What is Repetitive Strain Injury?
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is condition used to describe pain felt in muscles, tendons & nerves. Also known as work-related upper limb disorder, or non-specific upper limb pain. RSI often occurs in the upper body such as the arms, hands, wrists and elbows where there is repetitive movement and overuse. It Is usually related to a task or occupation where heavy hand or arm motions are frequently repeated which causes repetitive strain. In recent years it is computer operators, typists, musicians and people doing repetitive tasks in factories who most commonly develop RSI.
What causes RSI and the symptoms…
The precise reason why RSI develops is still unclear, as in many cases there is no swelling or inflammation. Some people develop RSI and not others who do the same repetitive task and this may be because stress increases muscle tension and/or affects how the body feels pain in general. Symptoms of RSI can range from mild to severe and they often include:
• Pain, aching or tenderness
• Tingling or numbness
At first, the symptoms may only occur whilst you’re carrying out a particular repetitive action, but RSI does tend to develop gradually. Symptoms can become worse over time when doing the repetitive task. Without treatment, the symptoms of RSI may eventually become constant and cause longer periods of pain. Swelling may start to occur in the affected area, which can last several months.
As soon as you believe a problem may be RSI book an appointment to see your doctor. Earlier the problem is recognised and dealt with, the better the outcome.
A doctor may advise various things such as:
• Stop or reduce the tasks or activities which seem to be causing the symptoms. This may involve a change in task, or changes to your work environment where possible.
• Look into practical ways of adjusting your work set-up to reduce strain.
• Anti-inflammatory medicines are usually recommended or simple painkillers such as paracetamol work just as well to numb the pain.
• Referral to a physiotherapist who can give you advice to help with posture and how to strengthen or relax the muscles involved.
• Regular exercise to increase relaxation such as swimming is useful in easing symptoms.
Hand Therapy Solutions…
At Repton Medical we supply a range of Hand Therapy solutions which will help to aid the RSI recovery process alongside hand contracture and preventing skin breakdown. These hand cushions are a practical and economical product to act as a comfort and/or diversionary device. They conform to the hand’s natural shape to give users optimal comfort and something to grip as a distraction product for tactile stimulation.
To see our full range of hand therapy solutions please click here.