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Drysdale Osteopathy • Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive Strain Injuries tend to be found in the necks, shoulders and arms of computer users.
  • The affected area is extremely painful and the pain is exacerbated with use.
  • This condition is very frustrating, making it very difficult to perform essential tasks.
  • On close examination, the affected area usually has a poor nerve and blood supply; this is due to poor biomechanics. The normal nerve/blood supply is being inhibited from reaching the necessary areas.

Drysdale Osteopathy • Symptoms

Repetitive Strain Injury, RSI, Pectoralis MinorThe following complaints are typical in patients who might receive a diagnosis of RSI:

1. Short bursts of excruciating pain in the arm, back, shoulders, wrists, hands, or thumbs.
2. The pain is worse with activity.
3. Weakness and lack of endurance.

A 2008 study showed that 68% of UK workers suffered from some sort of RSI, with the most common problem areas being the back, shoulders, wrists, and hands.

The Pectoralis Minor muscle can entrap the blood vessels and nerves that supply the arm and hand causing pain, pins and needles, numbness and cold hands.

In the Computer user, analyses of the working posture will often give the answer. Usually this person has a faulty posture, with the neck and shoulders dropping forward, the muscles at the front of the neck are shortened, and the muscles at the side and back of the neck are elevated and tight. This causes constriction around the nerves and blood vessels under the collar bone – this can often be demonstrated by taking the radial pulse at the wrist, which will often be diminished on the affected side.

Drysdale Osteopathy • The Scalene Muscles

Repetitive Strain Injury, RSI, Scalene MusclesThe Scalene muscles in the neck can cause RSI symptoms. Again theses muscles entrap the nerves and blood vessels suppling the arm and wrist.

Correcting the working posture by using a chair that fits and adjustable desk will make a big difference.

Adaptive technology ranging from special keyboards and mice to pen tablet interfaces should improve comfort.

Osteopathic treatment may ease the symptoms and pain in the short and medium term. In the long term, correcting the faulty biomechanics, bad seat/desk arrangements and following a set of stretching exercises will often resolve this condition.

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