Pain on returning to work

by | Jan 11, 2023 | Blog

​Have you been experiencing pain in your hands or arm since returning to work after the holidays? You could be suffering from a repetitive strain injury. Keep reading to see if we can help you

What is a Repetitive Strain Injury?

  • A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a broad term used for a variety of conditions that are caused by repetitive movements of parts of the body that cause a gradual build-up of damage to muscles tendons and nerves. It can affect any part of the body but is most commonly: shoulders, elbows, forearm, wrist, hand and fingers. Examples of RSI’s include: carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, DeQuervains Tenosynovitis, trigger finger.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain (throbbing, burning, aching)
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness / weakness
  • Tingling, numbness, pins and needles
  • Muscle cramps
  • Swelling
  • The symptoms are often gradual and can be intermittent or constant

What causes it?

Any repetitive movement of a body part and/or awkward posture can cause a repetitive strain injury. Some common activities that can cause repetitive strain include:

  • Using a computer for extended periods (this can be from using the mouse or typing)
  • Grasping power tools
  • Working on an assembly line
  • Training for sports
  • Playing a musical instrument

It is important to note that many people have been doing the same job/activities for years and never develop a repetitive strain injury. So simply having a job that has repetitive movements is not a guarantee that you will develop pain; there are other factors such as age, health status and lifestyle that play a role in RSI development.

How is it diagnosed?

  • A thorough discussion with a doctor or trained therapist around your symptoms, your job and activities that may aggravate your symptoms; combined with a physical examination of your hand are usually sufficient to diagnose the problem
  • In some cases it may be advised to get additional imaging testing such as x-rays, ultrasound, MRI, or electromyography (EMG) to test for nerve damage.

How is it treated?

  • Occupational Therapy can assist with managing your symptoms and help with identifying things that may be causing your pain. They will tailor a programme that suites you and your symptoms.
  • In severe cases and cases where therapy has failed, surgery may be an option. The type of surgery will vary depending on the particular type of RSI.
  • If you are experiencing pain, it is advised that you seek medical help. The earlier you seek treatment, the better chance you have of making a full recovery

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment

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Hands, Lymphoedema & Breast Cancer

079 491 6450