According to the HSE “Repetitive strain injury (RSI), also called work-related upper limb disorder (WRULD), is a general term used to describe the pain caused to muscles, nerves and tendons by repetitive movement and overuse. The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body, such as the forearm, elbow, wrist, hands, neck and shoulders.
Given that many people are working from home at present, some of you might be suffering from the following common conditions often classified as “RSI” type injuries.
Bursitis: inflammation and swelling of the fluid-filled sac near a joint at the knee, elbow or shoulder.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: pressure on the median nerve passing through the wrist.
Epicondylitis: irritation of an area where bone and tendon join. An example of epicondylitis is the tennis elbow.
Rotator cuff syndrome: inflammation of muscles and tendons in the shoulder.
Tendonitis: irritation of a tendon.
It is possible that the above conditions are caused by repetitive tasks such as computer use. These can be managed or avoided completely using a combination of specific exercises to improve strength or mobility of the painful area and related areas and taking regular standing breaks from your work.
How To Prevent RSI?
With regard to the computer mouse it is important that the mouse is next to the keyboard and at the same level. If the mouse is located higher or lower than the keyboard this can create the conditions that can lead to RSI. You should have a proper chair and be seated with your feet resting flat on the floor or on a footrest. Your eyes should be at a comfortable distance from the monitor and you should be centred in front of the monitor. It is also important that you have your eyes tested and specifically inform the optician that you work with computers.
How does Physiotherapy Help?
An example where physiotherapy or home-based exercise may be helpful, is in the case of “tennis elbow” type of pain which is often related to thoracic spine (upper back) stiffness. As most people who experience pain due to their work have upper body pain (arm or neck pain), the following video should be helpful in helping to manage or prevent these issues. We regularly treat this condition in our clinics here in Dublin 15, you can book an appointment to see one of our experienced physiotherapists.