So you’ve heard the term Repetitive Strain Injury, also commonly referred to as RSI or cumulative trauma disorder (CTD), but what does this really mean?

A repetitive strain injury is an injury involving the soft tissues or nervous tissues commonly involving the upper extremity: shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands. It is an injury, as the name indicates, resulting from repetitive activities like typing or mouse use in the workplace or crocheting or repetitive hammering in the home environment. The injury is associated with discomfort sometimes described as burning, resulting from swelling or inflammation of the soft tissues like tendons, tendon coverings, fluid sacks called bursa, muscle attachments, or nerve tissue. If nerve tissue is involved, numbness and tingling, and / or muscle wasting can also be present.

Most commonly the repetitive activity results in small amounts of trauma to the soft tissue called micro-trauma that, under normal circumstances, would not be a cause for concern, but when repetitive activity is combined with inadequate rest breaks, high forces, awkward or static postures more permanent trauma results.

So, what can you do about this? If you have the symptoms of RSI, consider a balanced approach; treatment to resolve the injury and proper ergonomics to prevent aggravation of the injury. It is also good to remember that the best treatment results come from early intervention.

Proper ergonomics can help prevent and resolve RSIs, so consider booking an ergonomic assessment.

It is also important to take your allocated rest breaks and micro-breaks. A micro-break is a short break, normally only about a minute, taken every 30 to 45 minutes to stretch or take a brief walk.

So, get out there, but take care of yourself

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