Repetitve Strain Injury-Dr.Kirpa Johar - HariDaan Laser Wellness

Repetitve Strain Injury


What is RSI?

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) are injuries to the soft tissue of the body caused by overuse or misuse. Soft tissue includes tendons, ligaments, muscles, fascia, nerves and blood vessels. 

The parts of the body most often affected are the neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers.


                                                                   Parts of body affected by repetitive strain injury

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) includes many localized injuries such as golfer's and tennis elbow and carpal tunnel and also more diffuse pain syndromes (those spread over the body) which may be diagnosed as cervicobrachial pain syndrome or chronic pain syndrome.

Common RSI Symptoms

Symptoms of RSI or an overuse injury can be any of the following:
   bullets1 Burning, aching or shooting pain.
   bullets1 Tremors, clumsiness and numbness.
   bullets1 Fatigue or lack of strength.
   bullets1 Weakness in the hands or forearms. It is often difficult to perform even simple tasks.
   bullets1 Difficulty with normal activities like opening doors, chopping vegetables, turning on a tap.
   bullets1 Chronically cold hands, particularly the fingertips.

Not everyone will have every symptom, nor is there a definite order in which people experience symptoms. Moreover, RSI signs may not occur until several hours, days, months, or even years after the activity which causes them.

Causes of RSI

RSI can be caused by many factors. They include:
   bullets1 Repeated arm use for too long
   bullets1 Working with equipment that doesn't fit your body
   bullets1 Working too fast


                                                                  Repetitive strain injury due to poor posture

 bullets1 Not having enough recovery breaks
   bullets1 Holding your muscles in the same position for a long time

What's Injured by RSI?

RSI potentially damages your muscles, tendons, nerves and joints through repeated micro-trauma.

bullets1 Muscles & Tendons 
Whenever muscles or tendons are used, tiny tears can occur in the muscle or tendon tissue. The local area becomes inflamed for a short time as the body attempts to repair the damage.

Thickening and scar tissue form over the torn muscle or tendon tissue. At this stage, the area will feel painful. Normally, the body would repair the damage and the pain would go away. However, without enough rest, more activity causes further damage and more inflammation, thickening, scar tissue and pain. 

This cycle gets progressively worse if sufficient rest is not taken. 

bullets1 Nerves 
Nerves are also damaged by RSI. Tingling feelings are caused by the compression of nerves. Nerves run through muscles, and if muscle health is poor, so is nerve health. Damaged nerves can heal but the process is extremely slow. 

Most cases of persisting RSI have their basis in the nerves that run from the neck, down through the shoulders, and into the wrists and hands. These nerves pass by many other structures, most notably the discs and facet joints in the neck. If the discs or muscles become damaged or tight - often due to a poor posture - then the nerves cannot move freely in the arm. 

If these tight nerves are then used repetitively, such as when typing or process working, they naturally become sore and inflamed. If this process is repeated before the nerve has recovered, the problem worsens. Before long it can be difficult to perform any task, even lifting a coffee cup, without feeling pain. Many different nerves course through your arms. 

RSI can be complicated. Because you have so many nerve fibers that exit from your neck and travel through your arm, the symptoms of this problem can vary wildly. Pain can be felt almost anywhere.

Nerve-related pain is often misdiagnosed as a variety of conditions, including rotator cuff tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, de Quervain's Tenosynovitis (thumb) and fibromyalgia.

bullets1 Joints 
In the long-term, your joint posture and movement may become abnormal and result in joint pain, stiffness and premature degenerative changes.

RSI Treatment

Whereas acute RSI is relatively simple to assess and treat successfully, is difficult to cure chronic RSI. Some people with RSI may eventually get a chronic pain syndrome that affects every aspect of their life.

Possible treatment options for RSI include:
bullets1 Medication, including anti-inflammatory painkillers (such as aspirin or ibuprofen), muscle relaxants, antidepressants
bullets1 heat or cold packs, elastic supports or a splint
bullets1 physiotherapy, including advice on posture and stretches or exercises to help strengthen or relax your muscles
bullets1 steroid injections to reduce inflammation in an affected area (this is only recommended if an area has definite inflammation caused by a specific condition, such as carpal tunnel syndrome)
bullets1 Surgery to correct specific problems with nerves or tendons (for example if you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome) if other treatments haven't helped.

Low Level Lower Therapy Treatment for RSI

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is the application of red and near infrared light over injuries to stimulate cellular repair. LLLT has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect as well as a healing effect. 

LLLT stimulates blood flow and lymphatic drainage, improved delivery of O2 and nutrition to the area, oxygen utilisation, removal of oxygen-free radicals and other waste products, and tissue healing. 

LLLT treatment for RSI 
bullets1 Laser penetrates up into the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body. Once the treatment site is targeted, the laser light stimulates the mitochondria of the cell within muscles, tendons or ligaments, causing them to oxidize and duplicate. This accelerates the cell division and increases healing at twice the normal rate. 

You will be encouraged to move the affected area within range of movement/pain but not exert stretch or force during the healing phase. 

The end result is resolution of inflammation and restoration of healthy tendons and local soft tissues. Once tissues are healed, pain is eliminated and normal range of motion and function is restored. Then muscle and tendon strength and flexibility can be addressed with graduated exercises and stretching.

LLLT has no known side effects, is safe and effective. By treating the underlying problem, LLLT results in permanent pain relief and restoration of function.