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Best Mobile Computing Options For People With RSI? 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the scream-at-people-until-they-type-what-you-want dept.
gotfork writes "Several years ago I injured my wrists while typing at a poorly set up desk. I am now greatly recovered, and can work at a desktop computer for several hours each day as long as I wear wrist braces. I have avoided using laptops in the past because both TrackPoint-style pointing sticks and touchpads create a lot of strain on my wrists, but I'm ready to give it another shot. Is my best option a stylus-based convertible tablet/laptop (such as the Lenovo X series) or are there any lighter-weight devices that have ergonomic inputs?"
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Best Mobile Computing Options For People With RSI?

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  • Dasher! (Score:3, Informative)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:14PM (#33791456)

    You might already get this a lot, but you should take a good long look at Dasher [cam.ac.uk], a novel form of text input that's suitable either as a short-term or permanent replacement for the keyboard. It can be used with a variety of different input devices, basically anything that points. This includes mice, trackpads, trackballs, styli, nibs, nubs, and even IR eye movement tracking (Dr. Hawking's preferred method).

    I'm a keyboard junkie and even I have to admit Dasher is pretty badass. It's like Tetris, only instead of accumulating points you write things.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:23PM (#33791488)

    I've had good success with an Asus e1000H laptop (the smallest I could reasonably comfortably type on for shortish periods) along with a goldtouch folding keyboard (gtp0055, according to the label on the back) and an Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3. For a long time I struggled to get a decent gel-based wrist rest until I gave that up and found that two (clean) business socks with half a cup of rice in each works even better ... the keyboard has a laptop-style travel and comes with slide-off covers to protect it when in your bag. The mouse is a little awkward as it's an odd shape, but otherwise all this stuff goes into a backpack daily ... I'm using these without problems under NetBSD but presumably it would also be fine under Linux or any other flavour of OS - the keyboard also has decals for Mac OSX although I've not tried it on a Mac to see if it works ...

    • by God'sDuck (837829) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @07:14AM (#33793004)

      I'll second the vertical mouse. Here's how I've handled my RSI, and the degree to which I think each has helped my particular form of pain (different people hurt different tendons or nerves, so it's important to experiment).
      1) A Kinesis Advantage Keyboard (not portable); I can type on a Kinesis for 12+ hours straight with no pain; a normal keyboard in QWERTY hurts after 1-2 hours. I cannot stamp my foot enough to emphasize the value of a true ergonomic keyboard for those prone to RSI. It takes about 4 hours to adjust to the new keyboard shape.
      2) An Evoluent vertical mouse, with the thumb button set as a second primary button so I can alternate click fingers (semiportable). I work all day without pain on this mouse; a normal mouse hurts after minutes, due to the combination of the pinched wrist muscles to go flat an the extended-index-finger push. It takes less than half an hour to adjust to the new mouse shape. Trackballs never worked for my particular injury.
      3) Switching to Dvorak layout (quite portable); It's nowhere near as effective as the above two, but when forced to use a laptop or normal keyboard I can type ~50% longer without pain per day in Dvorak (maybe 2-3 hours). For me, it's the far-stretch index-finger/pinky motions that are the problem, and there just aren't many in the Dvorak layout. It takes 2-4 weeks to adjust to Dvorak, and your pain often increases briefly while you learn, since you tense up while hunting and pecking.
      4) Using a Droid for routine browsing. For me, my thumbs aren't part of my RSI, so click-based smart phones work great. Pinch to zoom hurts the moment I try it.
      5) Sleeping with a wrist brace when the pain flares up. I don't need to do this often at all anymore, now that I do the other four, but it still helps on days where I've been bad and spent several hours on the family laptop.

  • What are you whining about? I always use a cordless mouse with my laptop. And at times I use a full size separate keyboard too. A keyboard is rather bulky to lug around all of the time, but there is no reason that you can't keep one at home, perhaps even another at the office. A cordless mouse is a must. Buy wisely and you can add both to a laptop and use only one usb port. That basically gives you the same input capability that you already have with a desktop, but the portability and flexibility (and limi
  • If you already suffer from an injury, I really think you want to avoid any additional risks... Ask an ergonomics expert. Most likely they would recommend a lightweight computer (to avoid shoulder injury on top), with some kind of external mouse. Maybe MS arc mouse as an example
    • by uncledrax (112438)

      I actually keep an external track ball for my laptop with me. It has the added benefit of not needing alot of space to move the mouse in, and it'll work on those expanded-steel type outdoor tables and everything.

      Oh.. plus if you're using a mouse at home or your desk, you avoid the R part of RSI..

      Honestly, and I'm wide-shouldered and big-handed, every laptop I've operated has way to small of a keyboard, and I found I could quickly get pains in my wrists from my natural inclination to have them severally bend

  • I've been on computers for over two decades and I can't ever say that I've had a proper setup. Everything from a hard wooden kitchen chair with a plywood tabletop with foldout metal legs that I screwed on myself to a half-decent computer desk with a cheapo leather chair. So far (knock on wood) I have yet to have any issues.

    What does it take to have a setup so bad that you get RSI? A couple of bricks in front of the keyboard as wrist rests?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gregrah (1605707)
      I suppose that genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices (how well you take care of yourself outside of the office) would likely play a large part in determining who develops RSI and who doesn't. As such, a "poor setup" is probably relative to the person who is using it.
      • by Hylandr (813770)
        I have to agree with this. I have been programming since I was 15 and am nearly 40 now and I refuse to use more than a 101 or 104 key straight keyboard. OTOH, I have injured my wrist(s) having sex more times than I can count. *Grin*

        - Dan.
    • my RSI analogy (Score:5, Informative)

      by nido (102070) <nido56&yahoo,com> on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:23AM (#33791682) Homepage

      What does it take to have a setup so bad that you get RSI?

      Here's a RSI analogy. Imagine that everyone reading this comment takes a match, lights it, and gently sets it on the floor (so that it's still burning). Some people will burn their house down, while others will watch as their match slowly burns out.

      The difference is in what the person's floor is made of. Some people's floors are made of tile, while other floors are a bit more flammable (maybe they're covered with a film of cooking oil).

      A predisposition for RSI usually isn't recognized until someone's set their body "on fire" (where the trigger is usually stress, poor workstation ergonomics, overuse, laptop keyboard/mouse, etc). The process to putting out the metaphorical fire is different for everyone. Some RSI sufferers benefit from improved workstations and other ergonomic equipment, others benefit from massage or other forms of hands-on therapy, while still others need anti-inflammatory pills or dietary changes or vitamin B6 or any of a thousand other interventions (many of which I've written about here on Slashdot - search my comment history or send me an email. :).

      The "kindling" for my RSI condition was set a year before the symptoms emerged, when I knocked myself out and nearly drowned at the lake. The cramping and pain in my hands, forearms, shoulders, neck and spine started in the months after I got a Thinkpad my first semester at teh college. If I hadn't sustained that head injury the year before, I'm certain that the RSI never would have appeared, or at least would have gone away when I stopped using the Thinkpad.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What does it take to have a setup so bad that you get RSI?

      Using only that setup. I've come to realize that RSI injuries are not caused by doing something bad too often but from also not doing other stuff enough. If someone is beginning to feel RSI pain, the answer isn't really to correct posture, it's to spend time exercising the affected area in ways that are different from the activity that's causing the RSI.

      My personal realization of this came about 10 years ago. I've always had terrible computer using posture. Everything they tell you not to do, I do. I slouch

    • by BiOFH (267622)

      You've also been exposed to the sun for decades, but [presumably] don't have skin cancer.
      http://skepticwiki.org/index.php/Argument_from_Incredulity [skepticwiki.org]

    • by klui (457783)

      A proper setup doesn't help as much as getting the proper amount of rest. Someone who is just starting to work with computers can probably be on a keyboard and mouse for 16+ hours/day and not be affected if they get enough rest (sleep well for the remaining 8). Once not getting enough sleep for the body to repair day-to-day wear and tear, then the bar will be lowered until the hump is reached and one dives into RSI pain. For me, I was on the computer for 14+ hours for practically 6-7 days/week and after 20

  • Use your feet. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by assemblerex (1275164) on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:37PM (#33791546)
    People missing limbs learn to use their feet. The severity of your injury is no different. Get a plastic carpet protector and a large laser mouse set to 500 - 1000 dpi.
    • by Menkhaf (627996)

      People missing limbs learn to use their feet. The severity of your injury is no different.
      Get a plastic carpet protector and a large laser mouse set to 500 - 1000 dpi.

      ...although I guess it depends on what limbs they're missing.

    • I appreciate your thinking, but it is short sighted. If he starts to use a foot-mouse exclusively , he will begin to develop problems in his foot and leg muscles. The root cause here is his computing habits which have caused damage in the first place.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gmhowell (26755)

      I don't have any RSI, but I can see that this method of computer use would free my hands, which would be highly beneficial to 99% of my computer use...

      • by jamesh (87723)

        I don't have any RSI, but I can see that this method of computer use would free my hands, which would be highly beneficial to 99% of my computer use...

        *snigger*

    • I started having problems with my right hand from using a mouse years ago. I've learned to use the mouse with both hands and will swap it over when necessary. It took a while to get used to, but now my left hand is almost as good as my right.

      This obviously doesn't help if keyboard usage is as bad for you.

  • I don't know if I had RSI or what, but I had pain in my wrists and forearms at the end of the day while I used a thinkpad (both with and without a decent ibm 101 keyboard). I am very sensitive to ergonomics -- I have a really nice chair, a really nice desk, the best lighting I can afford.

    I switched to a Mac Book Pro, and I never had any pain with the trackpad, even in the most awkward postures. The Apple 101 keyboard is also great for my ergonomics while I'm at my desk.

    Still, I had wrist pain after
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by santax (1541065)
      Where is my -1 "commercial" mod-option?
      • Try an Apple trackpad on a laptop. Beats any other trackpad on any device. I've tried many others and they all suck balls compared to the ease of use with Apples hardware. I know this is anecdotal but fwiw I really really mean it.

        • by TheLink (130905)
          I have tried the Apple trackpad (I have a MacBook on my desk). I still prefer my "el cheapo" a4tech k4-50D optical mouse to the track pad. I don't even bother with a mousepad.

          I'm now waiting for a trackball fan to reply to your "suck balls" remark :).
          • I use an Evoluent Vertical Mouse. I got used to having an ache in my right wrist without really relating it to mouse usage (I thought it was perhap from lifting weights when I was younger), but when I saw someone with one of these things I it clicked for me, and my wrist is a lot better these days :)

        • by pspahn (1175617)

          This is basically how I feel about the EeePc's trackpad.

          Okay, so it's smaller, but it works and it works well. When I first owned the machine, I brought my small portable mouse with me because I figured I would want to use it. That mouse is now collecting dust.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by somersault (912633)

          My MBP gave me little electric shocks whenever I used the trackpad while touching my arm on the seam around the edge of the case. Very good for my health, I'm sure..

          • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @08:48AM (#33793720) Homepage Journal

            My MBP gave me little electric shocks whenever I used the trackpad while touching my arm on the seam around the edge of the case. Very good for my health, I'm sure..

            No, you were just holding it wrong.

          • Without more information it's hard to figure out what was going on, but several people have had problems like this because the wiring in their house is not properly grounded. Obviously this isn't the sole cause if you got shocks while running on battery power (you didn't say), but getting shocks while touching a MBP may have nothing at all to do with the MBP.

            Health-wise, the shocks probably have a neutral impact but they are symptomatic of the potential for dangerous situations to occur later.

            • Can't remember if it was the case on battery power, but I think it happened both at work and home, so the grounding thing seems unlikely.

        • I agree with your assessment. But doing so automatically puts us in the Fanboi category, regardless of how well the Apple track pads are actually designed.

      • if you genuinely think well of a product, it does sometimes come off as the fake enthusiasm of advertising.

    • by Lotana (842533)

      Another option to go for when mouse hand pain starts is a trackball.

      Logitech Trackman Wheel is the first I tried and still with it. After a while of practice I can even competitively play FPSes in a LAN with it. Only downside is the occasional ball/roller cleaning due to the design, but it is very easily done.

      YMMV of course.

    • by klui (457783) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:29AM (#33791718)

      Yes, you have symptoms of RSI.

      To the original submitter: When I developed RSI many years ago, the initial conditions were tingling/pain in the tips of my fingers but would wander all over my hands and arms during day and night. Once I started to rest and not do as much typing/mousing, the symptoms would be much more pronounced as my body went over the hump and it could no longer repair the soft tissues. I then found normal keyboards and mice would exacerbate the symptoms since it doesn't leave my wrists in a natural position.

      So I purchased a split keyboard from IBM and symmetric track ball, not the funky ones designed for one hand. I hope you realize the purpose of a split keyboard. The track ball permitted me to use either hand to do mousing and it rested in between the split of my keyboard. Through time, the tips of my fingers were not uncomfortable so I could use a track pad as well. It behaved somewhat like a track ball--either hand could operate it.

      To this day I cannot use a mouse for more than 15 minutes of constant mousing. And my body is quite sensitive to how long I have been keyboarding/"mousing".

      Since everyone is different, you will have to find what works for you. If you have access to physical therapy facilities, they often have lots of devices you can try. That's where I tried something like 5 different types of keyboards and pointing devices and I chose what I use now. I have 5 IBM M15s.

      I can understand why you can't use a track pad because initially as your fingertips were sensitive, anything that touches those areas would feel aggravation. You should also be moving your entire arm while typing/mousing otherwise you would be putting excessive strain on your wrists. You should be able to use a track pad now after several years. But if you cannot, your work surface may be too high or you're not moving your entire arm while "tracking." Another thing that greatly helped me recover was to get a chair that have linear tracking arms. They supported my arms without impacting my nerves.

      Good luck.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheLink (130905)

        Ever tried methylcobalamin? It worked for me. Doc prescribed me a 500 microgram tablet after meals (note: it's microgram not milligram!).

        Basically it's a better absorbed B12 vitamin for the nerves. The pain and tingling are because your nerves are getting squished. So this helps them.

        In the long term if you help the nerves heal or at least survive, the rest of your body parts involved should adapt around them (after all many body builders do grow bigger wrists over time, and not all of them get RSI - so it'

        • by klui (457783)
          No, I never tried it. I tried some condroitin and glucosamine but ultimately they did not help as much as: rest, proper physical posture, better devices, cardiovascular exercise, and conscious limiting of my computer time.
      • by supercrisp (936036) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @06:53AM (#33792926)
        I want to mention too that some docs jump on RSI as a diagnosis before considering other likely possibilities.. I had RSI-like symptoms and because of all the hype was treated for them by doctors for a few years. It did no good. I finally asked my GP, who was also a dean of medicine with a lot of experience (so very lucky for me), and he said, you read a lot, right? I said yep, and he said "Okay, let me see your elbows." 33% of us have an ulnar nerve that is exposed when our arms are bent. I'm on of those. Reading in bed, propping books up on chair arms, using arm rests--all a no-go of me. Got rid of those habits, and my hands and wrists were fine in a couple of weeks. After years of people telling me about RSI and carpel tunnel and surgery. I know my case is one case and anecdotal.... But you might be in a similar spot. It's worth asking anyway, especially if your current treatments aren't panning out.
        • The ulnar nerve doesn't run through the carpal tunnel, and affects different fingers than the median nerve (which does).

          Your docs missed some really basic shit, I hope you stick with the current guy!

    • Sounds a lot like a placebo effect to me. Macbooks are pretty, but comfortable to work on? Uh, not really. I for one can't get over the hard right angle that passes for a wrist rest... It's fine on a desk, but get one of those things on your lap and ouch.

  • exercise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by someara (1342897) on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:51PM (#33791586)
    exercise. seriously. these will fix you up in about 3 months: http://www.google.com/search?&q=hand+grip [google.com]
    • Re:exercise (Score:4, Informative)

      by klui (457783) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:37AM (#33791748)
      Exercise is correct but using hand grips is the wrong way to go. When you have RSI your soft tissues are already damaged and trying to strengthen them right after they're injured would make things worse. They should be resting. Strengthening exercises would be done for other parts of the body like back and neck muscles. The other thing that would really help would be cardiovascular which promotes good blood flow. Only after you're relatively symptom free should you slowly strengthen your damaged soft tissues.
  • Strengthening (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cymeth (122330) on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:53PM (#33791594) Homepage

    Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not advice, but have you tried strengthening exercises?

    I have to use a very poorly designed desk for computing (think of like an 70s-80s era penpusher desk - now with computer, keyboard, mouse, dual monitor). This has led to some issues, although, not ever as bad as you have described. Recently a friend lent me a gyroscope toy, thingy. Basically you spin it, it provides some resistance and which will gradually build strength in your arm/hand wrist.

    I've found it to be really helpful - now I can type without pain and I can even do pushups again. YMMV.

    (cue the oblig wrist action comments:).

    • I've found it to be really helpful - now I can type without pain and I can even do pushups again. YMMV.

      (cue the oblig wrist action comments:).

      "/wrist" for turning into a jock? ;)

    • by DeBaas (470886)

      Certainly good advice. You should strengthen the arm and wrist. But although this may seem unrelated, improving your overall condition by sporting will help more than you might think. When I got some form of RSI in 1997, the ergonomic keyboards and mouses (only products for which I recommend Microsoft ;-) and training my wrists helped. But when I started to go to a fitness club, I noticed that I really beat the problem.
      I do think training the wrists was the most important, but if you got the will power, do

    • Or: How to detect early warning signs

      If you have trouble lifting that beer mug, try the other hand.

      If you have to move and TILT your head forward to drink, go see a doctor.

      AND How to avoid:

      I find that 24-oz wrist curls done with the left and right help avoid RSI. Just buy some beer at the store. Perform this exercise regularly. Better yet: as often as you'd like!

      Added bonus: The refrigerator door pull also works wonders, especially if you spread your legs evenly apart.

      Yes I am looking at you, Mr. Basement D

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        Or: How to detect early warning signs

        If you have trouble lifting that beer mug, try the other hand.

        If you have to move and TILT your head forward to drink, go see a doctor.

        If it's that bad then you should have gone see a doctor much earlier.

    • Yep, definitely strengthening together with ergonomic keyboard and mouse

      I used to have RSI years ago, now I don't even need the wrist braces. A Microsoft Natural keyboard helped a lot, a digitizer instead of a mouse helped even more.
      And then I started to play guitar and I think it has helped the most.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      General posture is also important: sit straight up, not slumped against your back rest.

      I've had RSI symptoms, and went for treatment/advice. Mostly the second as treatment was not necessary yet, and one of the main things I was taught was to sit straight up. I even got a special balance pillow for that, forcing you to actively sit straight up! Helped a lot.

      Further advices that I received: use a flat keyboard. Do not lift up those stands at the back. The flatter the better, the lower above your desk the be

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SolitaryMan (538416)
      I believe that gyroscope thingy you are talking about is called "powerball": http://www.powerballs.com/ [powerballs.com]
  • Get a kitchen timer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:01AM (#33791614) Journal

    Get a kitchen timer and a laptop and a tablet. Set the timer for 30 minutes and bang away at the desk. When the bell rings, move the laptop to the top of the filing cabinet for 30 minutes. When the bell rings again, take it to the couch. Next time the bell rings, move to the other side of the couch and use the tablet. Then take a meeting and lunch. Start back at the desk again after lunch. Get up now and then. Take a walk. Evenings and weekends, pull some weeds play WII Fit for a half hour, then billiards and table tennis or whatever. Get different motions going on. RSI isn't about excess motion. It's about repetitive motion. Different motions help make it go away.

    • by DynaSoar (714234) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:27AM (#33791708) Journal

      Get a kitchen timer and a laptop and a tablet. Set the timer for 30 minutes and bang away at the desk. When the bell rings, move the laptop to the top of the filing cabinet for 30 minutes. When the bell rings again, take it to the couch. Next time the bell rings, move to the other side of the couch and use the tablet. Then take a meeting and lunch. Start back at the desk again after lunch. Get up now and then. Take a walk. Evenings and weekends, pull some weeds play WII Fit for a half hour, then billiards and table tennis or whatever. Get different motions going on. RSI isn't about excess motion. It's about repetitive motion. Different motions help make it go away.

      No, different motions help prevent it. Once inflamed, repetitive motion of any sort is more likely to aggravate it. If there's permanent damage, any repetitive motions will exacerbate it to the extent that motion uses the damaged parts, and trying to force use on other parts taking up the slack can irritate them. Changing positions between equally unsuitable orientations will in turn irritate the damaged part and stress the as yet undamaged. The position that uses the injured parts least and the uninjured maximally and proportional to their abilities will be least likely to cause strain, pain and more injury. Using that position with the mechanism requiring least effort is optimal.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by symbolset (646467)

        I remember once when I was a kid seeing the doctor for the second time. I thought I needed something to fix, so I twisted my arm up behind my back until my fingers touched my neck. "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."

        "Son," he said - "pain is your body's way of saying 'don't do that.'"

        Words to live by.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sheriff_p (138609)

      I like this idea. Also, here are the tricks I use to manage mine:

      - Enforced break software like AntiRSI for the Mac, or WorkRave for the others
      - Either lying in bed with a laptop or using a Natural Keyboard
      - Regular shoulder dislocates

  • OP - you need to understand that except for a very few people who fully adapt to nonstandard input devices, most of the other input devices you might try will do nothing but slow down your work rate. Any benefits you might find from using those devices are just as likely due to the reduced work rate as they are from the design of the devices themselves.

    You may want to consider a lifestyle and work habit change. Keep using "comfy" standard input devices while you are on the road, with the obvious and relat

  • From my own experience:

    1) Low-pressure/frictionless keys/touchscreens can only make so much difference. Just not hitting the thing so damned hard makes a much more significant difference.

    2) Don't sleep on your wrists. Seriously, don't put your arm under your pillow while you sleep. This has a deceptively catastrophic impact on the crucial healing period an all-day typist's wrists need during the their hands' sole extended immobility period.

    3) Keep your wrists straight while you type. I can't emphasize t

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      By the way if you also suffer from neck/back pain your monitor is probably not close enough to head level.

      Thanks for the reminder!

      (puts 10 cm high metal box under monitor)

    • 2) Don't sleep on your wrists. Seriously, don't put your arm under your pillow while you sleep. This has a deceptively catastrophic impact on the crucial healing period an all-day typist's wrists need during the their hands' sole extended immobility period.

      I don't sleep with my arm under the pillow, but sleeping on my side, I think I might inadvertently roll over/lean on my arm that way. Another thing to watch out for.

    • by klui (457783)

      3) Keep your wrists straight while you type.

      I think the important point you were trying to convey is when you type you need to extend your entire arm to reach non-home keys and not just extend your fingers. Chairs with linear tracking arms allow one to do this while the arms support the meaty part of arms instead of the wrists where the nerves are much closer to the surface and more prone to irritation.

  • I've got one very damaged wrist and one embedded titanium bar, both victim of several accidents and far too much surgery for body parts to endure without accumulating more damage in the repair process. I can't write with a pencil for more than two minutes due to the tendons being as much scar tissue as anything else.

    But my thumbs work fine by themselves. Thus I use trackballs like the Logitech M570. Once learned and used at highest response speed, I can, for instance, play an entire game of solitaire in les

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      An ex of mine who was in the ergonomics field argued against using trackballs for the very reason you like them: it puts all the movement on an even smaller part of your body than a mouse: just the thumb (or a few fingers). Instead of using your whole arm to move that mouse around (if you're using your wrist for most mouse movement you're doing it wrong and should lower the speed).

  • I had a similar problem. It started with neckache and backache when I was sitting for a long time. Then my wrists would hurt when I practiced piano. Then my wrists and shoulders hurt all the time. I ended up seeing a doctor when I lost feeling in my first three digits on each hand. They ended up taking back x-rays; I had a spine that looks more like a "/" than an S. Nerves were getting pinched in my shoulders and my wrists.

    So, I went to a chiropractor, and after a couple of months my spine looked norm

  • I use a real man's laptop.

    It's a log cut in half with random pc parts shoved inside. The two hellish halves are held together with rail road stakes and a few lengths of chain. (Legend has it they were forged in the depths of hell by Hades himself, but that's just what the guy at Home Depot told me.)

    Between the twigs, bugs and pine cones still attached to the raw timber there really isn't much room for comfort, but then again if I had built it for comfort I might as well have made it a functional PC too. You

  • My solution was to get a laptop dock at home and work. For good on the move typing I go for a laptop with a full sized keyboard and numb-pad (got a HP right now) and a large comfortable Logitech M950 mouse (robust and has a tiny USB dongle you can leave plugged in all the time). I dont use the touch pad as I find it makes me want to bend my wrists inwards to hard at times (always use an Apple cordless touchpad).
  • What kind of work are you trying to do? Your post asks about pointing devices, but if you're word-processing or coding, reconsider whether you even need a pointing device. Most of my computer work is word-processing or coding, i.e., just typing characters. I used to use mouse-based editors and word-processors, and my RSI problems were all related to my pointing device -- every time I would reach for the mouse, that's when it would hurt. Since you're asking about pointing devices, it sounds like you also hav
  • As someone who has suffered from chronic RSI for years, your best bet is an external input device. You can alternate between a mouse, and some of the other options out there. When I'm on the road, I've found the ozupad to be a decent alternative option. http://www.ozupad.com/ [ozupad.com] Between a tracpad, a mouse, and an ozupad, you can change things up enough to hopefully avoid the worst of the repetitive motions.
  • The lightest option for carrying around in a mobile environment is speech recognition. Your vocal chords travel around with you anyway. If you decide you need a headset, they're lighter than pretty much any mouse, trackpad or trackball. Best of all, your voice puts absolutely zero strain on your carpal tunnel.

    Of course, it sucks for things like coding but if risking your carpal tunnels means getting to never use computers, limited access is still infinity times better than no access.

    That addresses the light

  • Seriously, I used to have RSI issues until I became a Mac laptop user. Two reasons why:

    • Macbook's are as thick (physically) as most laptops you can buy, which are generally quite fat in comparison
    • I find Ctrl-Click or two finger tap less stressful on my arm when doing a right click than trying to hit a separate button on the touchpad
  • First off, get and install workrave [workrave.org]. It's a GPL program that works on MS windows and Linux. It will time and prompt for micro- and macro- breaks, which are key to recovering from RSI, and preventing RSI from developing/degrading. Micro- and macro-breaks are important for everyone.

    Second, always use an external pointing device. It could be a mouse, trackball, or wacom tablet. When you work, set them up on the desk at the proper height so your forearms are flat and level to the floor, and supported

  • If my experience is any indication(YMMV), avoid stylus-based like the plague. It doesn't sound like mine is as bad as yours (I can go 8-10 hours at the keyboard before the pain gets unbearable) but any kind of touch interface (my old Fujitsu Tablet, NDS, and Android phone) has my fingers numb inside of an hour.

  • I developed cramps and aches in my right hand after having use small travel mice for too long. Not only was the claw-like grip bad for my hand, but the force required to push the buttons on these particular mice was too high.

    I then got a WowPen Joy, slanted mouse, but I do not recommend it.
    The force required to push the buttons was still too high, so it was painful to use. Eventually, I opened it up, desoldered the hard switches and soldered in softer switches, and now I have no problems using the mouse.

    I l

  • Seriously, it has been by far the best purchase to date out of the money I've spent trying to cure my RSI.

    It comes and goes for me, particularly bad when I'm not using my split keyboard for any long period of time. My wrists would feel tingly which became especially noticeable at night. I even bought an Evoluent vertical mouse and that made little to no difference.

    People may frown at people like us on this forum and indeed I've known people with terrible setups to have no problems whatsoever, but some of

  • I make sure I carry round a Logitech Trackman Wheel for using with my laptop. As someone who has had RSI in the past its just something I have in my laptop carry bag. I went for the corded in the end rather than wireless (only one extra thing to carry round and no batteries to worry about).

  • If it hurts ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arthurpaliden (939626) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @08:17AM (#33793422)
    Don't do it. Pain is your bodies way of telling you to stop doing something.
  • I used to suffer from a very acute case of RSI, requiring wearing a wrist brace and seeing a physiotherapist twice a week for more than a year. As a programmer, I seriously considered finding a new career but thankfully, I have recovered. Of course, recovery is relative here and as you know, you never come back to your college days when you could abuse your writs with all nighters after all nighters, you are always as risk. In my case, I can type without wrist braces for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, an

  • by dindi (78034)

    Apple keyboards on laptops are the exact same (ok, almost) replica of their full-size keyboards. That is not to say it would help your RSI, just to say, that when using a full-size key, it is not needed to switch.

    I find the LARGE pointing surface pretty ergonomic on the laptop, it is possible to thumb-operate if you are willing to learn it.

    My take on this issu is the following : I have been waiting for a good laptop-like keyboard for the desktop as I find them easier to type on. Then came the apple aluminum

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