2019 Guide to RSI Tools/Tricks


  1. Dictation, Software, and Accessories
  2. General Ergonomics
  3. Ergonomic keyboards as of Ma 2019
  4. Two Tools - things I carry everywhere
    1. Cupping and indirect stretching (moving the hand/tendon/muscles while a cup is restraining the skin)
    2. Using a lacrosse ball to stretch unexpected places
  5. Observations, Exercises, and Coping strategies

Dictation, Software, and Accessories

J's Tech Stack:


Use Speech Recognition (Still using the discontinued Dragon Dictate on Mac at this point :/ . Going to try new Dragon on Mac via VMWare)

Dictate a ton on my iPhone

With Airpods – carry in DZANHOT AirPods Case 7 in 1 Airpods (I got a better carabiner). AirPods are convenient and pretty good but still have slight lag after you hit dictate

Also have Apple Wired headphones. To prevent tangle, carry in backpack this case, along with lightning to headphone jack cable: "Earphone Carrying Case HIFEER Portable Protection Hard EVA Headphone Case Set of 2 Pouch Storage Bags"

With Prism Glasses so you have better posture. Carry in Large Glasses Case. Have 3 sets: for car, backpack, desk.

Also use iPad Air when hands need a break (with Prism Glasses). Use case/stand: Valkit for New iPad 9.7 Case 2017, iPad Air Case, 360 Rotating Stand Smart Protective Swivel Case Cover for Apple New iPad 9.7 2018 and iPad Air

Software Tools:

Keyboard Maestro: Remap caps lock to enter and backtick to backspace for easier one-hand typing. Macros: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UILjZqhDEAJCXaTTcHBbUfnKuylr1nxQ

Experimenting with: https://textexpander.com/

Keeping a note called "Blurbs" in SimpleNote where I copy paste any text I might need to send repeatedly

General Ergonomics

Improv ergonomics everywhere you go. Keyboard belongs way lower than you expect. Top quadrant of screen at eye level. Separate keyboard just below elbow level (if it's a standard keyboard, ideally with negative tilt (stick some objects under it to make it tilt a little away from you)).

Improv Standing Desk while Traveling

Ergonomic keyboards as of May 2019

Having tried all manner of keyboards, the one that works for me (relieving my right inner wrist/thumb carpal tunnel pain), is the https://ergodox-ez.com/ mounted vertically, using rubber bands (formerly sticky back velcro squares), to the Ascent Accessory for Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard https://www.amazon.com/Ascent-Accessory-Freestyle2-Ergonomic-Keyboard/dp/B00455EU7U. (I also had to shove some extra material underneath the outer sides of the keyboard, in between the keyboard and the bottom metal plate to make it not wobble). When ordering the ergodox-ez, I recommend getting the Tilt/Tent Kit for an extra $25. This makes it so you can carry it anywhere and still have it be tilted a bit at least.

My right hand has more problems than my left, so I also set up a one handed mirrored keyboard layout using https://github.com/qubist/mirrorboard-mac. In general, if you are thinking of buying a one-handed keyboard, my recommendation is don't. Just setup a one-handed keyboard layout in software. (For slightly out of date list of other one-handed typing resources check out. [One-Hand Typing software](http://www.onehandkeyboard.org/one-hand-typing-software/))

Layout (WIP):

Jacob’s Ergodox 0.3.5 – Includes one handed features for the left hand: https://configure.ergodox-ez.com/ergodox-ez/layouts/JaJE7/latest/0 (May 20th, 2019)

Jacob’s Ergodox 0.2.7 https://configure.ergodox-ez.com/keyboard_layouts/vlpjbm/edit

Other details of this setup: gooseneck microphone from Invons or TKGOU sits on my desktop so it is easier to get up and walk away from my desktop. This one is only $17 and does the trick.

Also, Evoluent VM4R VerticalMouse 4 Right Hand Ergonomic Mouse with Wired USB Connection (Regular Size)

Learning the new keyboard layout:

Ideally print out the layouts and put them on the wall. Short of that, one pro tip (useful in general) is to use the new poorly known chrome feature settings/more tools/create shortcut > (choose "Open as Window" option). This will allow you to have the chrome tab appear like its a separate application on your computer so you can easily cmd tab back to it for reference.

Therapy techniques that have been highly impactful

TWO critical tools, cupping set and lacrosse ball. Order below for under $30 total

  1. SPEQUIX Professional Silicone Cupping Therapy Set (3 Sizes,6 Pieces) Anti-Slip Silicone Massage Cups with Storage Bag Chinese Silicone Cups for Anti Cellulite, Detox, Myofascial Massage https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072BZZCKJ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_g9PoBb3BMPC51
    1. Optional: Coconut Oil https://www.amazon.com/Garden-Life-Organic-Virgin-Coconut/dp/B06VZ3SRGD/ref=sr_1_4_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1532972382&sr=8-4&keywords=coconut%2Boil&th=1
  2. Champion Sports Nocase Lacrosse Ball https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JC1F9BW?ref=yo_pop_ma_swf

Two techniques - Things I carry everywhere

Cupping and indirect stretching (moving the hand/tendon/muscles while a cup is restraining the skin)

I was just sitting in a café working on this and my hands started to hurt. So I pulled out my cupping set and the second smallest cup right over my carpal tunnel area of my wrist (interior side), the smallest cup roughly opposite it on the exterior side of my wrist, and a 3rd cup of the second smallest size on the exterior side of my upper forearm (note: it is easier to do this with massage oil; I like coconut oil but anything works, even no oil).

Then I extended my arms out to the left and right sides, palms down, dropped my shoulders and flexed and extended my wrists with my fingers straight 20 times. I experimented with rotating my palms to the sky and during the same thing. My hand did not hurt afterwards and I was able to keep working!

Note: this arms out stretch and flexing/extending of wrists works without the cups (my PT recommended I do it 20 times, 3x/day). But it's even better with them!

Using a lacrosse ball to stretch unexpected places

One of the biggest surprises in my healing process was to discover that massaging seemingly unrelated parts of my arm and wrist helped a great deal. For instance, for me, massaging the interior pinky side of my wrist, almost as far as the ulnar bone, felt great and relieved my carpal tunnel symptoms. Later, I discovered that pressing on the back (exterior) of my wrist with the lacrosse ball against the table by pushing on my injured arm with my other arm also seemed to release it. Similarly pressing into muscles higher on my arm also feels great.

Other Observations and Coping strategies

As always, qigong in my number one exercise, especially standing postures with the arms up like Embrace the Tree

Sometimes when I take a nap (even 10-20 min) or briefly fall asleep in yoga Savasana I feel this dramatic release of tension in my arm

Melted paraffin wax machine – recommended by hand therapist. Put wax machine on a cookie sheet or something to catch drips, dunk hand in, then use a mug to pour hot wax over arm, all the way up to elbow. Be sure to get all sides; takes some awkward twisting. Then put arm in a plastic bag and wrap in a towel. I find doing this for 10 min 2-3 times makes a huge difference.