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Additional Information about Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Wrist Pain is not the only form of RSI caused by the workplace

Repetitive Strain Injuries are on the rise and can easily be prevented. Much of this damage is workplace-related, and a few changes in your environment can alleviate it.

There are specific tips for factory/manufacturing workers and others for people who work in an office situation. This page focuses primarily on those whose jobs require a great deal of computer use.

Employers may want to look into the services of an Ergonomics specialist, such as those members of Association of Canadian Ergonomists.

What is it?
From the Glossaries:

An injury to muscles, tendons, nerves, and other soft tissues as a result of repeated stress. Injury may be caused by any combination of repetitive, unacustomed, or prolonged movements, forcefulness, or an awkward position (often due to bad ergonomics). The symptoms are pain, tingling, weakness, numbness, swelling, cracking, stiffness, or reduced coordination.
Types of injuries include: tendonitis, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Tennis elbow, Trigger finger, and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.
To prevent the condition from worsening, treat the pain with heat, cold, or aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium; rest; or immobilize the injured area with a splint or bandage. See a doctor.

How common is it?
From Statistics Canada:
In 2000/01, 10% of Canadians aged 20 or older, an estimated 2.3 million, reported having had a repetitive strain injury (RSI) in the past 12 months. Work-related activities were most often the cause. People with RSIs had more contact with health care professionals and higher levels of chronic pain and psychological distress than did those without an RSI.
(Stats Can Publications)
  1. Set monitor at eye level or slightly below. Ideally, the top of your monitor should be level with your eye line.
  2. Place keyboard flat on your work surface, with the tray set no higher than your elbows.
  3. Your hands should be in line with your forearm when using the mouse and keyboard. Make it a habit to keep your wrists straight while clicking the mouse. Do not bend, or turn from the wrists.
  4. Tilt your chair slightly forward. This will allow for better posture and relieve strain on your body.
  5. Take regular breaks. Get up. Walk around. Stretch. Use the free software application RSI Saver from NaturalHealthcare.ca that will remind you to take breaks, and will prompt you with easy to follow exercises.
General Wellness Tips
Here are a few ideas that you can try out to break unhealthy patterns in your daily activities.
  • Stand while using the telephone.
  • Walk to your coworkers rather than using the intercom button.
  • Walk up the first few flights of stairs rather than taking the elevator.
More tips can be found on the Fitness Program page.

find all NHC pages containing: repetitive strain injury (rsi)

You can find workplace wellness statistics and quotes among other great wellness program tools at our Wellergize.ca site.


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