Information technology  

Software to help computer users avoid RSI

19 December 2006

Sliema, Malta. Desk Doctor is a new program that runs in the background on a computer and prompts the user to do preventative exercise when needed.

A high proportion of computer workers are afflicted with RSI (repetitive strain injury) which builds up through poor posture, fixed sitting position and repetitive movements. If left untreated, RSI can limit the ability to work. The familiar techniques used to fight RSI involve better workplace ergonomics and taking frequent breaks. While proven helpful, these "passive" measures often are not potent enough to prevent problems like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome developing.

Even the best consultation is wasted if the advice is not followed.
Often a practitioner's best efforts are thwarted as exercise schedules are rarely followed faithfully enough to be fully effective.

Desk Doctor, however, now puts a software tools in the hands of office workers to combat all forms of upper body RSI more powerfully.

"We have the know-how to stop RSI developing," says Einspine founder and neurophysiologist Dr. Russ Hornstein, "but the most effective measures are not usually called into play until someone visits a specialist. By this time RSI is already far-advanced and much tougher to fix. We developed Desk Doctor to solve this problem."

The first part works in a similar way to a medical
consultation with history-taking and a functional assessment, including a number of video-guided orthopaedic tests. Next, using the analytical tools that have been built into the program, Desk Doctor compiles a set of finely tuned exercises directly addressing the user's needs.

"The early stages of RSI are easy to reverse when the root cause of a problem is understood and then and targeted regularly with appropriate exercises," says Dr. Hornstein. "With its personal treatment plan of specific exercises, Desk Doctor deals actively with areas showing even the first signs of trouble."

Reminders are flexible and unobtrusive and the exercises pleasant and enjoyable. Typing and using the mouse decreases a Health Score, which appears as a number on the screen.

Taking natural breaks or doing an exercise increases it. A low score
indicates a higher risk of getting RSI and it is the user's job to do the
exercises to keep the score up. By keeping a good average Health Score, good musculoskeletal health is maintained. The exercises are presented in high-quality video and performed by a professional exercise coach.

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