Students Tilburg University

RSI/CANS/"mouse arm"

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) − also known in the Netherlands as CANS (Complaints of Arm, Neck and/or Shoulder) − is a common cause of motor impairment. Over a thousand students at Tilburg University have reported experiencing considerable pain from RSI-like symptoms (Studentenmonitor, May 2007).

RSI is caused by prolonged repetition of the same movements, ergonomically incorrect posture and incorrect adjustment of computer equipment, chairs and desks. It is therefore used as an umbrella term for various pain complaints experienced in the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands as a result of repeated overuse. Pain complaints and stiffness vary in severity and can either diminish or become chronic.

RSI often strikes students towards the end of their studies, when they have to complete their dissertation or work placement report under pressure of time.

Although you may already be aware of the problems caused by RSI, you will only begin to fully understand its implications when it is too late and the initial symptoms are emerging. There is still much that can be done in the early stages, but it is even better to prevent RSI from occurring in the first place.

What can you do to prevent RSI related injuries?

On our computers, Tilburg University provides anti-RSI software that you can use to help prevent RSI related injuries.

Furthermore, a leaflet is available from the Student Desk with information on how to set up your workstation in such a way as to prevent RSI/CANS.


Students with a disability who have questions about educational facilities or want advice on special arrangements or practical tips on how to manage their studies should contact the academic advisor of their school.