Preventing repetitive strain injuries

Repetitive strain injuries are common amongst employees that work in a wide variety of different jobs. Repetitive strain injuries can be caused by the repetition of any action that places strain on a particular part of the body; most workplace injuries affect the upper body and are commonly known as upper limb disorders.

Common examples of RSIs

The most common examples of repetitive strain injuries in the workplace are carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS); both of these conditions are caused as a result of pressure being applied to the median nerve that runs through the wrist.

What causes RSIs?

Repetitive strain injuries can be caused by any activity or job that involves constant or frequent use of the upper body; activities that commonly contribute to repetitive strain injuries include typing, using a computer mouse, writing and lifting. Poor posture and stress can also cause repetitive strain injuries.

What are the symptoms of RSIs?

Symptoms are usually mild but may get gradually worse as the joint or limb is used or an action which places stress on the particular area of the body is repeated.

Common symptoms include:

  • Tingling sensation
  • Tenderness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Aches
  • Pains
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of sensation and numbness

How to manage RSIs

The most effective form of treatment for repetitive strain injuries is rest; continuing to use the affected limb, joint or muscle will make the situation worse. In severe cases, surgery may be required but most people find that their symptoms subside with the help of over the counter pain relief; physiotherapy can also be an extremely effective means of treating a repetitive strain injury.

Tips for the workplace

Make sure you have good posture when you are sitting down; this involves sitting up straight and supporting the small of the back; keep your feet flat on the floor when you are sitting. Make sure you are comfortable at your desk and take regular breaks. When you are typing, keep your wrists straight and rest them every now and again; sit up straight while you are typing and sit close to your desk so you are not stretching to reach the keyboard. Make sure you get up and move about regularly; this will stop you from becoming stiff. If you notice any symptoms try to rest the affected body part and if symptoms persist see your GP.

Guide to Health in the workplace

Health in the workplace

Managing stress

Hydration and nutrition at work

Preventing repetitive strain injuries


Health benefits packages