Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a painful condition resulting from overusing the hands and arms to perform repetitive tasks. Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) is another term to describe RSI. Performing the same movements over and over causes inflammation and damage to the muscles, nerves, tendons and tendon sheaths.
Q: What are the most common RSI’s of the arm?
A: A tendonopathy can be either an inflammation of the tendons (tendonitis) or a damage to the collagen that the tendon is made of (tendonosis). Tendons connect muscle to bones – they are easily inflamed or injured by repetitive movements.
Trigger finger, Golfers Elbow and Tennis Elbow are all tendonopathy’s.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a nerve constriction at the wrist caused by swelling in the muscles and tendon sheaths.
Q: What does an RSI feel like?
A: Symptoms may include swelling, PAIN, tingling or numbness, weakness and stiffness and often Chronically cold hands and fingers.
Initial signs of RSI include soreness, tingling or discomfort in the neck, arms, wrists, fingers or shoulders.
Symptoms are associated with repetitive tasks.
When you stop the activity symptoms may dissapear or lessen.. Unfortunately, after a while RSI symptoms can become chronic and unrelenting..
Q: How soon should I seek treatment if I suspect an RSI?
A: As soon as possible.
If you are experiencing pain or a loss of function – usually at work – consult with a health care professional immediately. A Myotherapist or Remedial Massage therapist can offer a range of treatments and strategies to reduce symptoms and overcome dysfunction.
Q: Does constant computer use increase the risk of RSI?
A: It depends. Computer use is certainly a significant cause of RSI’s – but all manner of activities and jobs are at risk – tradesmen and cleaners who are exposed to prolonged vibration through the hands are at a high risk. Chefs and kitchen staff who cut produce for a large portion of the day. Retail assistants, barista’s and professional drivers – all perform jobs that have a high correlation to RSI
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common RSI – regardless of the type of work an individual performs.
Q: How do you treat an RSI?
A: Manual therapy (Remedial Massage and Myotherapy) can have a profound impact on RSI pain. Dry needling and Electro Needling can reduce muscular and tendonous inflammation, while also calming down the nerves and nervous system. Icing, splinting, Kinesio-Tape and elevation will almost certainly play a role in managing symptoms. Your GP may prescribe anti-inflammatory medicine.
Corrective Exercise has proven to be the most effective long term solutions to most tendonopathy’s. Ergonomic Principles will almost always improve function and quality of life. The posture does not like to be locked into any one position endlessly.
Q: Can RSI be prevented?
A: A professional assessment with a Myotherapist is one of the most proactive steps you can take for prevention of RSI. Your therapist will examine your posture, discuss the most optimal ergonomic solutions and work through any areas of tension such as your shoulders, neck and forearms. Most importantly a Myotherapist can demonstrate the best exercises to do at work to prevent the tendons becoming angry.