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Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive Strain Injury

As its name indicates, Repetitive Strain Injury is pain or damage that is caused by repeated motions/movements of a part of the body. It is also known as repetitive motion injury. RSI is a gradual development of damage to muscles, nerves and tendons from repetitive motions, forceful exertions, vibrations, and sustained or awkward positions. Anyone can get repetitive strain injury, but it is very common in some people that, include:

  • Athletes
  • Musicians
  • Workers with physically demanding jobs
  • People with sitting jobs

Repetitive Strain Injury Symptoms

An RSI can occur in many parts of the body. However, it affects mostly the shoulders, fingers, hands, forearms, elbows, wrists etc. Some of the common symptoms of RSI include;

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Throbbing
  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Sensitivity to cold/heat

Whereas repeated damage can also lead to certain conditions that include:

  • Bursitis
  • Nerve compression syndromes
  • Stress fractures
  • Ganglion cysts
  • Herniated disks

Causes of Repetitive Strain Injuries

An RSI results from repetitive movements in any part of the body. These constant movements can cause damage to your muscles and tendons over time. The following are various routine activities that can cause repetitive stress injuries:

  • Overuse of a particular muscle
  • Maintaining the same posture for a long time
  • Working in the cold
  • Working with vibrating tools
  • The constant and direct pressure on specific areas
  • Fatigue
  • Lifting heavy objects


During the diagnosis of RSI, your doctor will ask some basic questions about your job nature and working conditions. He will do a physical examination by performing a range of motion tests to check for tenderness, swelling or any other possible appearance.

Depending on the cause of the injury, your physician may also recommend some imaging tests for better insights. It may include;

  • MRI
  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound

Repetitive Strain Injury Treatment

Since the causes and symptoms of these types of injuries vary, so are the treatment options;

  • Medication (anti-inflammatory painkillers, muscle relaxants)
  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation)
  • Steroid injections
  • Splints (elastic support)
  • Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (PENS)
  • Physical therapy (exercises, manual therapy)
  • Surgery

If you’ve experienced Repetitive Strain/Overuse injuries and experience any of these symptoms, please contact us to schedule an appointment for the correct diagnosis and most efficient treatment plan for quick recovery and prevention of future injuries and discomfort.