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Is Your Pain Getting a Little Repetitive?

Sunday, 26 April 2020 13:40

Maria gives the low down on repetitive strain injuries.

A repetitive strain injury refers to an astoundingly broad umbrella of injuries to the nervous system and musculoskeletal system. As the name implies, the ‘injury’ is the result of any repetitive process that physically stresses the various body parts of the human anatomy. The most often affected structures are: muscles, tendons and nerves.

These repetitive processes may take the form of any of the following: movement, compression, vibration, positioning, or forceful exertion.

The reason why some people get repetitive strain injuries and some don’t, given the exact same circumstances, is something that still isn’t clear. However, the main risk factor is doing anything in a repetitive fashion that physically stresses the body.

Some common examples of factors that can lead to a repetitive stress injury include any of the following:

  • carrying heavy school bags or work equipment

  • electronics, such as a mobile phone, gaming device, or computer, that involve frequent repetitive finger strokes and movement

  • cradling a phone under the neck

  • watching TV or computer screen with the neck tilted laterally for prolonged periods of time.


It’s important to note, that while the above movement/behaviors may lead to sore and sensitive muscles- they’re perfectly safe to do and won’t cause any structural harm or damage to the muscles, tendons and nerves. While repetitive stress injuries may occur to any area of the body that is repetitively stressed, the most often affected areas are the neck and upper limbs (often specifically referred to as upper limb disorder).

elbow-injury RSI.jpg

This includes the following body parts:

  • neck and cervical spine

  • fingers, hands, wrist

  • elbow

  • forearm

  • shoulder

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Repetitive Strain Injury?

While the symptoms will specifically be related to the area strained and the severity of the injury, some general symptoms would include any of the following:

  • pain or discomfort that initially occurs during the repetitive action and subsides during rest

  • over time, pain may progress in frequency and intensity if the causative action is continued and injury is left untreated

  • tenderness over affected area

  • decrease to loss of sensation, numbness, or tingling

  • decrease to loss of mobility

  • mild to severe range of motion limitations

  • swelling over the affected area

  • mild to severe weakness

5 tips to prevent RSI

1.      TAKE BREAKS! Every hour or so, get up and walk around, get a drink of water and stretch/move the muscles that feel sore or tight.

2.      Apply the 20/20/20 rule if you are using a computer: take a 20 seconds break, every 20 mins, and focus your eyes on an object located approx 20 feet from you. It helps your eye muscles to relax and seems to reduce the frequency of tension headaches.

3.      Vary your position and posture.. While it if often thought that there is an optimum posture when working at a desk, the truth is any posture held for a prolonged period of time can contribute to pain. So, mix it up! Some slouching, legs crossed, sitting upright are all fine and safe, just mix between them all.

4.      Exercise regularly. Include strengthening, stretching, and aerobic exercises

5.      Visit a chiropractor. ! Don’t forget, RSIs are a progressive disorder which means, the longer you leave them untreated the longer the recovery would probably take. . Either your injury is work or sports related, your chiropractor can identify what caused the injury. Once that is found, the chiropractor could examine, treat, manage the injury as well as give you advice on how to prevent further episodes and damage with advice on self-help, therapeutic exercises and lifestyle changes


If you have specific questions about your health history and chiropractic, please reach out and Maria would be glad to answer any questions. If she can help, she will let you know, if she can’t she will let you know too. :) 

Last modified on Friday, 16 October 2020 12:18