Did you know that regular work and chores can cause pain in the upper body?

Repeated physical action, also known as repetitive motion disorder, refers to damage caused to your muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons. This is often caused due to repetitive motion, and the tissues affected are often those in the upper body because the actions are often related to work.

Our increasingly technology-centric world has increased the risk of experiencing a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Handheld devices and standard technology can cause strain and pain in the muscles. Repetitive strain injuries/ Repetitive stress injuries have lived since humans started considering repeating movements while doing manual labour.

The symptoms of repetitive stress injury (RSI) are many and varied. Many different treatments and prevention options exist. Identifying the type of RSI can prevent further injury and help to treat it effectively.

Different Types Of RSI And Its Causes

There are mainly two types of RSI - Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 RSI is a musculoskeletal disorder. It includes symptoms like swelling and inflammation of specific muscles or tendons.

Type 2 RSI is generally caused by nerve damage from work activities and can have a variety of causes. In type 2 RSI, no other symptoms are present; it simply feels like a general feeling of pain or discomfort.

What Causes Repetitive Strain Injuries?

Here is a list of activities mentioned that can cause RSI, which includes:

  • Overuse of a specific muscle
  • Equipment with vibrating motion
  • Having to carry heavy loads
  • Pressure applied directly to a specific area
  • Engaging in forceful actions
  • A non-ergonomic workplace or poor posture
  • The act of maintaining the same posture for an extended period
  • Using a laptop over a long period

Which Condition Does Repetitive Strain Injuries Lead To?

Many people suffer from repetitive strain injuries that are associated with many conditions, such as:

  • Tendinitis in wrist and arm
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow
  • Trigger finger and trigger thumb
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease
  • Back strains and sprains
  • Shin splints
  • Bursitis of the wrist, knee, elbow or shoulder

Patients may experience pain in the affected limb or area, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. The intensity of the pain depends on the condition. Repetitive stress injuries usually affect the working population.

Treatment And Rehabilitation

An orthopaedic specialist can diagnose an RSI through a physical examination. They will ask you questions about repetitive chores and the discomfort/pain you go through.

Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or a hot compressor for the area. Rehabilitation measures can aid in improving your quality of life, and this can involve strengthening the affected muscles and reducing the risk of injury.

To achieve it, there are rehabilitation programs that include:

  • The practise of occupational therapy
  • Strengthening exercises for the tissues
  • Preventing future injuries through conditioning exercises
  • During periods of intense pain, braces or splints can immobilise the area
  • Methods to manage pain

It is recommended to use the affected area less. Yoga, massages, and even acupuncture have also been shown to relieve the symptoms of stress injuries.

Signs of repetitive strain injury (RSI) | Ada
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Different Types of Repetitive Stress Disorder | Spectrum Orthopaedics