Here at Ergonomics Fix we often mention RSI or repetitive strain injury. It’s one of those annoying modern day injuries that we hate and hope to help people avoid through proper ergonomics.
What is repetitive strain injury (RSI)?
Repetitive strain injury is an injury to the muscles or nervous system that is caused by repetitive tasks or sustained or awkward positions. It by several names that also describe it well: RSI, repetitive stress injury, cumulative trama disorder, and repetitive motion disorder.
The symptoms of repetitive strain disorder usually include soreness and inflammation of joints. RSI often occurs in the body parts of the neck, elbow, hand, wrist, finger, and other joints.
While there isn’t one specific number that pinpoints how many people suffer from RSI, it has been stated by varying insititutions like the National Health Service (NHS) and the US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that between 2% and 65% of the population suffer from RSI.
What causes repetitive strain injury (RSI)?
The majority of health professionals agree on some of the common causes of RSI like repetitive motions and forced exertions from work and sports. Things like stress and tension contribute to the disorder and reinforce those causes.
The rise of modern technology has led to a rise in repetitive strain injuries as extended use of computers, tablets, and phones has caused injuries. There are even common popular names for these injuries like “Blackberry thumb” and “iPad shoulder.” While many people joke about these injuries, they can cause sufferers ongoing pain and stress.
Since the hand and wrist is a complicated system of tendons and nerves, it can become inflammed and painful with repetitive use, especially on these devices when you are repeating the same motion over and over again. Many people are now going to doctors to complain about tingling fingers and shaking hands due to RSI from technology use.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Treatment
Often the treatment for mild RSI is rest and a reduction of strain on the area. Generally you can prevent RSI by being aware of your actions and not letting yourself do repetitive work for hours at a time.
This might mean ceasing the actions that cause RSI and developing new ways to work through pysiotherapy. In extreme cases the need for surgery and other treatments arise.
How to prevent Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)
Since treatment of RSI ranges from rest to extreme surgery, the best way to handle RSI is to prevent it from ever happening. There are many actions you can take that can help lower your chances of suffering from repetitive strain injuries.
Here are some tips for preventing repetitive strain inuries:
- Set up your office and desk for proper ergonomics.
- Take breaks when you are using devices for long periods. Take a break from the same repeating action link typing every 30 minutes.
- Use an ergonomic mouse to reduce tension when clicking often (top rated: Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball)
- Use an ergonomic keyboard to reduce tension while typing (top rated: Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000)
- Use wrist strengthening exercises to help build strength and lower the possibility of injury.
- Talk with your doctor about other ways to help prevent RSI in your daily work life.
Hopefully these RSI prevention tips will help you stay healthy and avoid those strain injuries that we all hope to avoid.