Avoiding RSI at Google

Dr. Taraneh Razavi, a staff doctor at Google, has posted an article on the Google Blog (Avoiding RSI) about dealing with repetitive stress injury in the workplace.

The article rightly points out the best way to avoid RSI:

The key to treatment is prevention. Research shows that injuries decrease and productivity increases when employers encourage stretch breaks and stress the importance of ergonomics.

In addition, Dr. Razavi provides some specific suggestions:

  • Take frequent breaks
  • Perform exercises to stretch properly
  • Maintain correct posture
  • Make sure your workstation is set up ergonomically
  • Limit non-essential computer use
  • Don’t ignore the pain – see a doctor

If you’ve read this site, all of these tips should look pretty familiar, but they certainly bear repeating.

Randy Rasa

Randy is an engineer/programmer/web designer who has suffered from repetitive strain injury off and on for over a decade.


  1. I think all the things that Dr. Razavi noted are correct. In addition, I have found that using a cervical pillow will also help to reduce stress on the cervical spine, which is where the nerves exit that innervate or control the upper extremities. This could fall under the “posture” category. A cervical pillow is easy to find. They range in price from $20-$100 dollars depending on the type. A more expensive pillow would have memory foam that would enable it to conform to any head size, then regain it’s original shape when not in use. It’s best to go to a store that has a variety so you can try them out before you buy them. You should only be sleeping on your back (with a pillow under your knees) or on your side (with a pillow between your knees). You should never be on your stomach because you have to have your head turned to breath. This creates stress on the neck muscles and flattens the cervical spine, potentially interfering with normal biomechanics and structural integrity.

  2. Dr. Razavi summed it up very well, although it all might not be enough.

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