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Repetitive Strain Injury

by User Not Found | Oct 11, 2012

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a term used to refer to a range of painful conditions often affecting the muscles, tendons or nerves. RSI is mainly caused by the frequent and repetitive use of a particular part of the body; it is usually associated carrying out day-to-day tasks involved in your occupation. The repetitive use of a mouse, typing and poor posture can all contribute to RSI as can not taking enough breaks from the task in hand.

It is not clear precisely why RSI can develop, or why some people are prone to developing RSI while others are not. However, it is thought that workplace stress can be a contributing factor.

RSI often involves the upper part of the body, such as the neck, forearm, elbow, wrist and hands, and is sometimes referred to as upper limb disorder (ULD). Symptoms of RSI can vary, and in many cases the sufferer has no swelling, inflammation or indeed any physical signs.

While workers in any occupation can be at risk from RSI, especially those carrying out repetitive actions, over recent years the occurrence in computer users has risen.

Speedy treatment of the symptoms, which include pain, tightness, aching, numbness or tingling in the hands, elbows, wrists, shoulders, neck etc is important. The sooner RSI is treated the better the chance of a full recovery.

However prevention is somewhat better than cure, and looking into practical ways of making reasonable adjustments in the workplace can greatly reduce the risks of staff developing RSI.

Ensuring that all employees have their computer equipment positioned in the correct way is likely to reduce strain. Providing suitable ergonomic equipment, such as desks, chairs, keyboards and mice, can greatly reduce risks, or help ease existing symptoms. Staff should also be encouraged to take regular breaks from repetitive tasks and if RSI has developed through computer use, then alternative methods of accessing the computer, such as voice-recognition software may help.

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