Repetitive strain injury (RSI) may be the most common injury of our time. It’s painful and can interfere with just about everything you do. And if you use a computer, sit at a desk, exercise or work, chances are you’ve felt its effects.
Many RSI sufferers struggle to find relief. Some avoid activity, only to find their pain comes back when they start up again. Some use pain medication, but that can be hard on your body. And for some, the pain never goes away.
Read on to learn more about RSI. And when you’re ready, give Dr. Keith McGahey at Eastside Chiropractic Group a call. He’s been helping people with repetitive strain injury since 1998, and chances are he can help you too!
What Is Repetitive Strain Injury?
These injuries occur when people perform the same movements over and over again. They can be subtle movements like typing, assembling, sewing or gardening. Or more forceful movements like working, exercising or playing sports. Whatever the activity, if your body is placed under stress for long enough, damage will start to occur.
Most often that damage occurs in your joints, muscles and soft tissues. And without proper treatment, that damage can lead to more serious problems. Problems like lower back pain from sitting or physical labor. Or neck pain and even headaches from computer use and poor posture. Even athletes are at risk of sports injury from repetitive strain.
What Causes RSI?
Any activity that places stress on your body can cause repetitive strain injury. But the most common causes are computer use, physical labor, playing sports, and leisure activities. More specific examples can be found in the image to the left.
Most of these activities wouldn’t cause pain or injury on their own. It’s only when they are repeated over and over, for months or years, that they start to cause damage. Even poor posture, or working in awkward positions, can cause injury if it goes on long enough.
Symptoms Of Repetitive Strain Injury
The most common symptoms of RSI include pain and stiffness in the affected area. If your neck and shoulders are involved, you may feel numbness or tingling in your arms or hands. With RSI in the lower back, you may feel those symptoms in your legs or feet. You may feel weakness or fatigue, or even popping or clicking in your joints.
Without proper treatment, those symptoms can become more serious. Chronic pain, headaches, and chronic stiffness are common symptoms in people with long-standing injuries. A chronic repetitive strain injury can make simple things like playing sports, working, leisure activities too painful to enjoy. It can even interfere with your sleep.
Effects Of RSI On Your Body
The effects of RSI on the body are very predictable. Repeated wear and tear on muscles and joints causes them to become stiff, sore and inflamed. If allowed time to recover, your body can often heal itself. But if activity continues, that wear and tear will start to cause damage to your joints and soft tissues. Your body responds to this damage by making scar tissue. Think of those big knots in your shoulders from using your computer all day.
Scar tissue is like glue. It causes stiff joints to become even more stiff, and muscles and soft tissues to become weak and painful. As activity continues, stiff joints become more stiff, and weak muscles become more weak. muscles become tighter, and weak muscles become weaker as the injury cycle continues. If left untreated, RSI can lead to chronic pain, headaches, loss of performance in athletes, or more serious injuries.
Common Repetitive Strain Injuries
Work is a major factor in RSI. If you sit at a desk all day, you are more likely to have neck and back pain. If you use a computer, headaches and shoulder pain are also common. If you work a physical job, you may also suffer lower back pain, leg pain or foot pain. More chronic conditions include carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica.
Non-work activities can also lead to problems. Playing sports can cause pulled muscles and joint pain. Or more specific injuries like shin splints or rotator cuff injuries. Running can lead to sciatica, shin splints, leg and foot pain. Neck and back pain from activities like playing computer games, sewing and yard work are also common.
Treatment of Repetitive Strain Injury
The treatment of choice for many people with RSI is avoiding activity, rest and pain medication. And while that may help with your symptoms, it won’t fix your injury. To properly treat RSI, a number of things need to happen:
1. Break up scar tissue in the affected area
Scar tissue is a fact of life with RSI. It makes joints and soft tissues stiff and painful, and can lead to weakness and worse injury. Active Release (ART) is considered the ‘Gold Standard’ for treating this type of injury. It can break up scar tissue quickly, improving flexibility and eliminating pain. In fact, most people start feeling good relief in just a few visits.
2. Loosen those stiff joints
Stiff joints are also a fact of life with RSI. Because your joints are stiff, your muscles actually have to work harder to make them move. And that can mean more pain and less enjoyment of activity. Chiropractic can help your joints move better, removing strain from your muscles and soft tissues. Together, chiropractic and ART are a powerful combo for treating RSI.
3. Prevent future injury
Choosing the right treatment for RSI is important. Just as important is figuring out what you need to do or change so it doesn’t return. This is something Dr. McGahey will help you with during your treatment.
Reay to Feel Better?
If pain from repetitive strain or overuse is interfering with your life, don’t ignore the warning signs. If left untreated, RSI may develop into a more serious condition. Dr. McGahey can help you get to the source of the problem, and create a treatment plan to help eliminate your pain as quickly as possible.
Get Help Now!
No referral is necessary. Call or click to schedule an appointment with Dr. McGahey at Eastside Chiropractic Group. You’ll be glad you did!