9 Tips to Manage Writers RSI

yoga pose at sunrise

Repetitive strain injury often starts gradually but can soon become severely debilitating. But there are ways to nip it in the bud – and alleviate the worst symptoms.

1. Take Frequent Breaks

Take short, frequent breaks from repetitive tasks such as typing. A 10-minute break every hour. Use the computer only as much as you have to. Small hand movements, like scrolling on a screen, seem to set off RSI.

2. Type using both hands

It’s like playing the piano; correct fingering is essential. We tend to overuse one side of the body.

Become ambidextrous, e.g. use the mouse in your other hand, lift the kettle with the other hand.

3. Move

Get up from your desk every 30 minutes and move your neck and shoulders to release tension.

4. Use a Fountain Pen

When writing by hand, use a thick grip fountain pen that flows really well, rather than a ballpoint pen. Needing to push down on the pen, even lightly, makes the inflammation of RSI worse.

5. Check the ergonomics of your work station

Keep wrists straight and flat when typing. Sit with thighs level, feet flat on floor (or on footrest), sit up straight, shoulders relaxed, upper arms at sides, not splayed out, forearms horizontal or tilted slightly downwards, so knees and elbows are at a right angle. Keep the top of your screen at eye level and adjust the position of your keyboard, so it’s easy to reach without stretching or hunching. Don’t slouch. Use good posture. To keep wrists straight and flat use a gel wrist rest for the keyboard and the mouse.

6. Keep wrist straight when sleeping

Don’t curl your hands into a fist when sleeping. Some people wear a brace to keep their sore wrist straight.

7. Strengthen the supporting muscles

A physio will give you exercises to do to strengthen the arms. e.g. bicep curls

8. Stretch

Stretch neck, shoulders, arms, wrists. I find yoga is excellent for a full body stretch. The downward facing dog pose can cause discomfit in the hands, but I try to remember to flatten the knuckles to reduce pressure on the wrists.

9. Massage

Like yoga, a regular massage helps keep the body aligned and pain free.


Hope you find these tips useful. Good luck.


8 thoughts on “9 Tips to Manage Writers RSI

  1. Great advice,Libby! πŸ˜€ I love using a fountain pen but it is not often alas. I can identify with relaxing ones hand and wrist at night; I tend to cling onto my tissue for dear life and have to slowly unfurl my fingers in the morning. At one stage a specialist gave me a brace to help my wrist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I keep two fast-flowing fountain pens near me at all times: one in the handbag and one beside the bed πŸ™‚ Did you find the brace helped your wrist? Unfortunately anything pressing on my sore wrist hurts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Libby, I’m so sorry about your sore wrist. That must affect everything you do. After tests at the hospital they thought I might have carpal tunnel and the brace was for that. It did seem to help overall as after a while the pain disappeared on the whole but will return now and then.

        What a great idea to have two fountain pens on the go … writing in bed in the morning is one of my most productive times, but if I feel inspired to write at night I won’t sleep at all!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. i’m so pleased to hear your carpal tunnel pain has disappeared. we learn to manage these things. with my own sore wrist, it doesn’t help that i put weight on it at yoga, when using weights at the gym and, worst of all, when playing tennis. my wrist is strengthening though with special exercises from the physio. phew πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is good advice. I follow much the same for my rheumatoid arthritis, although I’ve never tried the fountain pen. Now I have an excuse to buy one. A TENS machine is also good for pain relief but you have to be careful how high you turn it up around the wrist because it will make your fingers contract and relax spasmodically depending on where you place the electrodes. Not a bad party trick though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mm. have never heard of a TENS machine, but my GP has used something similar on me over the years. doesn’t help though. i think regular icing and rest are the best. good luck with managing your rheumatoid arthritis. i think i’ve just got the common garden-variety. hope you enjoy writing with a fast-flowing fountain pen πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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