MacBreakZ is a sophisticated Personal Ergonomic Assistant designed to promote healthy and productive computer use.
If you suffer from RSI or think you might be, you should see a qualified medical professional as soon as possible. No software tool or book can ever hope to replace the advice of a good doctor.
The first step towards recovery is to stop the offending activity. In other words, stop using your computer!
Unfortunately, things are rarely this simple. IT professionals and an increasing proportion of all clerical workers use computers extensively at work and cannot simply stop using them.
In any event, full recovery from RSI or CTD injuries usually requires a lot of time (usually many years). If you do not want to give up computer work altogether, you will at least need to make sure that you do not re-injure yourself.
Many RSI sufferers are caught in a cycle of recovery and re-injury. When the symptoms are bad sufferers are prepared to follow advice, limit work hours, take more breaks, be especially careful, etc. As soon as they feel better again, they are eager to resume previous levels of computer use and promptly re-injure themselves, throwing their recovery process back by many months in the process.
MacBreakZ is no silver bullet against RSI. It can, however help with 3 of the major recovery factors, namely:
It is important to recognize that if you are already injured, you should talk about any new form of physical therapy or exercise with your doctors. DO NOT engage in any exercise program without clearing it with your doctor first!
MacBreakZ will suggest rest periods at appropriate times throughout your work day. Unlike many similar programs, it will do this based on your actual computer usage. If you are already injured you should respect these breaks rigorously and find the right level for yourself. Start at 10 minutes break every 20 minutes. This is the normally recommended ratio for RSI prevention. Depending on how serious your injury is, you may need to resort to much longer breaks at shorter intervals.
Your muscles, tendons and joints need time to recover from repetitive activities and static posture. This is not only the case at the end of the work day, but also continually throughout the day. Working on your computer for 3 straight hours without interruption will cause much more damage than working on the computer for 4 hours with regular breaks.
During rest periods MacBreakZ will suggest a range of easy stretching exercises which you can do at your desk. Clear all new exercise programs with your doctors first! Doing the wrong kind of exercise may lead to injury and a worsening of your condition. The stretching routines in MacBreakZ can be found in many other publications, but this does not guarantee that they will be appropriate for you. If you feel any discomfort doing an exercise stop immediately.
Stretching is one of the most effective and simple ways of counteracting CTD injuries. Regular stretching breaks increase blood flow to the muscles and tendons, prevent cramped posture and the buildup of tension in the muscles. It strengthens the tendons and relaxes the body. It also has stress relieving qualities.
During rest periods MacBreakZ displays ergonomic tips, tricks and basic know-how.
The emergence of painful conditions is usually due to incorrect posture and faulty keyboard and mouse technique. While pacing and stretching can relief symptoms, without behavior modification the symptoms will reappear. Advice on correct posture, technique and workspace setup is therefore of paramount importance.