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Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a condition marked by damage to the nerves, tendons, and muscles of the hand, forearm, shoulder, and neck, causing weakness, numbness, pain, or motor impairment.

Other names for RSI include: repetitive stress injury, repetitive motion disorder, repetitive motion injury, overuse syndrome, occupational overuse syndrome, and regional musculoskeletal disorder.

Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury

The primary symptoms of RSI is pain in the fingers, palm, wrist, forearm, shoulders, and/or neck. Qualities of the pain may include the following:

  • aching or shooting pains
  • burning sensation
  • localized (in a specific spot) or diffuse (such as the whole forearm)
  • pain increases with activity
  • with prolonged use pain can steadily worsen over time

But there are many other symptoms besides pain that may also be associated with RSI, including the following:

  • fatigue, poor endurance
  • weakness in the upper extremities
  • numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation
  • soreness
  • stiffness or restricted movement
  • poor coordination or motor control with the hands
  • feeling of heaviness in the upper limbs
  • clumsiness with the hands
  • feeling of coldness in the hands

Notice as well if you are favoring the hand (or wrist, arm, shoulder, etc.)—such as if you are avoiding using it, and making allowances in your behavior to adapt as necessary.

Common Types of Repetitive Strain Injury Seen In Our Office

One of the most commonly known types of RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). But CTS is not the only type of repetitive strain injury we see in our office, tendonitis is another. Similar to tendonitis is stenosing tenosynovitis which, instead of an inflammation of the tendon itself, is an inflammation of the sheath surrounding the tendon.

Other common types of RSI we see in our office include the following:

Causes of Repetitive Strain Injury

RSI is caused by overuse, poor technique and/or poor posture while using the hands to conduct a particular awkward or forceful task repeatedly and/or for sustained periods.

When the muscles, bones, nerves, and other tissue involved in these forceful impacts, compressions, or vibrations, repeatedly and for sustained periods, the muscles and tendons can get strained, causing microscopic tears. The sheaths around the tendons, with less time to replenish, lose their lubrication and start to chafe, causing the tendons to become inflamed. This in turn can cause pinching against nearby nerves, which responsible for the potential symptoms of numbness, tingling, and tenderness to the touch.

Left untreated, this cycle can cause increased damage and chronic problems not only in the hands and wrists but all the way to the neck and back as well. In the most extreme of cases, RSI, which is classified in medical terms as a cumulative trauma disorder (CTD), can be debilitating.

Risk Factors for Repetitive Strain Injury

Risk factors for RSI include jobs that involve repetitive writing, typing, or mouse-clicking. Because of this, students must also be wary of RSI. Anyone who regularly uses a computer (including using a computer for video gaming or playing on a video game machine) or performs a repeated mechanical task—such as in factory work, construction, and gardening/farming—should be aware of these risk factors as well.

Chiropractic for Repetitive Strain Injury

When you come to Ravenswood Chiropractic & Wellness Center for pain from RSI, our expert chiropractic physicians will conduct an interview with you, review your medical history, and perform an examination. If  you are diagnosed with RSI, the doctor will develop a treatment program specific to your situation, your life, and your needs.

Effective treatment options for RSI may include chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, ergonomics, behavior modification, stretching – strengthening exercises, and physiotherapy modalities among others.

Prevention of RSI is a lot easier than treating it, but barring prevention, early detection is best. If you suffer from pain in any part of the fingers, hand, wrist, forearm, shoulder, neck, or back, seek a chiropractic physician’s aid as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll feel better again.

Call Today (773) 878-7330.