Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term used to describe the pain felt in
muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse.
Repeated use of the same movements causes inflammation and damage to the
soft tissues (muscles, nerves, tendons and tendon sheaths etc.). Continued
repetitive movement on damaged tissues causes the rate of damage to exceed
your body's natural rate of repair. The condition mostly affects parts of the upper
body, such as the:
· forearms and elbows
· wrists and hands
· neck and shoulders
The condition can be localised, for example carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis
elbow, or it can be more diffuse and spread over a wider area.
The first signs of RSI may be soreness, tingling or discomfort in the neck, arms,
wrists, fingers or shoulders.
Unfortunately, over time a minor RSI can turn into a nasty chronic injury.
When it comes to RSI early intervention is best. Rest is key to allow the muscle
repair and then once the pain has settled down you build up the muscle again.
Physiotherapy can be beneficial at this stage and will include stretching exercises
and mobilisation techniques.
However, the best treatment is prevention!
Here are a few tips to help you avoid repetitive strain injury:
1. Be aware of your posture, especially when doing repetitive tasks. For example,
when sitting at a computer try to sit up straight, with shoulders relaxed and feet
flat on the floor. A rough rule of thumb is that your elbows and knees should form
right angles. Adjust the height of your desk or computer to support good posture.
2. Stretch: stretching is essential to prevent injury. Tight, short muscles are more
likely to become strained than supple, exercised muscles. Simple stretching
exercises can be done by everyone, no matter what your fitness level.
3. Massage: Regular massage can help alleviate pain after a repetitive strain injury
but it can also help to prevent injury by increasing motion range through
stretching tissue and relaxing tight muscles. It helps to promote regeneration of
tissues and tendons, and helps to prevent future injuries. The relaxation aspect of
massage can also be hugely beneficial for overall physical wellbeing.
Solace Holistic Centre Blog
Supporting Healing from Within