Repetitive Strain Injury "RSI"

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Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a term that is used to refer to various kinds of injuries to muscles, tendons or nerves. These injuries are caused by repetitive movement. RSI can also be referred to as upper limb disorder (ULD). This is because the condition often involves the upper part of the body - the forearm, elbow, wrist, hands, and neck.

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) are a category of injuries involving damage to muscles, tendons and nerves caused by overuse or misuse. They most commonly affect the hands, wrists, elbows, arms, shoulders, back, or neck. Unlike strains and sprains, which usually result from a single incident (called acute trauma), repetitive strain injuries develop slowly over time; thus, they are also called Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs). Other names for these injuries include Repetitive Stress Injury, Repetitive Motion Syndrome and Occupational Overuse Syndrome.

To understand the various repetitive strain injuries you need a basic understanding of how your body works.

Body movements are produced by contracting and relaxing muscles. The muscles are attached to bones by tendons. Tendons are smooth and in some parts of your body glide back and forth inside tubes called synovial sheaths. The sheath produces a lubricant called synovial fluid to help the tendons glide easily.

For example, the muscles in your forearm are used to move your fingers. They are attached to the finger bones by tendons in sheaths that travel through your wrist. The type of injury resulting from keying or using the mouse at a computer depends on whether the muscle, tendon, tendon sheath, or nerve tissue have been irritated or damaged. CTS results when the median nerve is compressed, either from the swelling of tendons and sheaths or from repeated bending of the wrist.

Any combination of the following factors can lead to the overuse of some part of your body.

Repetitive tasks: Small, rapid movements and/or tasks that are repeated over and over
Awkward or fixed postures: Working in an awkward position or holding the same position for a long time
Forceful movements: Using force or moving heavy loads to complete tasks
Insufficient rest time: No time to relax during the above activities
Some specific kinds of RSI are:

Tendonitis - the inflammation of tendons that occurs when muscles and tendons are repeatedly tensed. Symptoms may include pain and swelling. Eventually, the tendon becomes bumpy and fibres may fray. Or the tendon may thicken, making movement of the fingers, hands or arms difficult. Without sufficient time to heal, the tendon may be permanently weakened.
Tenosynovitis - the inflammation of the synovial sheath caused by repetitive motion. It usually occurs in the hands and wrists (although it can also occur in the legs, elbows and shoulders). This injury can be quite painful and tendon movement may become restricted due to the swelling of the sheath. If the sheath or tendon becomes scarred, tenosynovitis can cause permanent damage.
Ganglionic Cysts - another tendon sheath condition. The sheath swells up with synovial fluid and causes a bump under the skin, often on the wrist. Ganglionic cysts may be a symptom of tenosynovitis.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) - one of the most potentially disabling RSI. Nine tendons for flexing your fingers, along with the median nerve, pass from the forearm to the hand through a passage in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. The tunnel is made up of bone and ligament (flexor retinaculum).
Other repetitive strain injuries to the upper body include De Quervian's Disease, Trigger Finger, Epicondylitis (tennis elbow), and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Bowen Therapy and the Treatment of IBS

The Bowen Technique is a gentle soothing therapy to receive. It is useful in circumstances of emotional stress as well as physical stress. The muscles and nerve pathways involved in the tension and pain of RSI will all be involved in the treatment. Treatment may also include trying to immobilise or rest the painful limb or joint to allow full benefit of the effects of the healing process.

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