Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

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Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Postby Paul » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:25 am

Repetitive strain injury is an injury or multiple injuries to the nervous system and musculoskeletal structure caused by repetitive use of one or more muscles in the body. It happens when you perform the same action over and over again. It is a general term that refers to many conditions including (but not limited to) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, de Quervain’s Disease, Writer’s Cramp, Vibration White Finger, Radial Tunnel Syndrome, bursitis, tendinitis (tendonitis) and trigger finger.

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is very common and is referred to by other names including:

    repetitive stress injury
    repetitive motion injuries
    repetitive motion disorder (RMD)
    cumulative trauma disorder (CT)
    occupational overuse syndrome
    overuse syndrome
    regional musculoskeletal disorder
    Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD, ULD)

A repetitive strain injury usually occurs after the age of 30 and is a result of wear and tear from the overuse of muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments as you age. These repetitive motion injuries can occur in the shoulders, back, neck, hands, hips, wrists, elbows and lower limbs.


    Daily repetitive movements (usually longer than 2 hours per day) usually involved with working in a factory (sautering or assembling pieces), office (typing or clicking a mouse), or warehouse (lifting or twisting).
    Poor posture while working at a desk or awkward positioning while performing tasks such as shoveling, sliding, lifting, and twisting frequently.
    Heavy loads and forceful exertion on muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments that cause fatigue.
    Frequent vibrations that cause blood vessels to constrict and impair circulation.
    Repeating the same movement during a sport or leisure activity such as gardening.
    Examples of Repetitive Strain Injury
    Housemaid’s Knee (pre-patellar bursitis) – long periods of time kneeling to tile or scrub a floor
    Biceps tendinitis (tendonitis) – repeated scrubbing motion
    De Quervain’s Disease – repeated twisting of the wrist or pinching motions
    Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) – forceful backward bending of the wrist when painting with a brush
    Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) – forceful forward or twisting motion of the wrist when pulling on ropes


    Tenderness, swelling, redness in the affected area
    Pain when you move the area that may cause you to wake throughout the night.
    Numbness, stiffness, weakness or tingling in the affected muscles, tendons, joints and bones.
    Discomfort brought on by a particular task that improves when it is stopped- i.e., when pain lessens or disappears over weekends or during holidays.


The earlier RSI is detected, the greater the likelihood that the condition can be reversed or symptoms can be eased.

If you have been diagnosed with RSI, the typical treatment is to rest the injured body part from aggravating factors (especially the task(s) that incited the condition). Your physician may also recommend physiotherapy, massage, heat based therapies, or even surgery in some cases.
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