Friday, August 1, 2008

Repetitive Strain Injury(RSI)

RSI is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of overuse disorders ( eg. computer, guitar or knife, or other activity that requires repeated movements) that affect the muscles, tendons, fascia, and neurovascular structures typically in the neck, back, and upper limbs, though virtually any part of the body including head, jaw, chest, eyes, and legs can get affected.
It is also called Computer Related Injury(CRI), Occupational overuse syndrome, or Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorder(WMSD).

Who are all in Risk groups?
Computer workers
Mechanical Tool workers
Teachers and sports persons....

Contributing factors

Work environment
The lighting in a workplace may be too dark or too bright for work task. This may result in employees assuming awkward postures to accomplish work tasks and a loss of product quality.
An employer should be aware of the amount of time in a workday that employees spend performing physically demanding or repetitive tasks. Both the total time per work shift and the length of uninterrupted periods of work can be significant in contributing to problems.
Awkward Postures
Posture affects which muscle groups are active during physical activity. Awkward postures can make work tasks more physically demanding by increasing the exertion required from smaller muscle groups and preventing the stronger, larger muscle groups from working at maximum efficiency.
Repetitive motions
In repetitive work the same types of motions are performed over and over again using the same muscles, tendons, or joints. The amount of repetition can be affected by the pace of work, the recovery time provided (i.e., number and length of breaks), and the amount of variety in work tasks. Forceful Exertions
Force is the amount of muscular effort expended to perform work. Exerting large amounts of force can result in fatigue and physical damage to the body.
Pressure points
Pressure points result from the body pressing against hard or sharp surfaces(e.g., resting the arm on arm rest while typing, and resting the wrist on hard surface). Breaks
For RSI rest and recovery is the most important factor. Flexibility is major factor for muscle tightness and other muscle injuries.

Discomfort, fatigue or pain.
Swelling, redness, coldness or warmth.
Stiffness, radiating pain, burning sensation, tingling, numbness.
Loss of grip, weakness, heaviness, headache

Physical therapy- Deep tissue massage, nerve mobilization, joint mobilization, stretching, hot/cold packs, free exercises.
Ergonomic modification of work place
Alexander technique

Self Help Measures:
sitting in correct and erect posture with back support while working.
maintaining good ergonomic principles.
Frequent Breaks- every 30-40minutes of work.
Regular stretching and free exercises.

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