What are repetitive-strain injuries?
A repetitive-strain injury (RSI) is a condition that develops gradually over time as opposed to a sudden injury. Some of the conditions that fall under the umbrella of RSI include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), bursitis, and tennis or golfers elbow. CTS is the most widely recognized RSI, with symptoms like pain or numbness in the wrist, thumb and first three fingers, as well as a loss of strength or dexterity in the hand. Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid filled sack that cushions the tendons at their attachment sites, either the shoulder or the elbow, and has symptoms like joint pain, stiffness and limitedmovement.Epicondylitisisthetechnicaltermfortennisorgolfer’s elbow and has symptoms of pain on the inside or outside of the elbow and pain with resisted movement.
Although RSI most commonly affects the hands and arms, it can occur in just about any joint of the body. Such as elbows, shoulders, neck, back, hips, knees, feet, legs or ankles. Overexertion, incorrect posture, muscle fatigue, compression of nerves or tissue, or too many uninterrupted repetitions of any activity or motion may cause RSI. You could be at an increased risk if you perform any of the following tasks on a repetitive basis assembly line work, computer work, using vibrating tools, carpentry, gardening, sewing, tennis/golf, or lifting children.
The risk factors for RSI include:
or combination of symptoms. The symptoms of RSI include:
Getting the help you need
It is essential to get the correct treatment, as this will allow your body to heal itself without complications. So where do you start? Call your primary care physician first for a diagnosis. After that, they may refer you to a specialist like a Massage Therapist, Physiotherapist, Neurologist, Rheumatologist or Orthopedic Surgeon.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to manage a RSI and help prevent further damage. First it is important to rest, apply ice, compression and elevate the area. Splints may help to prevent further injury and manage pain, but they are only available for certain areas of the body. It is important to alter your daily work routine, maintain correct posture, take frequent breaks, strengthen and stretch and affected muscles and possibly see a massage therapist. Please note that if you already have symptoms of RSI, improper stretching can cause further damage.
How can massage help?
Massage will help relax and lengthen any tight muscles that could be causing nerve or tissue compression. As well, with relaxation comes pain relief and increased circulation, which will intern promote healing. Massage can help decrease any adhesions, realign any scar tissue, decrease trigger points and help relieve joint stiffness.