Work-related injuries are not always the result of a single incident or accident. In fact, they can arise due to stress and strain placed on the body over time. This is the case with repetitive stress injuries (RSI), which affect people in many different professions and trades. RSI impacts office workers, people who use hand or power tools on a frequent basis, athletes, chefs, and many others.
Symptoms of RSI range from mild to severe. Many people experience pain in the affected body part, such as the hand, fingers, and wrist. Stiffness may also occur, as can weakness, numbness, a feeling of pins and needles, and swelling. Some people also experience sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. Even when symptoms are still mild, people are encouraged to have them assessed to prevent RSI from growing worse.
In terms of the right treatment for your symptoms, doctors usually recommend conservative therapies and move on from there. You may be asked to rest the body part and apply ice to it, which reduces swelling. Splints and wraps are used for stabilization, which in turn decreases pain and swelling. When the problem is more severe, your doctor might recommend a steroid injection. Surgery is another option that’s reserved for more critical cases.
There are also steps you can take to prevent RSI from occurring in the first place. If you work in an office environment, make sure your workstation is ergonomically correct. Your chair should offer ample back and neck support and it should be easy to reach your keyboard and mouse from where you’re sitting. Building up muscle strength through exercise can also have a positive impact, especially for those who work in strenuous trades. If there is a lot of repetition in your movements during the workday, be sure to change them up whenever possible.