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Encyclopedia > Repetitive strain injury
Repetitive Strain Injury
Classification and external resources
DiseasesDB 11373
eMedicine pmr/97 
MeSH D012090

A repetitive strain injury (RSI), also called cumulative trauma disorder (CTD), occupational overuse syndrome, or work related upper limb disorder (WRULD), is any of a loose group of conditions resulting from overuse of a tool, eg. computer, guitar or knife, or other activity that requires repeated movements. It is a syndrome that affects muscles, tendons and nerves in the hands, arms and upper back. The medically accepted condition in which it occurs is when muscles in these areas are kept tense for very long periods of time, due to poor posture and/or repetitive motions. The Disease Bold textDatabase is a free website that provides information about the relationships between medical conditions, symptoms, and medications. ... eMedicine is an online clinical medical knowledge base that was founded in 1996. ... Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is a huge controlled vocabulary (or metadata system) for the purpose of indexing journal articles and books in the life sciences. ... Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... For other uses of Muscles, see Muscles (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Tendon (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Nerve (disambiguation). ...

It is most common among assembly line and computer workers. Good posture, ergonomics and limiting time in stressful working conditions can help prevent or halt the progress of the disorder. It is also a problem for guitarists who play with very tensed muscles.[citation needed] Stretches, strengthening exercises, and biofeedback training to reduce neck and shoulder muscle tension can help heal existing disorders. Modern car assembly line. ... This article is about the machine. ... While not moving, a human can be in one of the following main positions. ... Ergonomics (or human factors) is the application of scientific information concerning objects, systems and environment for human use (definition adopted by the International Ergonomics Association in 2007). ... This article is about the concept of time. ... For the UK magazine, see Guitarist (magazine). ... Biofeedback mechanism. ...


Specific conditions

The most well known repetitive strain injury is Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is common among guitarists as well as assembly line workers but relatively rare among computer users: computer-related arm pain is generally caused by another specific condition.[citation needed] This article is about the medical condition. ...

Many of these disorders are interrelated, so a typical suffering person may have many of these at once. For other people, no specific diagnosis is possible. In these cases it is often best to treat RSI as a single general disorder, targeting all major areas of the arms and upper back in the course of treatment.

Some of these are:

This article is about the medical condition. ... alex is cool ... Ulnar nerve entrapment is a condition where the ulnar nerve becomes trapped or pinched due to some physiological abnormalities // Commonly, this causes pain, numbness, or paralysis of the ring and little fingers which may extend up the arm. ... Intersection syndrome is a painful condition that affects the thumb side of the forearm where two muscles cross over, or intersect, two underlying wrist tendons. ... Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS) — also known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)— is a chronic condition characterized by severe burning pain, pathological changes in bone and skin, excessive sweating, tissue swelling, and extreme sensitivity to touch. ... Stenosing tenosynovitis is the progressive restriction of the sheath surrounding a tendon, causing inflammation (tenosynovitis). ... DeQuervains syndrome (also known as washerwomans sprain, Radial styloid tenosynovitis, De Quervains disease or mothers wrist), named for Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain who first identified it in 1885, is an inflammation of the sheath or tunnel that surrounds two tendons that control movement of the... Trigger finger, or trigger thumb, is a type of stenosing tenosynovitis in which the sheath around a tendon in a thumb or finger becomes swollen or a nodule forms on the tendon itself. ... Golfers elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is an inflammatory condition of the elbow which in some ways is similar to tennis elbow. ... Tennis elbow is a condition where the outer part of the elbow becomes painful and tender, usually as a result of a specific strain or overuse. ... Tendonitis (also tenonitis or tendinitis) is an inflammation of a tendon. ... Tenosynovitis is the inflammation of the fluid-filled sheath (called the synovium) that surrounds a tendon. ... Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) consists of a group of distinct disorders that affect the nerves in the brachial plexus (nerves that pass into the arms from the neck) and various nerves and blood vessels between the base of the neck and axilla (armpit). ... Radial Tunnel Syndrome is a condition where the radial nerve becomes swollen and frictions within the tunnel of muscles through which it passes in the forearm and also behind the elbow, called double entrapment. Radial Tunnel Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as Tennis Elbow, or Epicondylitis and is a type of... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... Variations of Rubiks Cubes (from left to right: Rubiks Revenge, Rubiks Cube, Professors Cube, & Pocket Cube (also known as Mini-Cube)). Rubiks Cube is a mechanical puzzle invented in 1974[1] by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik. ... Rubiks Cube being speedsolved. ...

Warning signs

RSI conditions have many varied symptoms. The following may indicate the onset of an RSI.

  • Recurring pain (myalgia) or soreness in neck, shoulders, upper back, wrists or hands.
  • Tingling, numbness, coldness or loss of sensation.
  • Loss of grip strength, lack of endurance, weakness.
  • Muscles in the arms and shoulders feel hard and wiry when palpated.
  • Pain or numbness while lying in bed. Often early stage RSI sufferers mistakenly think they are lying on their arms in an awkward position cutting off circulation.

Symptoms may be caused by apparently unrelated areas — for example hand numbness may be caused by a nerve being pinched near the shoulder. In the initial stages of RSI, an area may be in quite bad condition but not feel painful unless it is massaged, or feel weak unless a long endurance exercise is performed. Therefore all areas of the upper body are considered when evaluating an RSI condition. Myalgia means muscle pain and is a symptom of many diseases and disorders. ...

Stress and RSI

Studies have related RSI and other upper extremity complaints with psychological and social factors. A large amount of psychological distress showed doubled risk of the reported pain, while job demands, poor support from colleagues, and work dissatisfaction also showed an increase in pain, even after short term exposure.[1] Some believe that stress is the main cause, rather than a contributing factor, of a large fraction of pain symptoms usually attributed to RSI.


If RSI symptoms have already appeared, there are various further methods of treatment that can be applied in addition to the above preventative techniques. For most of these treatments, there has not yet been enough medical research to conclusively demonstrate their long term effectiveness, but they may be helpful. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ...

  • RSI healing generally cannot be achieved solely by medical professionals and requires active participation by the patient over a period of several months or years.[citation needed] The more the patient understands, the more likely it is that treatment will be effective.[citation needed] Occupational therapists, physical therapists, physiatrists, surgeons, and alternative medicine practitioners all offer diagnosis and treatment plans.
  • It is likely the partial or complete cessation of hand activity might be necessary for some period of time in order for healing to begin.[citation needed] Adaptive technology ranging from special keyboards and mouse replacements to speech recognition software might be necessary.
  • The medical professional may prescribe orthopedic hand braces, but warn against self-prescription, or further injury might result.
  • Medications: The medical professional might prescribe Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling, or anti-convulsant medications such as gabapentin to reduce neuropathic pain.
  • Cold compression therapy administered by the patient, or perhaps immediately followed by TENS therapy administered by a health professional, circumvents occupational stress and may be one of the simplest ways to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Soft Tissue Therapy works by decompressing the area around the repetitive stress injury thus enhancing circulation and promoting healing.
  • Biofeedback can be used to reduce stress-related muscle tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders.
  • Massage treatment (for acute pain and nerve trigger points). This is best administered by a trained therapist but self-massage is also sometimes helpful.
  • Active Release Techniques is effective in reducing RSI symptoms by releasing the tension of the muscles and nerves of the injured area. You would need to visit a certified ART provider to receive this treatment.
  • Stretches (for less acute pain and general maintenance). Many doctors will prescribe occupational therapy or physical therapy to rebuild strength and flexibility. Some sufferers find great relief in specific movement therapies such as T'ai Chi Ch'üan, yoga, or the Alexander Technique.
  • Exercise: It has been shown that engaging in leisure-time physical activity decreases the risk of developing RSI.[2] Also, doctors often recommend that RSI sufferers engage in specific strengthening exercises, for example to improve posture.
  • Surgery. This is generally used as a last resort and is not always effective[citation needed].
  • Mind/Body approaches. In the mind/body approach, RSI is not seen as a structural injury, but as a psychosomatic condition. Some RSI sufferers have had success with treatments based on this theory,[3] but it has not been widely accepted or systematically studied.[4]
  • Pause software. Such programs remind the user to pause frequently and/or perform practices while working behind a computer. One such program is Workrave, an open-source free program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury. The program frequently alerts user to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts user to a predefined daily limit.
  • Switching to a much more ergonomic keyboard layout such as Dvorak or Colemak.
  • Cold/Hot therapy (For hand/forearm injury): Fill two sinks, one with cold water, one with very hot water. In the sink with the cold water, put enough ice in it to almost coat the top of the water. Place forearms and hands in cold water for a few minutes, then place forearms and hands in hot water for a minute; repeat for upwards of 30 minutes, and end on cold water. Not only does this soothe inflammation, but after a period gradually widens veins allowing for greater bloodflow.
  • Home Remedies: Ginger is considered to be a natural anti inflammatory agent and can be eaten raw in small quantities. It also does not create indigestion unlike some inflammatory medicines.

Occupational therapy refers to the use of meaningful occupation to assist people who have difficulty in achieving healthy and balanced life; and to enable an inclusive society so that all people can participate to their potential in daily occupations of life. ... Physical therapy (or physiotherapy[1]) is the provision of services to people and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan. ... Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) or physiatry is a branch of medicine dealing with functional restoration of a person affected by physical disability. ... “Surgeon” redirects here. ... Alternative medicine has been described as any of various systems of healing or treating disease (as chiropractic, homeopathy, or faith healing) not included in the traditional medical curricula taught in the United States and Britain.[1] Alternative medicine practices are often based in belief systems not derived from modern science. ... Adaptive technology is the name for products which help people who cannot use regular versions of products, primarily people with physical disabilities such as blindness, deafness and inability to walk or use arms. ... Speech recognition (in many contexts also known as automatic speech recognition, computer speech recognition or erroneously as voice recognition) is the process of converting a speech signal to a sequence of words in the form of digital data, by means of an algorithm implemented as a computer program. ... An orthopaedic brace (also orthosis or orthotic) is a device used to: immobilize a joint or body segment, restrict movement in a given direction, assist movement, reduce weight-bearing forces, or correct the shape of the body. ... Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, usually abbreviated to NSAIDs, are drugs with analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects - they reduce pain, fever and inflammation. ... Ibuprofen (INN) (IPA: ) (from the earlier nomenclature iso-butyl-propanoic-phenolic acid) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) originally marketed as Nurofen and since under various trademarks, including Act-3, Advil, Brufen, Dorival, Herron Blue, Panafen, Motrin, Nuprin and Burana (Finland), Ipren or Ibumetin (Denmark and Sweden), Ibuprom... The anticonvulsants, sometimes also called antiepileptics, belong to a diverse group of pharmaceuticals used in prevention of the occurrence of epileptic seizures. ... Gabapentin (brand name Neurontin) is a medication originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy. ... Neuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nervous system. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... “TENS” redirects here. ... Soft Tissue Therapy (STT) is a category of bodywork that aims to alleviate aches, pains and / or injuries that are attributable to the soft tissues of the body. ... Biofeedback mechanism. ... Massage in Frankfurt, Germany. ... Occupational therapy refers to the use of meaningful occupation to assist people who have difficulty in achieving healthy and balanced life; and to enable an inclusive society so that all people can participate to their potential in daily occupations of life. ... Physical therapy (or physiotherapy[1]) is the provision of services to people and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan. ... Tai Chi Chüan or Taijiquan (Traditional Chinese: 太極拳; Simplified Chinese: 太极拳; pinyin: Tàijíquán; literally supreme ultimate fist), commonly known as Tai Chi, Tai Chi, or Taiji, is an internal Chinese martial art. ... For other uses such as Yoga postures, see Yoga (disambiguation) Statue of Shiva performing Yogic meditation Yoga (Sanskrit: योग Yoga, IPA: ) is a group of ancient spiritual practices originating in India. ... ‹ The template below is being considered for deletion. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Workrave is a software application intended to prevent computer users from developing or aggravating occupational diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries. ... The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout. ... Colemak is an alternative computer keyboard layout to QWERTY and Dvorak, designed by Shai Coleman. ...


  1. ^ Nahit ES, Pritchard CM, Cherry NM, Silman AJ, Macfarlane GJ (2001). "The influence of work related psychosocial factors and psychological distress on regional musculoskeletal pain: a study of newly employed workers". J Rheumatol 28 (6): 1378-84. PMID 11409134. 
  2. ^ Ratzlaff, C. R.; J. H. Gillies, M. W. Koehoorn (April 2007). "Work-Related Repetitive Strain Injury and Leisure-Time Physical Activity". Arthritis & Rheumatism (Arthritis Care & Research) 57 (3): 495–500. PMID 17394178. 
  3. ^ Rachel's RSI homage to Dr. John Sarno, a website with testimonials regarding "mind/body approaches" to RSI.
  4. ^ Sarno, John (1991). Healing Back Pain. Warner Books. ISBN 0446392308. 

John E. Sarno, MD, (1923-) is Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and attending physician at the Howard A. Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University Medical Center. ...


  • Repetitive Strain Injury: A Computer User's Guide; Emil Pascarelli and Deborah Quilter (ISBN 0-471-59533-0)
  • It's Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! RSI Theory and Therapy for Computer Professionals; Suparna Damany, Jack Bellis (ISBN 0-9655109-9-9)
  • Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Other Repetitive Strain Injuries, A Self-Care Program; Sharon J. Butler (ISBN 1-57224-039-3)
  • The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief, Second Edition; Clair Davies, Amber Davies (ISBN 1-57224-375-9)
  • Electromyographic Applications in Pain, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Repetitive Strain Injury Computer User Injury With Biofeedback: Assessment and Training Protocol; Erik Peper, Vietta S Wilson et al. The Biofeedback Foundation of Europe, 1997
  • van Tulder M, Malmivaara A, Koes B (2007). "Repetitive strain injury". Lancet 369 (9575): 1815-22. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60820-4. PMID 17531890. 

A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ...

External links

  • Sorehand RSI website and a highly used email discussion list
  • Repetitive Strain Injury an informational resource for sufferers of RSI
  • Musculoskeletal disorders from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)
  • Harvard RSI Action Harvard RSI Action
  • RSI Action a national charity campaigning for greater prevention measures.
  • RSI doctor a doctor lists and comments published RSI studies in scientific medical journals
  • Talk RSI discussions for individuals who suffer from RSI
  • RSI Cure The ongoing battle of a patient with RSI since late 1998, with a package of solutions that has significantly improved his condition.
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics resources
  • Writers' Cramp and the Craft Palsies Yolande Lucire argues that RSI is historically attested and related to external stress
  • How I Beat RSI A personal RSI recovery story
  • A Longtime RSI Sufferers Blog Shared learnings about RSI and ergonomics
  • Ergonomic Resources
Location: Bilbao, Spain Formation: - Signed - Established 1996 Superseding pillar: European Communities Director: Jukka Takala Website: osha. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Repetitive Strain Injury Information and Resources. (440 words)
Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI's) have achieved pandemic proportions during the past fifteen years, affecting millions of individuals on a worldwide scale and costing the business and private sectors hundreds of billions of dollars every year.
In the case of Repetitive Strain Injuries affecting the upper extremity, the prime cause of injury is the continuous repetitive and/or static overuse of muscles in unidirectional movement patterns, which are used to perform most work and recreational activities.
Repetitive strain injuries affect millions of individuals each year.
Repetitive Strain Injury (1026 words)
Repetitive strain injuries are a problem that occurs to many people throughout the world.
Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome came in second place with twenty three percent of all repetitive stress injuries being reported to occur in the wrists or hands.
If you think that you may be developing a case of repetitive stress injury, you may want to speak to a doctor in behest to get an informed decision about whether or not the issue is present and if you should take a course of action to work towards eliminating it.
  More results at FactBites »



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