A repetitive strain injury is a painful and potentially debilitating condition. RSI.org.uk reports that 1 in 50 of all UK workers in the UK have reported an RSI condition and that every day, six people in the UK leave their jobs due to an RSI condition. A repetitive strain injury is both preventable and treatable, but it is important not to ignore the early warning signs.

What is Repetitive Strain Injury?

Repetitive strain injury, also known as RSI, is the name given to pain felt in the muscles, tendons and ligaments caused by repeated actions and overuse. This type of injury is most commonly seen in the upper body including the wrists, hands, forearms, elbows, neck and shoulders, which is due to how we carry out our daily lives, but can just as easily occur in any muscles or tendons of the body.

What Causes Repetitive Strain Injury?

A repetitive strain injury is common in sports that use repeated motions such as running, tennis and golf. Anyone can get a repetitive strain injury from sports, but they are more likely to if they train too much, don’t train properly or have a weakness from an old injury. 

Everyday activities that can also cause repetitive strain injury include typing, writing, gaming and playing an instrument. RSI can also be caused by poor posture, repetitive activities at work such as working on an assembly line or a supermarket checkout, regular use of vibrating equipment or activities that involve working in an awkward position.

The actual cause of the pain is a microscopic trauma that occurs due to repetitive strain on the muscles and joints, which leads to inflammation of the tendons and the synovial sheath that covers them. This type of injury can also be made more serious by a lack of rest in between activities.

What are the Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury?

The symptoms of repetitive strain injury usually develop gradually and can range from cramps, mild swelling and numbness accompanied by a restricted range of movement to intense and prolonged pain in the affected area.

If you fail to seek treatment for a repetitive strain injury, the symptoms may get worse, becoming constant and causing longer periods of pain. The symptoms might also persist for longer than other types of injuries, particularly if the person continues to carry out the same repetitive movement.

How to Treat Repetitive Strain Injury?

The most effective way to treat repetitive strain injury is to take a break from the activity that caused the injury. Certain stretches and exercises may be able to aid movement in the affected area, which may be recommended as part of a physical therapy treatment plan. Backworks offers Sports Rehabilitation in Southend-on-Sea locally at our clinic. Our sports Rehabilitators have a strong focus on biomechanics, exercise rehabilitation and returning patients to high levels of function.

Make sure you’re sitting in the right position at work and that your desk is set up the right way. Hot or cold packs and anti-inflammatory medication will help to ease any swelling, the use of heat packs also relaxes the muscles and restores blood flow to the area, which helps with recovery. Wearing a protective aid, such as a wrist brace, can in some cases ease the pressure on an affected area and offers extra support.

How to Prevent Repetitive Strain Injury?

The best way to prevent repetitive strain order is to warm up thoroughly before performing any physical activity and to cool down after, doing so allows the muscles to properly adjust. Regular exercise keeps the body’s joints loose and the muscles working effectively, which reduces the chance of an RSI injury occurring. 

If the cause is work-related it is important to make appropriate adjustments to your work environment where possible such as adapting your workstation.

If you are unsure if our sports massage therapists can help you, then call us now on 01702 342329 and one of our sports massage therapists would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.