At Osteon we try to look at the whole picture. We look at what problem you are presenting with and treat that accordingly.
Repetitive Strain Injury, or RSI, is a condition where pain and other symptoms occur in an area of the body which has done repetitive tasks (often arms or hands).
We will discuss exercise rehabilitation to help overcome this problem which may include changing the exercises you are currently doing, but also giving you some home based exercises to perform. Next we will even discuss your positioning at your desk and what aids you have to help minimise the injury. We can even organise an onsite visit to help you position yourself at your desk.
RSI is a term used to describe a whole host of different injuries which can affect various tissues in the body. Its not just a muscular problem. The other term used for RSI is overuse injury. RSI is exactly what it says on the tin, it is injury caused by a repetitive action that aggravates the tissues and/or joints in the body. However, the repetitive action may not be the culprit of the injury. Just because you use a computer daily does not mean you will develop RSI. There are methods we can use to help minimise RSI. You do not have to live with it.
You guessed it ... the main cause is frequent and repetitive movements of the affected muscles, tendon or joint. The main reason people suffer RSI is due to poor working posture due to not having up to date workstation assessments or due to the new phenomenon of "hot desking". Hot desking is where you do not have a permanent station to work at. This may be due to you being a consultant or temporary staff. The main problem here is that you are unable to set the station area to suit your needs or that the chair setup does not have the correct supports available. It's worth mentioning this is not always the case.
As anything that can go wrong in the body there are always exceptions to the rules. Sometimes it is hard to locate the precise reason why RSI develops. In many patients there is no swelling, inflammation or other obvious problems which develop in the muscles or tendons and yet symptoms develop. Also, it is not clear why some people develop RSI and not others who do the same repetitive tasks.
A huge amount of blame is labeled to computers but this is not the main cause. At Osteon we tend to see acute RSI just after the bank holiday weekends. This is due to many people completing DYI tasks that have been lying around for months. We have all done this haven't we?
There are many symptoms that can present due to RSI:
Firstly the symptoms tend to develop gradually and may only occur whilst you do the repetitive task that actually affects the area and eases off when you rest. In time the symptoms can be present all the time, but tend to be made worse by doing the repetitive task. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Type 1 RSI
This includes well-defined syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and compression in the wrist), tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon), tenosynovitis (inflammation of a tendon sheath) etc. These conditions may be due to, or be made worse by, repetitive tasks. However, these syndromes are also common in people who have not done repetitive tasks. These syndromes may have other symptoms such as swelling, inflammation, nerve compression problems, etc.
Type 2 RSI
This is where symptoms do not fit into a well-defined syndrome. Also, there are no objective or measurable signs such as inflammation, swelling or problems with nerve function. It is sometimes called diffuse RSI or nonspecific pain syndrome.
Overall is can be difficult to diagnose RSI injuries. Saying this, at Osteon all our therapists are highly trained in using their diagnostic assessments skills to try and give you an idea of what the problem is and start a management plan to get you through it.
Occasionally we would refer you for further tests to rule out any possibility of you suffering from an inflammatory joint disease. The further tests would be blood tests, X-rays/MRIs nerve conduction tests.
If we feel that we are able to help your symptoms through manual therapy you may be referred to any one of our highly trained, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths or Sports and Remedial Massage Therapists who will help speed up your recovery.
Once you are with the right person, your treatment will consist of hands on treatment to help restore the function to the area combined with home care advice such as, ice/heat treatment to mobilisation exercises and stretching/strengthening exercises.