A repetitive strain injury is a rather general phrase used to describe a number of injuries that involved the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. It usually describes some sort of soft tissue damage that results in musculoskeletal disorders, but can also describe eye strain or other disorders
As the name implies, these injuries are due to repetitive tasks, although bad posture and other ergonomic factors. Many people who work at a computer for hours each day are at risk for this type of injury. The most common injuries due to repetitive strain include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, bursitis, tennis elbow and calluses.
The symptoms of a RSI will vary depending on the part of the body that is affected. Some of the symptoms might include pain, muscle spasms, numbness, weakness, tingling, stiffness and cramping. Fatigue and poor blood circulation are also quite common. If left untreated, it can even lead to a lack of muscle control or partial paralysis.
Obviously, the most important aspect of treatment is to quit doing the activity that has caused the injury. However, this is not always possible. In these cases, treatment will be changing the way that the repetitive motions are done.
For instance, an ergonomic computer workstation can reduce the stress and tension on your neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. Ergonomically designed keyboards and computer mice will greatly reduce the symptoms of specific repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Heat therapy, medications, physical therapy, and even surgery may be required to treat a repetitive strain injury.
By implementing some changes in how you work, you may be able to prevent many incidents of RSI. Your workstation should include as many ergonomic components as possible. Take frequent breaks and stretch to keep your muscles as relaxed and loose as possible. Make adjustments to the height and angle of your office chair as needed.
Place your keyboard and mouse close together to minimize movements of your hands. Ensure that your hands and wrists are in a straight line when typing. Place your computer monitor just below eye level to help reduce neck strain. These are just a few of the steps that you can take to prevent repetitive strain injuries.
A RSI can result in a loss of work hours and reduced productivity. By applying the principles of ergonomics, you can both prevent and treat this type of injury. Find out more about repetitive strain injury warning signs