How To Avoid Pain When Taking A Typing Speed Test

Taking a typing speed test can be quite stressful especially if you are doing this at a job interview. For some people typing under pressure can become a painful experience. If you have ever experienced pain when you are typing (or even some mild discomfort), its important that you address the reasons why this is happening and take the appropriate action to prevent long term damage. These strategies apply to anyone using the keyboard so that you can avoid future problems.Often typists, or people who use the keyboard for prolonged periods of time, can start to suffer from a condition know as Repetitive Stress Injury (also know as Repetitive Stain Injury). This condition is caused by performing the same tasks over and over again and is common in several jobs ranging from keyboard operators to hairdressers – basically any job where a common action is performed again and again repeatedly.Repetitive Stress Injury is a collective term that describes a range of conditions that affect the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Some of these common conditions are Tenosynovitis – inflammation of the tendon sheath, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – the compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome – compression of the ulnar nerve where it passes the elbow near the “funny bone” and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome which affects the nerves and blood vessels of the neck and shoulder.How do I avoid getting RSI?Prevention is always better than cure and there are a number of simple ways that you can help to avoid developing Repetitive Stress Injury. When learning to type it is very important to establish good habits from the start. The way you sit when you type and the set up of your keyboard and equipment will have a bearing on the impact typing has on your body.Follow this simple ten step checklist to ensure you are positioned correctly whilst using your keyboard.1. When looking straight ahead your eye line should be level with the top tool bar.2. Your forearms should be level when your fingers are placed on the keyboard and there shouldn’t be any bend in the wrist.3. Your thighs should be level or slope slightly downwards with your feet placed flat on the floor in front of you (if you are small and can’t reach the floor then use a foot rest).4. You should be able to draw a straight line from the centre of your forearm down through your wrist into the middle finger – do not kink your wrists outwards or inwards.5. Make sure that you are sitting upright with a straight back posture – do not hunch over your keyboard or monitor.6. Your head should sit straight on top of your neck and not dropped forward which would put pressure on the vertebrae of your neck and upper back. This in turn can cause damage to a number of nerves and may be the source of pain you are feeling in your arms.7. Stay as relaxed as you can when typing – remember to breath deeply and regularly and allow the words to flow in an easy manner.8. Use as little pressure as possible when striking the keys – gone are the days of the manual typewriter when quite a bit of force was required. With modern keyboards very little pressure is needed.9. Take regular breaks – get up and walk around at least every 30 minutes. If possible incorporate exercises that stretch your arms and back.10. Avoid typing non stop for long periods of time and when you pause get into the habit of taking your fingers away from the keyboard and resting your hands in your lap.If you feel any pain – stop at once. Check your typing position and also whether you are typing with tension. Take a break and do some breathing and exercises to relax the body. If pain persists get a medical opinion – don’t just carry on and ignore it. Its much better to address the issue early to prevent long term persistent problems.If you follow the above advice and make sure you are looking after yourself whilst typing, then taking a typing speed test shouldn’t be a cause for any physical pain or discomfort.

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