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Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive strain injury is a term used for certain serious forms of debilitating medical conditions. These can be divided into two different categories. Type 1 repetitive strain injuries are actually musculoskeletal disorders while type 2 repetitive strain injuries are diffuse cases which are associated with nerve damage and vocational activities. There are numerous factors which can be held responsible for the occurrence of repetitive strain injuries. The most common ones include working in cold conditions, lack of variety in the type of work that one does, long work hours, lack of training in the safest way to carry out a certain task, holding the muscles in the same position for a long time, not having breaks, working too fast, working with equipment that does not fit one’s body and doing something with the arms repeatedly for too long. In all cases of repetitive strain injuries, the underlying causes include damage to the muscles, tendons and nerves that run through them induced by repeated micro trauma. Improper amounts of rest may lead to further damage, commonly accompanied by painful sensations, scar tissue, thickening and inflammation. The most common symptoms associated with different types of repetitive strain injuries include chronically cold hands, difficulties with normal everyday activities and motions of hands, weakness in the hands and forearms, lack of strength, fatigue, numbness, clumsiness, tremors, shooting pain, aching pain or burning sensations. The first signs of these types of injuries commonly include tingling sensations and soreness at the affected areas of the body. Most cases of repetitive strain injuries last for only a couple of weeks, but if left untreated they may bother a person for years.

Statistical Data

The incidence of repetitive strain injuries is gradually increasing over the years. The term repetitive strain injury was first used in Australia during the 1980s. According to numerous researches, repetitive strain injuries occur in women much more often than they do in men. The occupation which is associated with the highest incidence of repetitive strain injuries are meatworkers.

List of the Different Types of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Bursitis is one of the most common types of repetitive strain injuries and it is usually caused by continual friction on the bursa. It is characterized as an inflammatory condition which affects the bursa. For those who do not know, bursa is a type of sac filled with fluid located in the parts of the human body where there is need for tendons or muscles to glide over joints. Another type of repetitive strain injury is dystonia, which is also sometimes referred to as writer’s cramp. It is actually an involuntary spasm of muscles characterized by tension in the arms. Dupuytren’s contracture is one more type of common repetitive strain injury characterized by an inability to straighten the fingers into an open hand. It occurs because of the accumulation of scar tissue beneath the skin located at the base of the fingers. Gamekeeper’s thumb is another common repetitive strain injury triggered by excessive strains to the ulnar collateral ligament. In most cases it involves painful sensation and swelling of the thumb. Among the most common types of repetitive strain injuries is the one commonly referred to as tennis elbow, but its medicinal name is epicondylitis. This type of injury affects the elbow joint and causes inflammatory conditions of the tendons on the forearm. Diffuse RSI is one of the latest additions to the list of repetitive strain injuries. Another fairly common type of repetitive strain injuries is the one called ganglion cyst. It is characterized by the formation of cysts in the tissues which surround the inflamed joints. In some cases, these ganglions may be completely painless. There are also certain cases of ganglion cysts associated with the gradual development of rheumatoid arthritis. There is another type of repetitive strain injury which is medicinally referred to as DeQuervain’s syndrome. It is characterized as an inflammatory condition of the tendons responsible for the movement of the thumbs. Cubital tunnel syndrome is a medical condition associated with numbness, paralysis and painful sensations of the little finger and the ring finger, induced by the pinching of the Ulnar nerve. It sometimes gets confused with another similar medical condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. Another commonly experienced repetitive strain injury is called Raynaud’s disease. It involves an interrupted blood supply to a bodily extremity. It is extremely painful and it may even lead to the development of gangrene. Tendinitis is an injury which involves the swelling of any type of tendon in the human body. Thoracic outlet syndrome involves the compression of blood vessels or nerves, while tenosynovitis can be characterized by inflammatory conditions which affect the synovial sheath.

Best Treatment for RSI

There are certain treatment techniques which can be of great help for all those who suffer from different types of repetitive strain injuries. The most common ones include Tai Chi, meditation techniques, Alexander technique, walking, osteopathy, deep tissue massage, stretching and rest of the affected area. 

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