The first signs of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) or Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD) may be soreness, tingling or discomfort in the neck, arms, wrists, fingers or shoulders. These symptoms may come on when you do an activity or appear after a repetitive task. Repeated use of the same movements can cause inflammation and trauma to the soft tissues; muscles, nerves, tendons and tendon sheath. The symptoms are more common in the upper limb and forearm but can occur elsewhere in the body.
Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD) or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) describes a pain or injury to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that has been caused by the patient performing repetitive tasks, often if using mechanical equipment which induces vibrations sometimes in awkward body positions. Essentially it is a condition of overuse. Examples of specific conditions that may sometimes be attributed to such causes include Thoracic outlet syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome and De Quervain syndrome. Since the 1970's there has been a worldwide increase in RSIs of the arms, hands, neck, and shoulder attributed to the widespread use of typewriters/computers in the workplace that require long periods of repetitive motions in a fixed posture Affecting
Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) can range from mild to severe and normally gradually develop,
You may notice the first signs of RSI when repeating an action which is part of the problem, for example clicking a mouse button on a computer or using mechanical machinery which induces vibration through the body. Without treatment the symptoms of RSI can become very difficult to treat and may cause pain long term. This injury is more recognised now so your place of work may provide access to an occupational health representative who may have recommended a trip to Abbey Physiotherapy. The earlier we start treating the symptoms, the better the outcome is likley to be.
The causal factors of repetitive strain injury are related to overuse of muscles and tendons in the body performing repetitive activities sometimes at high intensity for a long period and without rest. Climate and temperature can also increase the risk. A poor posture can be a contributing factor, or tasks which require the individual to work in awkward positions for a period of time. On examination we often find tightness and over activity in one group of muscles and weakness and under activity in others, resulting in an imbalance that reinforces the movement dysfunction
The initial step of treatment of RSI is to modify the task or job which is a cause of the symptoms. In some cases, you may need to cease the activity altogether. Physiotherapy treatment will be aimed at reducing inflammation and pain, restoring flexibility and balance of strength and advising on prevention of reoccurence. This may include techniques such as taping or splinting, joint and soft tissue release work, acupuncture, ultrasound as well as home management programmes.
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