What is a repetitive strain injury?
A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an injury caused by many reasons. These are repetitive motions, vibrations, overuse, or long periods in a fixed position. Injuries such as these can affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. RSI’s can affect many parts of your body, but are most common in the hands, wrists, forearms, and elbows. Many activities can cause a RSI. Some of the most common office examples are using a computer mouse, typing on a keyboard. Physical activities are more common with holding tools (especially), working on an assembly line, and swiping items at a checkout. RSI’s usually occur when doing repetitive motions like those listed, especially when they are done with poor technique. Symptoms of a RSI include pain, stiffness, numbness or tingling, swelling, throbbing, weakness, and sensitivity to heat or cold.
How can chiropractic help repetitive strain injury?
If a joint (any joint) is misaligned, the joint is not going to move properly. This improper movement can place excess stress on the joint and the surrounding structures. These can be things such as the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Not only this, but when joints are moving incorrectly, this causes the muscles surrounding the joint to become weaker. This leaves the joint with less protection becoming more vulnerable. That is because the joint is moving improperly and is not protected correctly. This is when it is being used for the same motion over and over.
The repeated motion will cause excess stress on the joint and can lead to a RSI, and prevent it from healing. Chiropractors are able to adjust joints and restore the proper motion to them. This reduces the stress being placed on the joint when it is used, and strengthens up the surrounding muscles, ensuring that the joint is properly protected. Having your joints all moving correctly will minimise the chance of an RSI occurring, and help it to heal if you have developed one.
What else can you do?
- Rest – Injured joints need rest. The overuse and repetitive motions will need time to heal.
- Ice – placing ice on the joint can help to reduce inflammations and pain
- Exercise – your RSI may be due to weakness in the muscles you are using, so these muscles will need to be strengthened through exercises
- Proper technique – ensure that whatever activity it is you are doing, you are using the correct technique, as this will prevent a RSI from occurring.
- Adjusting your workstation – you may need change you work station around to ensure that you are placing as little stress on your joints as possible e.g. making sure that your computer, keyboard, and mouse are all in the correct position