Repetitive Strain Injury: Causes and Treatment

June 16, 2012No comments

repetitive strain injury

A RSI, i.e. repetitive strain injury, is a term that describes the pain in the nerves, muscles and tendons and is cause by repetitive movements and overuse of the body. It is also known under the name work related upper limb disorder. This condition causes swelling and stiffness and it affects usually the upper body, for example elbows, hands, wrists, shoulders, forearms and the neck.

Types of Injuries

There are 2 types of repetitive strain injuries. The first type or type one is when the doctor is able to diagnose a recognized medical condition based on your visible symptoms. The symptoms are inflammation and swelling of the tendons or muscles. The second type or type two RSI is when the doctor is not able to diagnose any medical condition because there are no visible symptoms. The only symptom is the constant pain and that is not enough to set some diagnosis. This is also called nonspecific pain syndrome. The type one RSI can be diagnosed after a few medical injuries and conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis and tendonitis. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a pressure on the median nerve that passes through the wrist. Bursitis is swelling and inflammation of the sac filled with fluid near the joint of the shoulder, knee or elbow. Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon.

Causes 

A repetitive strain injury is an injury caused by repeatedly doing a certain activity or doing the same activity for a long period of time. It is common in people that carry out some manual repetitive work or people that work with computers. A lot of workers suffer from this condition. There are several things that can increase the risk of this condition. For example, the risk can be increased by doing an activity such as lifting heavy things, an activity that involves force, doing something for a long time without resting, vibrating equipment, cold temperatures, stress or working in some awkward position and poor posture.

Treatment

The first major thing you should do to treat your condition is to identify and stop doing the activity or task that is causing the problems. In order to relieve the pain, you should take some anti inflammatory painkillers, for examples ibuprofen or aspirin. In order to reduce the inflammation in the affected area, steroid injections should help. Have in mind that injections can be used only if there is a definite inflammation that is caused by a carpal tunnel syndrome. An elastic support, splint or a heat or cold pack can be used as well. A physiotherapist can also give you advice on how to relax or strengthen the muscles and posture advices. Some alternative types of therapy can also be very helpful. A lot of people turn to yoga, massages, and osteopathy to relieve the pain and recover from this condition. You may never know what type of treatment will actually help you relieve the pain and start living normally again.