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Repetitive strain injury (RSI) also known as work-related upper limb disorder or non-specific upper limb pain is a term used to describe painful conditions of the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues caused by repetitive movement and overuse.

Commonly computer operators, typists, musicians and people doing repetitive tasks in factories are the one who most commonly develops repetitive strain injury (RSI). It’s the arm, wrist or hand but of course, it depends on which part of the body is being repeatedly used. For example, in wheelchair users, it’s often the shoulders which are jerked when the chair is manually propelled.


At first, the symptoms may only occur while you do the repetitive task and ease off when you RSI-Symptomsrest. The symptoms tend to develop gradually and are:

  • Pain, aching or tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Throbbing
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Weakness
  • Cramp

Lifestyle changes to you do if you are at the risk of developing RSI

  • Varying your work tasks – This reduces the repetitiveness of your work load.RSI-Pain
  • Taking a break – You should take 10 minutes break after every two hours of computer work.
  • Ergonomic work environment – When you have a proper set-up your body will be working in the correct position reducing the risk of RSI.
  • Typing with a neutral wrist position – By doing this your wrists will be in the correct position (reducing stretching and straining of your wrists).
  • Invest in a gel mouse pad that supports your wrist.
  • Sit up straight – Bad posture is a primary risk factor in RSI.
  • Regularly stand up and stretch – By taking a break and having a stretch you will be revitalizing your body.
  • Do not grip the computer mouse tightly –This will cause stress and strain on your wrist.
  • Have the mouse close to your keyboard, so you do not need to stretch.

Role of Physiotherapy in managing RSI

RSI can be managed and treated very efficiently with physiotherapy. The secret of treating your RSI symptoms is to speak with a chartered Physiotherapist.  Physiotherapists are qualified professionals who use a combination of treatments and give proper guidance regarding the prevention of RSI using scientific evidence and knowledge.RSI-Exercise Unfortunately, a lot of people only suffer from RSI and live with it increasing the absenteeism.

While many physiotherapy techniques have been used in the treatment of RSI, following ones are the most commonly used techniques

  • Adverse neural tension (Neurodynamics techniques);
  • Assessment at the workplace;
  • Ergonomic and posture advice;
  • Self-management advise, including pain management;
  • Home exercise programs

To know more about how physiotherapy can help you manage RSI and the ways to prevent it consult our Physiotherapists today!!!

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