A repetitive stress injury (RSI) is a type of cumulative trauma that results from prolonged stress on a body part, such as the neck, arms or back, due to continual repetition of the same motion. Most repetitive stress injuries result from the types of jobs where you repeat the same task for hours at a time, such as assembly line manufacturing work. Muscles, ligaments, nerves or tendons can become damaged by this overuse, resulting in symptoms like:
Sometimes repetitive stress injuries can result in full loss of functionality in hands and arms. There are more than 100 kinds of injuries attributed to repetitive stress but they are most often seen in places on the body where joints come together, including the shoulders, heels, elbows and knees. Essentially, any of these areas are prime targets for repetitive stress injuries.
Who is at Risk for Repetitive Stress Injuries?
There are three main factors associated with a repetitive stress injury, including poor technique, poor posture and overuse. The following risk factors are associated with this injury:
- Prolonged computer use
- High-pressure work environment
- Lack of breaks from repetitive activities
- Loose joints
- Excess weight
- Inadequate exercise
- Lack of sleep
- Other medical conditions
In these days of high technology, many people don’t think about how computer use can lead to repetitive stress injuries, but the constant motion of typing can lead to problems with the fingers and hands, while poor posture at the computer can lead to prolonged chronic back problems and pain.