Do you have RSI?
Or how about tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, Blackberry thumb, iPod finger, gamer’s thumb, texter’s neck, tweeter’s thumb or trigger finger?
RSI stands for repetitive strain injury, and it is a broad category that includes all of the conditions I have mentioned above. The concept is that very small movements repeated over and over can cause as much (if not more) damage than a single traumatic event. For example, typing on a keyboard requires relatively small movements of the fingers with very little force… but precisely BECAUSE the task requires small effort, we tend to do it for prolonged periods of time, and the constant assault to the tissues can result in significant damage.
And it’s not just repetitive movements that can cause these types of injuries, sometimes it comes after staying in one position or awkward posture for a long period of time. Electricians, for example, often develop problems in their shoulders from prolonged working with their arms above their heads. Heavy equipment operators can develop problems in multiple areas of their body from the constant vibration of their machines. Again, these are small movements repeated quickly over a long period of time – beyond the point of tissue fatigue and into the realm of injury.
The first step to avoid these injuries is being aware of some of the things that might be causing them. So, take a look at some of your daily routines and see if maybe there is something you can change. More on this later…