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Repetitive Strain Injury: A Computer User's Guide Paperback – February 15, 1994

24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

This book has become a bible for those suffering from RSI. It explains what to ask your doctor (and why) when you go in for a diagnosis; it also lists more than two dozen types of RSI and related conditions, from cervical radiculopathy to reflex sympathetic dysfunction to fibromyalgia. If these terms sound intimidating, then the book succeeds in bringing them down to clear, manageable definitions.

Quilter and Pascarelli also delineate the causes of RSI that are often unconsidered, including being obese, typing while cradling the phone with your shoulder, and having long fingernails. They don't discuss many of the different surgeries used for RSI but instead choose to discuss the various kinds of physical and occupational therapy treatments; acupuncture; stretching; vitamins and nutrition; relaxation techniques, deep tissue massage, and guided visualization. There's also an extensive list of helpful tricks for adapting to living with RSI, from making changes in the kitchen to re-learning how to drive.

This is also the RSI book if you’re looking for information on the psychological ramifications of RSI and how to handle both time off from work and the return to the office.

From Publishers Weekly

In this highly instructive and readable guide to health in the age of computers, Pascarelli, professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University and Cornell Medical Center, and Quilter, a health writer, explore the causes, symptoms and treatments of varied injuries stemming from prolonged computer keyboard work. RSI (repetitive strain injury) is the authors' catchword for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendinitis, epycondylitis (also called tennis elbow) and a slew of other potentially chronic conditions that render not just computer work but also driving, washing dishes, holding a phone and opening a book difficult, if not agonizing. The authors identify the factors contributing to RSI; emphasize preventive measures, such as upper-body exercises, stretches and the pacing of keyboard work; and insist that finding the right professional diagnosis and treatment is the basis for recovery. They also include names of RSI support groups, ergonomic catalogues and on-line newsgroups. Each chapter offers personal exercises and checklists along with countless anecdotes from commiserating RSI sufferers. If some readers find this work somewhat repetitive and alarmist--all too ready to proclaim RSI "the occupational epidemic of the '90s" and to attribute it to overly demanding office productivity standards--most will find it a consoling trove of practical advice.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (February 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471595330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471595335
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Adult Reader in Calgary on July 20, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Repetitive Strain Injury: A Computer User's Guide" by Pascarelli is a good introduction for those who know nothing about RSI. Even a cursory search of the Internet will turn up several references to this book as the classic on the subject. It describes what RSI is, what the risk factors are, how to evaluate your physician in terms of his or her RSI awareness, how to treat RSI symptoms, and it offers tips on workstation configuration, typing and mouse technique, monitor settings, and daily living. If you think you have RSI and your first instinct is to go out and buy yourself a wrist wrest and a splint, stop and read this book first, it explains why these amateurish attempts at self treatment are a bad idea. I was disappointed that the book didn't offer more specific advice for actually treating RSI, though I understand that would have been difficult given the large number of causes and manifestations of the disorder. The book claims on the front cover to contain a "seven point program for treatment", but most of the advice for treatment itself consists of "go see a doctor". This is frustrating given the book's repeated claim that most doctors know nothing about RSI or don't even believe in it in the first place. Another thing that really annoyed me was the book's assertion that employers are largely responsible for RSI. The basic message was: "RSI isn't your fault. It's just another example of how `the Man' exploits you in a thankless and mindless job." In my case, my RSI was caused by my own obsessive work habits. The book does list "Driven Behavior" as a risk factor for RSI, but it gets only a perfunctory mention.Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
After years of extreme pain caused by ...poor working conditions ..., I ended up disabled. I found this book four years later. In that time, I had seen two M.D.'s, three chiropracters and two orthopedic surgeons. I was diagnosed as having a pinched nerve.
After reading this book, I made an appointment with Dr. Pascarelli. I was the last new patient he took before retiring.
He diagnosed me as having thoracic outlet syndrome, and wrote up a script of physical therapy treatment for me, which I took back to Ohio and showed to the doctor's here. I still live in constant pain because of permanent muscle damage in my upper back because this wasn't diagnosed sooner, but at least the pain is bearable. I also have problems using my arms and hands. But, today I'm partially disabled instead of totally disabled.
Maybe, if one of the doctor's that had examined me before had Dr. Pascarelli's knowledge, I wouldn't be living in pain today. Or, if I had the knowledge this book provides....
If you use a computer, read this book and follow the advice. You don't have to end up living in pain.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Cathy Manly on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by both a physical therapist and a friend with RSI. I found it to be wonderfully refreshing and informative, and would recommend it to anyone worrying about any form of computer-related RSI. The authors treat the reader with respect and intelligence, explaining in detail what is going on and what you can do (including when to get professional help and how to make the most of it). Most importantly, they give you hope that you can improve your RSI situation. I have had several professionals tell me that RSI problems are not reversable, even if you only have a minor case ("all you can do is cope"). The authors of this book debunk this myth, explaining the spectrum of both injuries and actions you can take to help yourself.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The current United States health care system does not encourage preventative care in general. Most physicians and surgeons are not trained to deal with repetitive strain injuries in a proactive manner, and there is little incentive to do so even if one has the inclination. We are trained (and rewarded) to deal with the endstage, when the damage has already been done. It is as though we are taught how to repair an automobile engine without being taught how (or why) to change the oil every so often.
I do not wish to give the impression that the medical community is apathetic or indifferent regarding this complex and enigmatic topic. There is still considerable scientific controversy regarding the definition, classification, and pathophysiology of repetitive strain injuries (translation: we don't entirely understand nor agree upon what they are, what to call them, or what exactly causes them). There are several factors which contribute to the development of these conditions. Every patient is a unique individual with unique circumstances (health status, psychological/job satisfaction issues, body habitus, etc.). Therefore, a single comprehensive treatment plan which benefits everybody simply cannot be formulated.
You are not likely to get much help from a physician or surgeon with respect to PREVENTION of repetitive strain injuries. YOU must take the initiative, educate yourself, and change your ergonomic environment and lifestyle. By the time one needs a consultation with a hand surgeon (disclosure statement: I am a fellowship trained orthopaedic hand surgeon), one is usually already up the proverbial creek, hands tingling as they flail away with an inappropriately sized paddle...
Read this book. It is not a panacea (none exists), but it is an excellent place to start.
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