A sneaky sort of injury
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an unusual injury in that it is one that can creep up on you. Most injuries we can avoid because we are aware of their danger and we take the necessary steps to avoid them. But with RSI it is something we are not mindful of until it starts to niggle at us. Even then, many people ignore the symptoms for far too long.
We take a closer look at what you need to look out for.
Repetitive Strain Injury – What’s it all about?
Many people think of RSI as the same thing as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. And although that is one variation of RSI, there are other symptoms and conditions that come under the umbrella of the term.
RSI actually refers to any of a number of problems you may get in your upper body caused due to repetitive movements or poor posture at work. It can affect different areas such as the arms, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, neck and shoulder.
As its name suggests, the condition is aggravated by repetitive movements. Typically this might include clicking on your mouse repeatedly throughout the day. In fact, the average office worker clicks their mouse a staggering 5000 times a day. And clearly, that is not something we were designed by evolution to do!
But RSI isn’t just caused by using your keyboard. It can affect keen tennis players or golfers. Or it might even affect someone who does a lot of DIY.
Recognising the symptoms of RSI
Many typical injuries you might suffer have fairly obvious tell-tale signs such as swelling or bruising. But with RSI you often feel tenderness or pain but without any obvious visible signs.
You’ll usually experience some sort of discomfort whilst carrying out the offending activity itself (such as pain in the forearm when using the mouse repeatedly).
Any of the following sensations can hint at RSI. Stiffness, tingling or numbness, or perhaps cramping sensations, feelings of weakness or a sharp pain or dull ache.
If your discomfort falls into any of those categories carrying out a repetitive task, then it is best to get it checked out by your GP.
Dealing with RSI.
Conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can actually end up needing surgery if they are ignored over an extended period. As with most chronic problems, it is important to tackle them as early as possible.
The most logical starting point is to take a complete break from the activities that trigger your symptoms. If this isn’t practical, find a way to reduce the particular activity as much as possible. And if your symptoms are triggered by a desk-bound job, see if your employer can help you get your desk set up ergonomically for you.
Cold treatment with ice-packs, and ironically enough, heat treatments have both been known to help alleviate symptoms. However, for a more long-term programme of rehabilitation, it is highly recommended that you consult with an expert or GP. They will be able to help you to stretch and strengthen any affected muscles with safe gentle exercises. Whatever you do, don’t hesitate to seek treatment if you suspect something is wrong.
We hope this information is useful for you. If you have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. If you like this blog, please share! We are always happy to help.