Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by continuous movement and overuse. It’s also known as work-related upper limb disorder, or non-specific upper limb pain. The forearms and elbows, wrists and hands, neck and shoulders are places the condition usually affects.

Symptoms of RSI

The symptoms of RSI can range from mild to severe and usually develop gradually. They often include:

  • pain, aching or tenderness
  • stiffness
  • throbbing
  • tingling or numbness
  • weakness
  • cramp

At first, you might only notice symptoms when you’re carrying out a particular repetitive action.

Causes of Repetitive Strain Injury

RSI is related to the overuse of muscles and tendons in the upper body.

Certain things are thought to increase the risk of RSI, including:

  • Repetitive activities
  • Doing a high-intensity activity for a long time without rest
  • Poor posture or activities that involve working in an awkward position

Cold temperatures and vibrating equipment are also thought to increase the risk of getting RSI and can make the symptoms worse.

Stress can also be a contributing factor.

Jobs that involve repetitive movements can lead to RSI, such as working on an assembly line, at a supermarket checkout or on a computer.

Your work environment should be as comfortable as possible. You should ideally have a workplace assessment so that any adjustments needed can be made.

Your employer has a legal duty to try to prevent work-related RSI and ensure anyone who already has the condition doesn’t get worse.

Diagnosing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

There are no specific tests for confirmation of repetitive strain injury (RSI), but clinical features of pain and stiffness on particular movements and the progressive nature of the condition is often diagnostic of RSI.

Steps towards diagnosis of RSI include Taking a detailed history of the patient; Examining the affected area and so forth; Imaging studies; like X ray, MRI and CT scans;

How to prevent RSI

Most employers carry out a risk assessment when you join a company to check that your work area is suitable and comfortable for you. You can request an assessment if you haven’t had one.

There are also things you can do to help reduce your risk of getting RSI, such as:

  1. Maintaining good posture at work – see how to sit at a desk correctly
  2. Taking regular breaks from long or repetitive tasks – it’s better to take smaller, more frequent breaks than one long lunch break
  3. Trying breathing exercises to reduce stress

If you work at a computer all day, make sure you [position your seat, keyboard, mouse and screen so they cause the least amount of strain.

How To Treat RSI

Without treatment, the symptoms of RSI may eventually become constant and cause longer periods of pain. You may also get swelling in the affected area, which can last for several months.

The first step in treating RSI is usually to identify and modify the task or activity that is causing the symptoms. If necessary, you may need to stop doing the activity altogether.

Possible treatment options for RSI include:

  • Medication – including paracetamol, short-term use of anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, or pain receptor-blocking medications, such as some forms of antidepressants, if you’re getting severe symptoms or interrupted sleep.
  • Steroid injections to reduce inflammation in areas affected (these are only recommended if an area has definite inflammation caused by a specific condition, such as carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Surgery to correct specific problems with nerves or tendons
  • Physiotherapy  Treatment of Repetitive Strain Injury

RSI treatment through Physical Therapy includes

  • Advice on proper posture and stretches or exercises that help strengthen or relax your muscles.
  • Massage, yoga and osteopathy are also discovered to help relieve symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury.
  • Cold packs, elastic supports or a splint which could also be applied to the affected area.

We Are Here To Help

Effective Physiotherapy and Fitness Clinic offers patients in Nigeria exceptional care with a personalized treatment plan to suit your specific needs. If you have pain or have recently experienced this or any other type of injury, our Physiotherapists will ensure you get back to the activities you enjoy and love.

Call us on +234 811 885 6060 or +234 909 860 4470 for an appointment today or email us at to book a consultation.

Our clinic is at No 2, D – Ajumgobia Close, Kado Estate, Abuja.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.