A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is occupational overuse syndrome, non-specific arm pain or work related upper limb disorder. RSI caused from overusing the hands to perform a repetitive task, such as typing, writing, or clicking a mouse. Unfortunately, most people do not understand what RSI is or how dangerous it can be. You can easily prevent RSI using open source software called Workrave.
What are the symptoms of RSI?
I’m quoting from this page. Do you experience:
- Fatigue or lack of endurance?
- Weakness in the hands or forearms?
- Tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation?
- Heaviness: Do your hands feel like dead weight?
- Clumsiness: Do you keep dropping things?
- Lack of strength in your hands? Is it harder to open jars? Cut vegetables?
- Lack of control or coordination?
- Chronically cold hands?
- Heightened awareness? Just being slightly more aware of a body part can be a clue that something is wrong.
- Frequent self-massage (subconsciously)?
- Sympathy pains? Do your hands hurt when someone else talks about their hand pain?
How to reduce your risk of Developing RSI
- Take breaks, when using your computer, every 30 minutes or so. Use software such as workrave to prevent RSI.
- Regular exercise can prevent all sort of injuries including RSI.
- Use good posture. Adjust your computer desk and chair to support muscles necessary for good posture.
Workrave is a free open source software application intended to prevent computer users from developing RSI or myopia. The software periodically locks the screen while an animated character, “Miss Workrave,” walks the user through various stretching exercises and urges them to take a coffee break. The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit. The program works under MS-Windows and Linux, UNIX-like operating systems.
Type the following apt command/apt-get command under a Debian / Ubuntu Linux:
$ sudo apt-get install workrave
Fedora Linux user should type the following dnf command:
$ sudo dnf install workrave
RHEL/CentOS Linux user should enable EPEL repo and install it using yum command:
### [ tested on a CentOS/RHEL 7.x and clones ] ###
$ sudo yum install epel-release
$ sudo yum install https://rpms.remirepo.net/enterprise/remi-release-7.rpm
$ sudo yum install workrave
Arch Linux user type the following pacman command to install it:
$ sudo pacman -S workrave
FreeBSD user can install it using the following pkg command:
# pkg install workrave
OpenBSD user can install it using the following pkg_add command
$ doas pkg_add workrave
How to configure workrave
Workrave works as an applet which is a small application whose user interface resides within a panel. You need to add workrave to panel to control behavior and appearance of the software.
Adding a New Workrave Object To Panel
- Right-click on a vacant space on a panel to open the panel popup menu.
- Choose Add to Panel.
- The Add to Panel dialog opens.The available panel objects are listed alphabetically, with launchers at the top. Select workrave applet and click on Add button.
How Do I Modify Properties Of Workrave Software?
To modify the properties of an object workrave, perform the following steps:
- Right-click on the workrave object to open the panel object popup.
- Choose Preference. Use the Properties dialog to modify the properties as required.
Workrave in Action
The main window shows the time remaining until it suggests a pause. The windows can be closed and you will the time remaining on the panel itself:
The break prelude window, bugging you to take a micro-pause: