Most of us will suffer some form of repetitive strain injury throughout the course of our life.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement being used on a regular basis within our work or home environment.
Other terms you may have heard used for repetitive strain injury are –
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Ulnar nerve entrapment
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Musculoskeletal disorder
Repetitive strain injury is most likely to occur when an area of your body is being used or placed in a tight or awkward position on a regular daily basis.
It most often affects the arms, hands and wrists, it can also affect the legs or hips.
As mentioned repetitive strain injury comes about with repetitive use, also it can be poor posture, regular climbing of ladders, sitting in an awkward position with your legs crossed, or being wrapped around one another, this can also put your hips out of alignment causing pain in your hip area and sometimes your knees.
Signs of Repetitive Strain injury in the affected area:
- Weakness and limited movement
- Excruiting pain
- If legs or hips affected it can be painful when walking or you may find it difficult to walk
- Lack of strength in hands or arms
Prevention and the right supportive Treatment is Vitally important so as not to lose movement or strength
- Regular Breaks: Ensure if you are working at a computer all day, that you take regular breaks. Getting up every 50 mins to stretch, shake your wrists, rotate your shoulder blades, if possible a brisk walk or some stretching.
- Posture: When sitting a your computer ensure your feet are firmly flat on the ground slightly apart. Keep your hands straight and your wrists lose whilst typing or using your mouse. Do finger exercises, putting your fingers from each hand together, moving them in an up and down position, shake your wrists regularly you can do this when you get up to stretch and take a break.
- Trades people: If you are in the building trade climbing ensure that climb the ladder with even weight on both feet and legs. Lifting ensure proper lifting methods and get someone else to help when possible. Once again stretching your limbs is vital for healthy blood flow.
- Swimming, in particular breast stroke is a great preventive when it comes to repetitive strain injury. Preventing long term damage and injury.
- Diet believe it or not will help with repetitive strain injury, having a diet that is mainly alkaline foods such as vegetables, fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, kiwi fruit, nuts. Use fresh grated turmeric, ginger and flaxseed oil either steeped as a drink or grated in your vegetables or salads. Green vegetables in particular are great due to their antioxidant properties and also being high in magnesium. A cup of kale, spinach, broccoli once to twice a day will help to alleviate pain. Turmeric, garlic and ginger act to help reduce inflammation allowing the area to repair. Reduce the quantity of red meat you eat and incorporate fish such as Atlantic salmon into your diet.
- Yoga is a great form of exercise when it to keeping your limbs and joints supple and free from pain.
- Going for regular daily walks and whilst working swinging your arms. The reason behind swinging your arms, shaking your hands, fingers is that this improves blood flow, therefore lessening the likelihood of permanent damage.
- Regular Massage: regular massage treatments with a trained therapist will help to prevent further injury and support repair of any current injuries.
- Essential oils such as arnica, lavender and clove – in 50 ml of olive or sunflower oil base add 10 drops of each, mix together massage into affected area/s 2 – 3 x day.
- Baths: Two to Three times a week if possible have a bath, add 1 cup of Epsom salts and 1 cup of Sea Salt, two drops of lavender as bath if half full. Soak for 15 – 20 minutes.
Note: Painkillers and surgery are really a last resort and don’t always relieve pain or improve movement. Painkillers used on a regular basis will often lead to the pain and injury becoming worse as they will block the area from repair.
Further Support Articles