What Are Repetitive Strain Injuries?

As the name suggests, repetitive strain injuries or RSIs happen when the repetition of physical movements damages muscles, nerves, tendons, or other soft body tissues. People who work in such fields as office work, music, or meat packing can suffer from these kinds of injuries.

RSIs Are a Result of Increased Computer Use

RSIs result from the tasks that are performed. The increased use of the computer, or flat and light-touch keyboards, has resulted in increased injuries to the shoulders, arms, and hands. The use of such devices as trackballs or mice also contributes to RSIs. Long hours of dragging and clutching a mouse gradually affects the hands and wrists.

Cumulative Trauma Disorder

This type of RSI is referred to as cumulative trauma disorder. The condition often results from a person’s typing technique or any body position that places unneeded stress on the nerves and/or tendons in the wrists, hands, or arms. Sometimes the disorder includes the neck and shoulders as well. If you do not take breaks or get enough rest, you will worsen the condition.

How to Overcome an RSI

A physiotherapist in Sydney can help you overcome an RSI such as cumulative trauma disorder or carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the more well-known RSIs that occurs from working in the clerical field. This stress injury is related to typing for long spans of time.

Types of RSIs

Other associated RSIs include tendinosis, trigger finger or thumb, cubital tunnel syndrome, and myofascial pain syndrome.


In advanced forms, any of the above conditions can cause a patient a great deal of pain. In some instances, a patient may experience permanent disability.

RSI Symptomatology

When you have an RSI, you will experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Discomfort, stiffness, tightness, soreness, or a burning sensation in the fingers, wrists, hands, elbows, or forearms.
  • Coldness, tingling, or numbness in the hands.
  • Loss of strength or a lack of coordination in the hands.
  • A pain that wakes you in the night.
  • The need to massage your wrists, arms, or hands.
  • Pain or discomfort in the shoulders, neck, or upper back, which are all related to using a computer.

Maintain the Proper Typing Techniques

Because most of the above-mentioned symptoms are associated with typing and computer use, you need to maintain the proper typing technique and posture as well as the correct equipment setup. Good work habits and the proper techniques are more helpful than using ergonomic gadgets such as palm rests or a split keyboard.

How to Sit at Your Computer

The chair and keyboard where you use the computer should be set so the forearms and thighs are either level or sloping slightly down and away from the body. The wrists should be level and straight and not bent forward or back. If a table is too high, it may be better to place a keyboard in your lap. You should sit straight and not slouch. Also, you should not have to reach forward to type or read the screen.

Any setup that creates awkward angles or reaches will lead to problems. Even a perfect posture can cause health issues if it is rigidly held for a long period of time. Therefore, move and shift your position often. Doing so will free up your arms and hands, and permit your back, neck, and shoulders to relax.