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Repetitive Strain Injury – How to Prevent and Treat Them

Posted on June 06, 2017 by pmruser

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) – Causes and Treatments

Most of us are aware that strain injuries can occur if you overexert yourself or engage in strenuous activities. But did you know that you can sustain repetitive strain injuries from doing things like typing at a keyboard a lot or sitting in an odd position for long periods of time? It may not be glamorous, but it’s true! Most Americans will experience some kind of repetitive strain injury in their lifetime. However, it thankfully isn’t usually too serious of a condition.

Where They Often Occur

Repetitive strain injuries typically affect more than one area in a person’s body, depending on the nature and cause of the injury. The locations most often affected include, but are not limited to:

  • the back
  • the shoulder
  • the arm
  • the wrist
  • the hand
  • the thumb

The Symptoms
One important thing to note is that repetitive strain injuries are usually diagnosed by the fact that the affected area is otherwise healthy, with the only cause for complaint being the following:

  • short, stabbing pains in the affected area
  • weakness of the affected area
  • pain is made worse with activity and use of the affected area

Who’s at risk?

Almost anyone who engages in repetitive activities for extended periods of time is at risk. However, there are a few groups of people who are more susceptible to repetitive strain injuries than others. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • desk workers
  • typists
  • industrial workers
  • gamers

Treatments

Repetitive strain injuries will often resolve themselves, if the affected area is used less often and given rest at the onset of the pain and weakness. It’s extremely rare for corrective surgery to be required. Other types of treatments include:

  • ergonomics (changing your posture)
  • purchasing new equipment (specially designed computer items like a mouse, tablet, or keyboard)
  • wearing an over-the-counter brace
  • taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) over-the-counter drug like aspirin or Ibuprofen

Final Notes
Prevention of repetitive strain injuries can be an easy process. Typically, all that is required is for you to take a small, 2-5 minute break every hour from your repetitive activity. This will allow the area most at risk to rest, thereby relieving any strain that you put on it throughout the day. Aside from that benefit, taking breaks from your repetitive task is a great idea for your psychological well-being, too.

Whatever your situation with repetitive strain injuries may be, please make sure to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically! Remember: you are the only you that you’ll ever have.