which is bad for the body. Use the guides below to reduce strain on your body while you use computers.