Repetitive stress injuries are also known as RSI or cumulative trauma disorders or overuse syndrome. RSI is a term used for injuries in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and/or overuse.
Interestingly most of the newer medical terms such as Blackberry thumb, iPod finger, PlayStation thumb, Rubik’s wrist or cuber’s thumb, stylus finger, raver’s wrist, and Emacs pinky are all forms of RSI.
An RSI can affect almost any movable part of the human body. RSIs are associated with repetitive actions, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression, and sustained or awkward positions.
RSI’s are commonly seen in :
- People who use computers for a prolonged period of time.
- Professions that involve repetitive actions, such as supermarket checkout attendants can develop Carpal tunnel syndrome or hairstylists can develop de Quervain’s tenosynovitis in the thumb.
- Handymen using vibrating equipment are also prone to RSIs such as rotator cuff injuries.
- Sports such as tennis or golf that involve repetitive movements can lead to RSIs such as tennis elbow or golfers elbow.
Poor posture and stress can further contribute to RSIs.
RSI can arise from multiple causes and thus cause a wide range of possible symptoms. Some of the general symptoms are:
- Tenderness or pain in the inflamed muscle or joint or ligament
- A throbbing sensation in the affected area
- Tingling numbness or altered sensation in the arms or legs.
- Lack or loss of strength
Here are some easy home hacks if you are suffering from a RSI:
- Identify and modify the task or activity that is causing the symptoms.
- If there is no relief you may need to avoid the aggravating activity completely.
- Use a cold packs to ease the inflammation in the area.
- If you have any muscle spasms or if you wake up with stiffness in the morning or after a period of inactivity then use a hot pack.
- Use a splint or support for the affected area.
- Maintain a good posture during the day to avoid the stresses from building up on your joints, ligaments and muscles.
Most patients with RSIs can recover with proper physiotherapy treatment. However if the initial symptoms are ignored and the conditions become chronic it will take longer for them to resolve and settle down.
If you are suffering from repetitive stress injuries or you need more help with any posture related pains or setting up an ergonomic work space join my free community on Facebook where we discuss these topics in a judgement free and friendly group.
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