Repetitive Stress/Strain Injury (RSI)
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), also referred to as Repetitive Stress Injury, is an injury or multiple injuries to the nervous system and musculoskeletal structure caused by repetitive use of one or more muscles and joints 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), tenosynovitis, and trigger finger.
A repetitive stress 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.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is very common and is referred to by other names including: repetitive stress injury, repetitive motion injury, repetitive motion disorder (RMD), cumulative trauma disorder (CT), occupational overuse syndrome, overuse syndrome, regional musculoskeletal disorder, and work related upper limb disorder (WRULD, ULD).
- Tenderness, swelling, and 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.
- Daily repetitive movements (usually longer than 2 hours per day) usually involved with working in a factory (sorting 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 bursae, muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments that cause trauma or 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
RSI Treatments - What You Can Do!
If a repetitive stress injury (RSI) is detected early, there is a greater chance that the condition can be reversed and symptoms can be eased.
If you have been diagnosed with RSI, it is recommended that you rest the injured body part from any aggravating factors, especially the task(s) that caused the condition. Your physician will probably recommend conservative treatments such as painkillers/anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, rest and icing of the injury. In cases where conservative treatments are recommend, talk with your physician or physical therapist about treating yourself at home with our high quality Freezie Wrap® and Inferno Wrap® treatments.