RSI Overview

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RSI Risks

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) can occur when any or all of the following risks are present:

  • Poor Posture — awkward, static, slouching, reaching
  • Repetitive movements
  • Use of Force — pushing/pulling, gripping/rotating, lifting/carrying, pounding
  • Localized Pressure — leaning (armrests/desks/crossing legs), lengthy sitting/standing
  • Previous injury or surgery (scarring)
  • Emotional stress

What's Happening In The Body

When any of the elements of risk are present, the body responds at the level of the connective tissue (fascia).

Connective tissue surrounds blood vessels, nerves, muscles and organs. When healthy, this tissue is flexible and fluid. Our bodies move comfortably and are generally pain free.

When connective tissue responds to injury, it tightens and contracts around the injured area to protect it and to keep it as immobile as possible for healing to take place.

When risk factors continue to occur because work is still necessary, it's a problem!  More tightness, more pain, more injury.


Connective tissue contracting around body areas produces the following symptoms. It is vital not to ignore the early warning signs because RSI is much easier to prevent than to cure.

  • Stiff and/or Sore — neck, shoulders, back, arms, hips, legs
  • Painful, Numb, Swollen, Weak or Tingling — arms, wrists, hands, fingers, legs, feet

What To Do

  • Stretch, using effective stretches, regularly throughout the day.
  • Correct your posture regularly throughout the day.
  • Create a more ergonomic work space.

Some of the terms used interchangeably with RSI are:

  • Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD)
  • Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS)
  • Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD)
  • Cummulative Trauma Disorder (CTD)

The only way to permanently eliminate injuries from repetitive risk factors is to take continuous corrective action.

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