Ergonomics > Repetitive Stress Injury > What is Repetitive Strain Injury?



Repetitive Strain Injury - Overview:

Repetitive strain injury is commonly known as RSI. It is known as work related upper limb disorder, affects people in different ways, many feel pain, and this comes in the form of aches or shooting pains around the area of damage.

It is a condition caused by repeating the same physical movements over and over. If you think about it, if you carry out the same movements regularly you will put stress on the area of the body involved.

When you carry out the same movement repetitively you can damage muscles, ligaments, nerves and many other soft tissues found in that area of the body. Many people in a variety of occupations suffer with repetitive strain injury like food packers, computer users even musicians.

Repetitive stress injury normally affects the neck, shoulders, upper or lower back, wrists and hands as we use these parts of our body in most movements.

The affects of RSI generally wear of after a few days unless it is in a more aggressive form, but it is likely to reoccur if the person involved does not change the way they are carrying out the movement involved.

Various Repetitive Strain Injury Conditions


There are a lot of different symptoms you are likely to experience when you are suffering with repetitive strain injury, the symptoms you may experience include

  • Soreness and pain in the neck, back, shoulders, arms, wrists or hands.
  • Loss of strength and coordination
  • Numbness or loss of sensation.
  • Stiffness and lack of full movement
  • Sometimes sufferers may feel sharp, shooting pains in the affected area
  • Aching pains

Repetitive strain injury prevention

There are ways to help prevent repetitive strain injury from occurring, they may seem like simple prevention techniques but they are important in making sure you don't suffer with this condition.

  • Take regular breaks, even if you work in an office at a computer.
  • If you feel pain, stop what you are doing and rest until it subsides.
  • Watch your posture, bad posture can have detrimental affects and cause R.S.I.
  • Keep fit, keeping in shape increases your bodies strength and fitness, which means your tendons, muscles and blood vessels can handle more.
  • Learn muscle relaxation, and stress busting techniques, if your muscles are tight then you are at more likely to gain repetitive strain injury.

If you want to put yourself in a less likely position then it is highly recommended that you take regular exercise, make sure you have enough sleep, stop smoking and drink the recommended amount of water each day.

By following these recommendations you will increase the blood circulation around the body, which will improve the oxygen levels and strength of your muscles.

Repetitive Stress Injury Treatment

There is a lot of different treatments available for RSI sufferers, all are fairly easy treatments and have different levels of success.

  • The first option is to speak to your employers. In some countries, there are guidelines stating that all employees should have risk assessments carried out to identify any hazards that may cause potential harm in their job role. This means that employers need to offer alternative arrangements to prevent any hazards from occurring.
  • Pain relief - for some people simple pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication can alleviate the symptoms they have, long enough for the condition to be resolved.
  • Soft tissue therapy - This treatment works by decompressing the troubled area, this works well for RSI patients because the reason they have repetitive strain injury is normally due to a compressed tendon.
  • Occupational therapy - Occupational therapy may be prescribed by a medical professional if the symptoms persist, an occupational therapist will assess the injured area and provide strength and flexibility exercises. These exercises can give relief to the sufferer and reduce the pain and stress to the area of the body suffering with repetitive strain injury.
  • Deep muscle massage - This is not your normal massage, this works deep into the tissue to really work all the knots and tension within your muscles.

There is always surgery, which some will have no choice about. One thing you have to remember if you are suffering with repetitive strain injury is to rest the affected area, even when the pain has subsided it does not mean that the area has fully recovered.

Learn more about proper ergonomics in the workplace at safecomputingtips.com