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.
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:
But there are many other symptoms besides pain that may also be associated with RSI, including the following:
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
Dr. DeFabio D.C. is a highly regarded chiropractor in Chicago who focuses on helping his patients achieve optimal health and wellness. He takes a holistic approach to care, treating symptoms and addressing underlying issues to promote long-term healing. Dr. DeFabio D.C. is passionate about empowering his patients to take control of their health and live their best lives. You can find him surfing, skateboarding, and volunteering at the Lakeview Food Pantry when he’s not in the office.