What does RSI, symptoms and treatment mean

The repetitive strain injury (RSI), also called work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) is an alteration that occurs due to professional activities that especially affects people who work performing the same body movements repeatedly throughout the day.

This overloads the muscles, tendons and joints causing pain, tendonitis, bursitis or changes in the spine, the diagnosis can be made by the orthopedist or occupational physician based on the symptoms and tests, such as X-ray or ultrasound, as needed. Treatment may include taking medication, physiotherapy, surgery in the most severe cases, and you may need to change jobs or retire early.

Some jobs that are more likely to have some type of RSI / WRMS are excessive use of the computer, manual washing of a large amount of clothes, ironing a lot of clothes, manual cleaning of glass and tiles, manual polishing of cars, driving, knitting and carrying heavy bags, for example. Commonly found diseases are: shoulder or wrist tendonitis, epicondylitis, synovial cyst, trigger finger, ulnar nerve injury, thoracic outlet syndrome, among others.

What symptoms

The most common symptoms of an RSI include:

  • Localized pain;
  • Pain that radiates or is widespread;
  • Discomfort;
  • Fatigue or heaviness;
  • Tingling;
  • Numbness;
  • Decreased muscle strength.

These symptoms can be exacerbated when performing certain movements, but it is also important to observe how long they last, what activities worsen them, what their intensity is and whether there are signs of improvement with rest, on holidays, weekends, holidays, or not.

Symptoms usually start slightly and worsen only at peak production times, at the end of the day, or at the end of the week, but if treatment is not started and preventive measures are not taken, the condition worsens and the symptoms become more intense and professional activity is impaired.

For the diagnosis, the doctor must observe the person's history, position, functions that he / she performs and complementary exams such as X-ray, ultrasound, magnetic resonance or tomography, in addition to electroneuromyography, which is also a good option for assessing nerve health. affected. However, at times, the person may complain about major pain and the exams show only slight changes, which can make diagnosis difficult.

Upon arriving at the diagnosis, and in case of departure from the workplace, the occupational health doctor must refer the person to the INSS so that he can receive his benefit.

What is the treatment

To treat it is necessary to carry out physiotherapy sessions, it may be useful to take medications, in certain cases surgery may be necessary, and changing the workplace may be an option for a cure to be achieved. Usually the first option is to take an anti-inflammatory medicine to fight pain and discomfort in the first days, and rehabilitation is advised through physiotherapy, where electrotherapy equipment can be used to combat acute pain, manual techniques and corrective exercises. they can be indicated to strengthen / stretch the muscles according to the needs of each person.

Check out some examples of stretches you can do at work to avoid this injury

In physiotherapy, recommendations for daily life are also given, with movements that should be avoided, stretching options and what you can do at home to feel better. A good homemade strategy is to place an ice pack on the aching joint, allowing it to work for 15-20 minutes. Check out what you can do to fight tendonitis in the video below:

The treatment in case of RSI / WMSD is slow and is not linear, with periods of great improvement or stagnation, and for that reason it is necessary to have patience and take care of mental health during this period to avoid the depressive condition. Activities like walking outdoors, running, exercises like the Pilates method or water aerobics are good options.

How to prevent

The best way to prevent RSI / WRMS is to perform daily gymnastics, with stretching exercises and / or muscle strengthening in the work environment. Furniture and work tools must be adequate and ergonomic, and it must be possible to change tasks throughout the day.

In addition, pauses must be respected, so that the person has about 15-20 minutes every 3 hours to save muscles and tendons. It is also important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep all structures well hydrated, which reduces the risk of injury.