RSI: Causes and Cures

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Some of you may have heard of RSI and its causes, effects and long-term negative consequences. For those who haven’t heard of this term before, don’t worry! This article is designed to give you the information you need to identify whether RSI plays a role in your life and how you can reduce its effects on your physical well-being. RSI is an abbreviation for Repetitive Strain Injury. It is also referred to as work-related upper-limb disorder because it is so commonly reported by people who are engaged in doing repetitive tasks. A few quick pointers about RSI are listed as follows:

  • It is linked to an overuse of the muscles, nerves or tendons. Repetitive movements mostly of the upper limbs are the most general cause of RSI. This includes the forearm, elbow, wrist, hands, neck and shoulder.
  • Experts classify the core causes of RSI under three broad categories: repeated rapid movements, forceful movement injuries, or poor and fixed positioned postures. When either one of these three types of movements is carried out over a consistent and prolonged period of time, the individual develops symptoms of RSI.
  • The symptoms are commonly characterized by a feeling of stiffness, tenderness, pain, tingling, numbness or cramps.

Identifying and treating RSI

The first step to dealing with the problem is identification. Since such a large proportion of people experience RSI symptoms, they often write the symptoms off as temporary aches and pains. However, undiagnosed RSI can persist and overtime, develop into more serious and permanent damage to muscles, tendons and nerves. So if you find that your pain is becoming a regular feature of your work day, consult your doctor for an expert opinion. You may be diagnosed with Type 1 RSI which is linked to a particular condition such as carpel tunnel syndrome, or Type 2 RSI which has no specific cause. Type 2 is referred to as non-specific upper limb pain.

Your doctor may suggest any one, or more of the following ways to cope with the pain:

  • Anti-inflammatory pain medication.
  • Heat packs or cold packs
  • Elastic supports
  • Splints
  • Regular exercise targeted at muscles relief. Yoga or therapy would be the most likely suggestions.

What You Can Do

Why not stop RSI before it starts to have a prominent influence in your life? If your work involves frequent repetitive motions, be sure to take a break every now and then. Stretch your legs and arms, swivel your head from side to side to give your neck a break from its position, improve your posture while sitting or standing, or walk around for a minute or two. The idea is to break the monotony of your task and give your muscles a much needed break. If the pain becomes unbearable, look into the kind of tools and furniture that you are using. Invest in ergonomic equipment and furniture which are designed to prevent RSI.

If you have any insights or questions, feel free to comment below. As always, stay happy and healthy!

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