repetitive strain injury

What is Repetitive Strain Injury? Its Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

What is Repetitive Strain Injury? Its Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

RSI (or Repetitive Strain Injury) is used to describe an overuse injury. Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) is another name used to describe RSI. It’s also known as work-related upper limb disorder, or non-specific upper limb pain. Repeated use of the same movements causes inflammation and damage to the soft tissues (muscles, nerves, tendons and tendon sheaths etc.). In particular, RSI has been attributed to upper limb and forearm pain. In this condition, pain is felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse.

The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body, such as the:

  • forearms and elbows
  • wrists and hands
  • neck and shoulders

Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury

The symptoms of RSI can range from mild to severe and usually develop gradually. They often include:

  • Pain, aching or tenderness
  • Burning, aching or shooting pain.
  • Tremors, clumsiness and numbness.
  • Fatigue or lack of strength.
  • Weakness in the hands or forearms. It is often difficult to perform even simple tasks.
  • Difficulty with normal activities like opening doors, chopping vegetables, turning on a tap.
  • Chronically cold hands, particularly the fingertips.
  • Stiffness
  • Throbbing
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Cramp

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) include many localised injuries such as trigger finger, golfer’s and tennis elbow and carpal tunnel and also more diffuse pain syndromes (those spread over the body) which may be diagnosed as chronic pain syndrome.

Please contact your physiotherapist for your specific individual assessment. You can contact Total Orthocare specialists on +91 9663727367

repetitive strain injury
What Causes Repetitive Strain Injury?

RSI can be caused by many factors. They include:

  • Repeated arm use for too long
  • Working with equipment that doesn’t fit your body
  • Working too fast
  • Poor posture or activities that involve working in an awkward position
  • Not having enough recovery breaks
  • Holding your muscles in the same position for a long time
  • Lack of training in the safest way to carry out a task
  • Lack of variety in the type of work you do

How Repetitive Strain Injury is treated

Whereas acute RSI is relatively simple to assess and treat successfully, it is difficult to cure chronic RSI. Chronic RSI is multifactorial with some RSI sufferers eventually developing a chronic pain syndrome that affects many aspects of their life. 

The first step in treating RSI is usually to identify and modify the task or activity that is causing the symptoms. If necessary, you may need to stop doing the activity altogether.

To relieve symptoms, your GP may recommend taking paracetamol or a short course of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. They may also suggest using a hot or cold pack, elastic support or splint.

You may also be referred to a physiotherapist for advice on posture and how to strengthen or relax your muscles. Some people find that other types of therapy help to relieve symptoms, including massage, yoga and osteopathy.

However, the good news is that RSI is usually very receptive to treatment in its early stages, so it’s vital that you get medical help early and that you proactively manage this condition.  

Common Repetitive Strain Injury Treatments
  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Scapular Stabilisation Exercises
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Medications
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Brace or Support for the joints
  • Dry Needling
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Joint Mobilisation Techniques
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Neurodynamics
  • Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
  • Prehabilitation
  • Strength Exercises for your joints
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine

Read our next blog on Tips to prevent Back & Neck pain in work from home during COVID-19 on Total Orthocare Blog.

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Near Steel Factory Bus Stop,
DoddaBanaswadi Main Road,
Bengaluru-560043. Phone: 080-4370 1281 Mobile: 9591618833

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