Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive strain injury, or RSI as it’s more commonly known, is the term used to describe damage and pain caused by repetitive movement and overuse.

RSI impacts the muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons used in the frequently completed motion. RSI most commonly impacts the fingers, hands, wrists and elbows.

Any task that is manually completed and requires fast and repetitive movements in a fixed or awkward position for prolonged periods can trigger RSI. Those at highest risk include;

  • Office workers – from excessive typing and reaching.
  • Process work – on a production line with the same repetitive action.
  • Manual work – such as brick laying and carpentry.
  • Professions with high hand use – hair dressers, musicians.

RSI symptoms and their onset will very with each individual. Common symptoms include;

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Restricted mobility 

It is important to recognise the symptoms of RSI and seek treatment as soon as possible, as although they may be able to be worked through in the beginning, they will end up debilitating and preventing you from completing your tasks.

The RICER protocol should be applied in the first instance until you are able to see a therapist. Once in the care of your therapist, management through manual treatment, exercise and ergonomic adjustment may help relieve pain and rehabilitate.

In extreme instances, where conservative management is not providing progress, corticosteroid injection may be recommended to relieve pain and enable rehabilitation to progress.

Prevention is the best treatment. Being aware of your daily tasks, and ensuring that you aren’t experiencing any pain with them, is essential in the prevention of RSI. Ensuring your ergonomic environment is optimal in addition to ensuring you have frequent breaks, vary your tasks and set realistic deadlines.

If you feel as though you may be at risk of RSI, or are suffering already, book an appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapists today.

To book an appointment you can call our friendly team on 9578 6588 or click the button below.